Bucks vs Heat Betting Preview: Underdog Heat Looking to Take Commanding 3-1 Lead
Milwaukee's First-Round Series Odds Plummet From -1200 to -215
After upsetting the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 3, the eighth-seeded Miami Heat are on the verge of taking a commanding 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series. Game 4 is slated for Monday (7:30 p.m. ET, TNT) on South Beach.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the 1 vs 8 matchup in our Bucks vs Heat betting preview.
Giannis’ Status Still Unknown
The status of Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo remains the biggest storyline in our Bucks vs Heat betting preview. While Milwaukee Antetokounmpo did individual work on Sunday, his availability for Game 4 remains unclear. Antetokounmpo missed the last two games of this series after playing just 11 minutes in Game 1 because of a lower back contusion.
Without Antetokounmpo, who averaged 31.1 points, 11.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists and a combined 1.6 blocks and steals during the regular season, the top-seeded Bucks have looked vulnerable. Bobby Portis replaced Antetokounmpo in the lineup in Game 3 and fouled out in 23 minutes, finishing with nine points, 10 rebounds and a pair of steals. Guard Jrue Holiday had 19 points but scored only four in the second half. Khris Middleton finished with 23 points.
Perhaps more worrisome was Milwaukee’s defense, which allowed 66 points in the first half and over 120 points for the third time this series. Interestingly, the Heat are averaging a playoff-best 124.3 points after finishing last in scoring (109.5 points per game) during the regular season.
Oladipo Out for Series
Victor Oladipo suffered a season-ending torn patellar tendon in his left knee, dealing a significant blow to Miami’s depth in the frontcourt. Oladipo’s knee buckled as he drove to the basket late in the fourth quarter of Game 3, and head coach Erik Spoelstra and several teammates rushed to his aid.
The second overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft, Oladipo has had a series of serious knee issues during his career, causing him to miss 255 out of 374 possible games since 2019. He was averaging 10.7 points, 3.5 assists and 1.4 steals over 26.3 minutes off the bench this season.
More importantly, with Tyler Herro out indefinitely with a broken hand, Oladipo was in line to receive more playing time the rest of the postseason. He contributed 15 points and five rebounds in 26 minutes in Game 2, then chipped in eight points and two steals over 19 minutes in Game 3 prior to injuring his knee. Instead, Oladipo, a two-time NBA All-Star, is now facing his third major surgery in four years.
With Kevin Love back in the starting lineup, Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson and Caleb Martin figure to be Miami’s primary options off the bench.
Bucks’ Futures Odds Take a Hit
A less-than-inspiring start to the postseason has dampened the enthusiasm around Milwaukee’s title chances. Following their Game 3 loss, the Bucks’ odds of winning the NBA title dropped from +275 to +360. Boston remains the favorite at +250, while Phoenix boasts the best odds of any Western Conference team at +400. The Celtics (+120) are also still ahead of Milwaukee (+190) in the Eastern Conference betting market.
While the Bucks are still favored to outlast Miami and advance to the second round, their series odds have plummeted from -1200 (the largest of any first-round matchup in the East) to -215. The Heat, meanwhile, are currently listed at +175.
Handicapping Game 4
Milwaukee is again favored in Game 4, though the spread remains at 5.5. points. The Bucks are also -210 on the moneyline, with Miami priced at +175. Meanwhile, the over/under dropped to 217.5, 2.5 points under the combined total from Saturday.
While Miami may be a trendy underdog pick, it’s hard to get a true gauge on the remainder of the series without knowing Antetokounmpo’s status. If the two-time NBA MVP remains out or is limited, Milwaukee will need more contributions from its core, including Holiday and Middleton, to outlast the Heat. Jimmy Butler has taken over as the best player in the series, averaging 30 points on 60.3% shooting.
Keep this in mind for your NBA picks and parlays: Milwaukee is 44-37-4 against the spread this season, while Miami is an NBA-worst 32-50-3.
For a Bucks vs Heat betting preview, NBA score predictions, analysis and more, visit pointspreads.com.