NBA Betting Odds, Picks and Predictions (Thursday, Aug. 6): Heat vs. Bucks
Photo credit: Getty Images. Pictured: Bam Adebayo and Khris Middleton
- The Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks are set to face off in NBA Bubble action Thursday afternoon.
- The Heat (+9.5 underdogs) have some key injuries that could limit them against the East's top team.
- See why Brandon Anderson is looking at the over/under (223.5) for betting value in the matchup.
Heat vs. Bucks Odds, Picks
|Heat odds||+9.5 [BET NOW]|
|Bucks odds||-9.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-400/+320 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||223.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||4 p.m. ET|
Many pundits have had their eye on the Miami Heat all season as a potential spoiler for the Milwaukee Bucks. This game could be a preview of that potential second-round playoff series in the East. Will Milwaukee care enough to go all out in this one? That remains to be seen.
The Bucks are coasting into the top seed and (honestly) the second round at this point. Typically you’d expect a team in the Bucks’ position to play this one very close to the vest, but the Bucks have some motivation to keep the Heat in the No. 4 seed below the more dangerous Boston Celtics.
Unfortunately, we’ll be left guessing a lot on this one. Jimmy Butler is out nursing a sore foot and the Heat likely won’t catch the Bucks by surprise. Brook Lopez and Wes Matthews both missed the last game, so we’ll have to monitor their statuses today. Goran Dragic for the Heat is questionable.
It feels like we’ve been waiting on that Heat regression all season, but they are 8-1 in overtime games. They’re 28-6 at home (second-best mark in the NBA) but just 15-19 on the road. Everything about this team seems unsustainable, especially against top teams on a neutral court. But the Heat keep winning.
Their latest victim was the Celtics, and that was without the hobbled Butler. They also cruised passed the Denver Nuggets in their opener and nearly took down the Toronto Raptors, too. The Heat are playing well, due in part to a new starting lineup.
The Heat finally dumped Meyers Leonard, moving Bam Adebayo to the starting center spot and inserting Jae Crowder into the lineup. That has given the Heat even more spacing and added wing defense — and it doesn’t hurt that the bench unit is also playing well.
The Heat are exactly what you think. They slow everything, play tough defense and score much better than you’d expect with a top-five offense. The Heat play hard every night and almost always find a way to make the game close late.
After the shocking upset Tuesday to the Brooklyn Nets, the Bucks have lost two in a row for only the second time this season. Technically speaking, the Bucks are in shambles right now, losing six of their past eight games after losing eight of their first 60.
Of course, that’s not particularly fair, since it stretches back to the start of March and includes a few games without Giannis Antetokounmpo. At their best, the Bucks are as good as any team in the NBA, with the No. 1 defense by a long ways, led by a man who could win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year.
But both Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton sat out the second half against Brooklyn, and Eric Bledsoe is still working his way back into playing shape. The Bucks’ metrics are not particularly relevant right now because we may not see the motivated, full-strength team again until the playoffs.
If you get a feel for which version of the Bucks we’re getting in this game, it could give you a big opportunity for a play. Watch for a late scratch to a key Buck and grab the line before it flips, and keep an eye out in-game too, in case the starters are pulled at the half again.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The Heat present a matchup problem against the Bucks, with Adebayo being one of the better defenders of Giannis in the league. The question is whether we’ll actually get that matchup.
The Heat should be motivated; they’re barely behind the Celtics for the No. 3 seed that would get them away from the Bucks in the bracket, and the Heat play hard every night. But with Butler out and the Bucks potentially resting some key players, both teams could get much weaker defensively, and it’s tough to guess the motivations of either team without their key pieces.
I’m not loving either side on this game with so much unknown, but it does seem like both defenses will be weaker with Butler and Lopez out. The Heat over is 40-26-2 this season, too.
Everyone still thinks the Heat are a boring, defensive team, but it’s their offense that has featured so far. I’ll take the over as the best play in an unpredictable matchup.
If you do want to pick a side, even with Butler out, the best odds are on the Miami moneyline at +350. We just saw the Bucks lose a game as big favorites and the Heat win as underdogs. It may be worth a few bucks to see if they can do it again.
The PICK: Over 221.5