Heat vs. Bucks Odds, Pick, Preview: Where Value Lies Without Jimmy Butler & Giannis Antetokounmpo (Dec. 4)
Mark Blinch/Getty images. Pictured: Jrue Holiday
- The Bucks are favored on Saturday night against the Heat.
- Miami will be without Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, while Giannis Antetokounmpo is listed as doubtful.
- Roberto Arguello breaks down the matchup and how Antetokounmpo's status affects the betting value.
Heat vs. Bucks Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
The Heat travel to Milwaukee on the second night of a back-to-back to take on the Bucks on Saturday night.
Both teams will be looking for revenge in this matchup. The Heat were swept by the Bucks in the first round of the 2021 playoffs and hope for their second win in as many meetings with the Bucks this season.
The Heat dominated the Bucks 137-95 in Miami’s opener in what was by far the biggest blowout loss of the season for Milwaukee. The Bucks lost that game with Jrue Holiday, Bobby Portis, Donte DiVincenzo and Brook Lopez out, but they’ll have Holiday and Portis for this one.
With Giannis Antetokounmpo listed as doubtful, let’s break down how to bet this matchup.
Miami Shorthanded in Frontcourt vs. Champs
The Heat will be shorthanded on Saturday, as well, with Jimmy Butler (back) and Bam Adebayo (thumb) out, along with Markieff Morris (neck) and Victor Oladipo (quad).
If the Heat win and cover in Milwaukee, it will be because their shooters step up like they did in Friday’s upset over the Pacers. Miami’s starting backcourt of Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson put up 26, 18 and 24 points as the three shot a combined 13-of-24 from beyond the arc.
Lowry and Robinson had been missing an unexpectedly high percentage of their 3s coming into that matchup, so it was an extremely welcome sight for Heat fans to see them get back on track.
Robinson, who is known as a shooter, had his best game of the year as he showed off his ability to drive the basketball and get to the free throw line with a season-high seven attempts from the charity stripe. Robinson had just eight free throw attempts all season before that game.
The Heat will need Robinson and Lowry to continue elevating their game on Saturday alongside Herro if the Heat hope to cover because they will be fighting an uphill battle in the frontcourt, regardless of whether Antetokounmpo plays.
With Adebayo, Morris and Butler out, the Heat’s frontcourt is thin as they will start “The Mechanic,” Dewayne Dedmon. The only other bigs available will be Omer Yurtseven (who showed some nice flashes on Friday), KZ Okpala and Udonis Haslem. The Heat played more zone on Friday night than they have all season, and this figures to be in the game plan again on Saturday.
P.J. Tucker can also guard up as well from the wing, but the Heat will have to kill time when Dedmon leaves the court on Saturday night. It will take a cohesive defensive effort to win in Milwaukee with pesky off-ball defenders like Lowry and Tucker taking charges and causing deflections against a Bucks team with a size advantage.
Can Bucks Adjust Without Giannis?
George Hill (knee) and DeMarcus Cousins (foot) are both probable. Lopez (back), DiVincenzo (ankle) and Semi Ojeleye (calf) all remain out.
Antetokounmpo’s presence would be a huge boost for the Bucks against a Heat team without Adebayo and Butler. In his most recent game on Wednesday, the Finals MVP was one assist away from a 40-point triple-double in the win over the Hornets.
If he remains out, the Bucks will need Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton to carry the load offensively. The Bucks struggled offensively in Thursday’s 97-93 loss to the Raptors despite the duo combining for 48 points.
Holiday and Middleton need to play aggressively and put pressure on the rim, especially if Antetokounmpo is out, to make up for his and Lopez’s absence inside and to help shooters like Pat Connaughton and Grayson Allen generate open looks. Shots from the perimeter will be especially important if Miami does come out playing a lot of zone, which is designed to allow 3s.
Portis will get the start at center with rookie Sandro Mamoukelashvili, Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Cousins as the only other bigs available. Giannis’ presence would give the Bucks a big boost in this game against a Heat team without two key interior defenders.
If Antetokounmpo plays, back the Bucks to win and cover at -5.5 and play it to -7.5. Miami won’t have an answer for him without Adebayo or Butler on the back end of a back-to-back
If Antetokounmpo remains out, take the under at 214.5 with value down to 211. Both teams will have trouble generating easy looks at the rim with their starting centers (Adebayo and Lopez) out, as well as their leading scorers who consistently put pressure on the rim (Butler and Antetokounmpo).
Per Cleaning The Glass, the Heat and Bucks allow the most and third-most frequent 3-point attempts in the NBA, so the pressure will be on the shooters to push the score over the total.
While Lowry and Robinson had huge nights on Friday for the Heat, they have been struggling to shoot the ball overall this season, and I don’t know that I trust them to keep the offense afloat on the second night of a back-to-back.
Pick: Bucks -5.5 if Antetokounmpo plays (play to -7.5) | Under 214.5 if Antetokounmpo sits
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