- The Milwaukee Bucks are 9-point favorites vs the Miami Heat in Game 1 of their opening round series
- Milwaukee is the betting favorite to win the 2023 NBA Championship
- Read below for the Heat vs Bucks Game 1 odds and predictions
They may have been the last team to clinch a playoff berth in the East’s NBA Playoff Bracket, but make no mistake: the Miami Heat (44-38, 17-24 away) are likely the one team who believes they have a legit shot of knocking off the Milwaukee Bucks (58-24, 32-9 home).
Milwaukee clinched the top seed in the postseason, and currently are the betting favorite in the NBA Championship odds.
While they’ve been waiting for an opponent, the Heat have been busy grinding their way to an 8-seed, and will start Game 1 less than 48 hours after punching their playoff ticket.
It’s the third time in four seasons the Bucks and Heat meet in the postseason. Miami took Milwaukee in five in the 2020 East semis en route to a Finals run in the bubble. The Bucks swept Miami the following season in Round 1 on their run to the title.
Game 1 goes Sunday (April 16) at 5:30pm ET from Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, WI. You can watch the game live on TNT.
Heat vs Bucks Game 1 Odds
|Miami Heat||+9 (-110)||+330||Ov 218.5 (-110)|
|Milwaukee Bucks||-9 (-110)||-410||Un 218.5 (-110)|
Milwaukee has been dynamite at home, tying with Boston for the best home mark in the East at 32-9. Miami, meanwhile enters the playoffs tied for the fewest road wins in the conference with Atlanta, with a 17-24 record.
The two teams split their 4-game regular season series, with each team winning their games at home. Giannis Antetokounmpo didn’t play in the two games at Miami, while Kyle Lowry didn’t play the Bucks at all in the regular season.
Odds as of April 15 at DraftKings.
Miami Betting Analysis
In typical Heat fashion, they grinded out a 102-91 win in their win-or-go-home game against the Bulls Friday night.
They needed all the offense they could out of Max Strus, who delivered 31 points and six boards, while drilling 7-for-12 from downtown. The rest of the Heat combined for three triples on 18 attempts.
JIMMY. BUTLER. AND-ONE.
MIAMI LEADS WITH 2:17 TO GO
📺: Live on TNT | Winner gets #8 seed pic.twitter.com/9q5ZOlj7KU
— NBA (@NBA) April 15, 2023
Jimmy Butler was the closer, potting 31 points of his own, along with five rebounds, three assists and two steals, as Miami ended the game on a 15-1 run to seal the nail-biter.
Defensively, the Heat held the Bulls to 24 points or less across four quarters. Defensively, they rank second in the NBA in scoring defense, limiting teams to 109.8 points per game. While that’s a constant, can the Heat find enough points to make that matter?
Heat vs Bucks Head-to-Head
|44-38||Regular Season Record||58-24|
|109.5 (30th)||Points per Game||116.9 (T-8th)|
|109.8 (2nd)||Points Against per Game||113.3 (14th)|
|52.9% (25th)||Effective FG%||55.5% (10th)|
|56.0% (25th)||Opponent Effective FG%||52.0% (1st)|
Miami is dead last in scoring at 109.5 points per game, and they’ll be facing a Bucks side that holds the opposition to a 52% effective field-goal percentage — tops in the NBA.
They’re also a little dinged up in the backcourt. Lowry tweaked his knee against the Bulls, and is listed as questionable, though he insists he will play. Gabe Vincent (hip) is also questionable.
Milwaukee Betting Analysis
Milwaukee also got some much-needed rest to prepare for their playoff run. However, most of their key players haven’t played a competitive game since April 5, when they clinched the top seed.
They’re hoping the time helped Khris Middleton, who was battling a knee injury that cost him the final two games of the regular season. He’s listed as probable, as are wings Grayson Allen (ankle) and Pat Connaughton (ankle).
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 15, 2023
Giannis found his way onto the injury report with a knee injury, and is listed as questionable, though there’s little chance he or any significant contributors are missing Game 1.
Middleton is hoping for his own redemption tour. A knee injury in Game 2 of last year’s opening round series against the Bulls forced him to the sideline for the rest of the playoffs, essentially putting an end to their repeat bid.
Milwaukee has the 4th-best defensive rating, so they have the ability to slow the Heat, and they are a substantially better 3-point shooting team, hitting at a 36.8% clip, which ranks in the top 10. The Heat are a bottom-4 unit, shooting it at a 34.8% mark.
Heat vs Bucks Game 1 Betting Prediction
The Bucks have been the bet in this head-to-head recently, going 4-1 ATS in their last five home games against the Heat, with the over hitting all five times.
Milwaukee has been solid in the opening round, going 13-4-1 ATS in their last 18 conference quarterfinal games. Miami is a bottom-5 bet on the road, going 15-24-1 ATS.
I’m just not a big fan of that spread, considering Milwaukee’s potential rust and Miami’s quick turnaround. The Heat’s adjustment to an elite foe may take at least a game.
The Bucks’ defense has been on point in opening round play, with the under hitting in their last five Round 1 games, a trend we’ll keep with for this wager.
- UNDER 218.5 points (-110); 1.5 units to win 1.36 units
- NBA Postseason Record: 0-1 ATS; 1-2 o/u; -3.14 units
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