Heat vs. Bucks Game 1 Player Props: Jimmy Butler Playoff Mode, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bets for NBA Playoffs

Heat vs. Bucks Game 1 Player Props: Jimmy Butler Playoff Mode, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bets for NBA Playoffs article feature image
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Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat.

No one — absolutely no one — is picking the Miami Heat to win this series against the Milwaukee Bucks, who are -1000 to win the series against the No. 1 team in the NBA.

That doesn't mean it's a series we can't make money on. It just means that, in reality, we're mainly looking at player props in hopes of making a profit. Game 1 will probably be difficult to handicap since it's the first of a series, but we have three NBA Playoff props worth monitoring on Sunday. Let's get into bets for Heat vs. Bucks Game 1.

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Heat vs. Bucks Game 1 Player Props

Giannis Antetokounmpo over 1.5 steals + blocks (-150) — DraftKings

Sure, the value here isn't amazing, but we'll start off simple.

Even for a No. 1 vs. No. 8 series, expect Antetokounmpo to be up for this. At one point, the Heat had the Bucks' number, gentlemen's sweeping them in the 2020 Bubble Finals, which Bucks fans will write off as an anomaly, but many could do the same with their 2021 Finals run given the array of injuries and Kevin Durant's foot on line two that tilted the title in their favor.

In any event, the Heat have generally been competitive with the Bucks outside of their first-round series in 2021.

Had the Heat won their initial Play-In game against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, they would've matched up better with the Boston Celtics because they don't bring for as much length on the interior. The Bucks do, and that'll be a problem if the Heat can't hit shots consistently, which they haven't done since last season.

I'm Antetokounmpo to try creating turnovers on the defensive end, and inevitably, he'll be challenged by opposing drivers, be it Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Caleb Martin… who occasionally could be too courageous for his own good.

Antetokounmpo could and likely will also occasionally switch off onto shooters, and is more than capable of disrupting Heat ball-handlers, of which they don't present many.

As long as he's active on defense to his normal degree, it's quite easy to visualize this as a high-volume stocks game, and perhaps series, for Antetokounmpo, who has had 2+ in five of his last six.


Jrue Holiday over 16.5 points (-110) — FanDuel

This is good value for a relatively low number that Holiday needs to hit here, but it isn't a gimme.

I'd list the defensive assignments for the Heat on here, but they'll be switching — probably too much. Holiday will have his moments against the Heat's lesser crop of defenders — read Tyler Herro or Max Strus — while occasionally inheriting Adebayo or Butler or Martin in attempts to slow him down, especially on soft switches.

Holiday will see the latter defenders sooner if he truly has it going.

Ultimately, you need 17 points, and so long as he's respectable from the field, this should hit. It could only get worrisome if he's off to a slow start and the Bucks blow Miami away.

But lately, Holiday's had it going. He ended the season shooting 54% from the field over his last 10 games, and in that span, he hit about 45% on nearly five threes a game, and 83% on free throws. He only got to the line 2.4 times per contest, slightly down from the 2.6 where his season ended, but he'll have some driving lanes if Adebayo is occupied with the Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez pairing down low, and, additionally, overlooked (again) Sixth Man of the Year contender Bobby Portis when he subs on.


Jimmy Butler over 5.5 Assists (+125) DraftKings

Because of the Bucks' drop coverage, they will be daring the Heat to shoot and beat them from the perimeter all series long.

And because they were 27th in three-point shooting, hitting 34.4% as a team during the regular season, we're not expecting everyone to become Play-In Max Strus against the Bulls.

But damn it, they're going to have to try, because those are the looks that will be available.

This means Butler, who'll have plenty of usage in this series — because, duh — will be forced to drive and kick more than those betting his scoring props may want. It's not to say he won't get his — hell, he'll have to, somehow — but he'll also be looking for Strus and Herro and Kyle Lowry and others for catch-and-shoot opportunities, along with a rolling Adebayo, who'll be dealing with lane clogging all series long.

(I almost put his under here, too, for what it's worth — though he's been quite good against Milwaukee this year.)

But in the end, you see where I'm going with Butler. You're getting six assists at plus odds for someone who'll be forced to distribute — you just need his shooters and rollers to hit enough shots… or, at least, enough opportunities for them to do so.

Again — this is called gambling for a reason.

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Nick Sterling
Jul 23, 2024 UTC