Bucks vs. Heat Odds & Pick: Fade Jimmy Butler in Rematch With Milwaukee (January 14)
Megan Briggs/Getty Images. Pictured: Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat, Jrue Holiday #21 of the Milwaukee Bucks.
- The Miami Heat (-4) host the Milwaukee Bucks in a rematch from Thursday night.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo missed Thursday's game, but will be back this afternoon.
- Roberto Arguello explains the difference that'll make and offers up his best bet below.
Bucks vs. Heat Odds
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Both teams were significantly shorthanded — down three starters each — but Saturday’s matinee matchup should be more entertaining with two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo back in the fold.
The Greek Freak Is Back
Khris Middleton (knee) remains out, but Antetokounmpo, Joe Ingles, Grayson Allen and Wesley Matthews aren’t listed on the injury report and are expected to play Saturday.
The Greek Freak’s return will change everything for the Bucks as there is no way they’ll get outscored 58-18 in the paint again. His presence means an undersized Heat team will need to bring help and prevent him from getting to the basket, which will lead to more scoring from players like Pat Connaughton, Bobby Portis and Brook Lopez.
Lopez and Portis, in particular, will get quality looks on their own, and they are due for some regression after missing more than their fair share of quality shots on Thursday.
Defensively, Antetokounmpo will play a key role as a weak-side eraser with his incredible length and athleticism.
Bam Adebayo scored an efficient 24 points on Thursday while often going one-on-one against Lopez. If Antetokounmpo can help limit Adebayo’s effectiveness on short rolls, and in one-on-one matchups with Lopez by crashing down intermittently, the Heat’s offense will be severely limited in the half court, especially with this already being a tough matchup for Jimmy Butler.
Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler’s Impact
Kyle Lowry (knee) is out again, while Duncan Robinson, Nikola Jovic and Omer Yurtseven are all out indefinitely for the Heat. Caleb Martin (quadriceps) is probable, but Tyler Herro (Achilles, birth of second child on Thursday) is questionable. Dewayne Dedmon will also return after serving a one-game suspension Thursday.
Herro’s potential return would be huge for the Heat as his shooting from the midrange and beyond 3-point line plays well against the Bucks’ drop scheme defense that allows the fourth-fewest shots at the rim. Herro loves the midrange jumper, and that’s the soft spot in the Bucks’ defense, which allows the third-most midrange shots in the league.
If Herro remains out, the Heat will need Gabe Vincent (who scored a career-high 28 points on Thursday), Max Strus and Victor Oladipo to step up offensively. Oladipo has been an absolute pleasure to watch on the defensive end over the past few weeks with his lightning-quick hands leading to breakaway dunks as he continues to look more like himself pre-injury.
I asked Coach Spo tonight about Dipo’s defensive knack for the ball on a live dribble…compared to Jimmy’s passing lane madness
He went on for 2 minutes in great detail
But the beginning sums up his thoughts pretty well lol
Clearly, they operate different pic.twitter.com/6kXFmDhR5a
— Brady Hawk (@BradyHawk305) January 11, 2023
Butler will of course play a key role on both ends, but this is a tough matchup for him. The Bucks rarely switch, so he won’t have many opportunities to bully smaller players in the post and get short midrange shots. With Antetokounmpo likely guarding him and Lopez looming near the rim, Butler will need to be efficient on jumpshots as he won’t get many quality looks near the basket.
Over the past three seasons, Butler has played in seven games against the Bucks and hasn’t scored more than 21 points in any of those games. He’s gone under 20.5 points in six of seven games against the Bucks over the past three years with an average of 14.6 points per game.
I’ll be betting him to go under this number and will add to my bet if Herro plays as that will cut into Butler’s Usage Rate.
I don’t love betting either side at the moment, but if Herro is out, I lean Bucks down to -2. If you want to be more aggressive, bet the Bucks to win in a same-game parlay with one of or both of Portis and Lopez to exceed their scoring totals (possibly in addition to a Butler under) as they should continue to get quality looks against a smaller Heat team and will likely benefit from some shooting regression after missing quality shots on Thursday.
Finally, if you want to live bet the game, I’m not sure Dedmon will play for the Heat, but if he does, bet on the Bucks as soon as he enters the game. He has a team-worst -14.2 On/Off Rating (compared to +9.2 for Adebayo and +5.3 for Orlando Robinson at his same position) and ranks in the fifth percentile among bigs with a 6.7% Defensive Foul Rate.
Robinson will overtake Dedmon for the backup center role soon, if not tomorrow, following Dedmon’s team-imposed suspension for throwing a massage gun onto the court earlier this week, so take advantage of his minutes if you can.