What a heavyweight clash we have on our hands here as the Milwaukee Bucks square off against the Miami Heat in the 2nd Round of the Eastern Conference playoffs!
Check out our full series hub including series preview and game by game betting picks below. Don’t forget to head to our NBA Betting Picks page for a full preview or EVERY series throughout the NBA playoffs!
Milwaukee Bucks vs Miami Heat
The Bucks had a first game stumble in their opening round against the Magic but went on to win the next four games by margins of 15, 14, 15 and 14. Every aspect of the Bucks success relies on the performance of their star player Giannis Antetokounpo. In the first round, the reigning MVP and defensive player of the year averaged 30.6 points, 16.0 rebounds and 6 assists and will obviously be the focal point in the second round.
Flanking Giannis is one of the deepest rosters in the NBA. The Bucks have the potential to go 12 deep in the playoffs, with the likes of Connaughton, Hill, Williams, Korver, DiVencenzo, Lopez and Ilyasova all coming off the bench. There is a chance that being so deep could be their detriment though, as playing so many guys has to take away minutes form their best lineups.
Key Player: Khris Middleton
As we mentioned above, Giannis is obviously the key player and the Bucks chances of advancing in the playoffs start and finish with him. That’s obvious, so we have decided to dig a bit deeper here and look at Khris Middleton, who will have a big job on both offense and defense in this series.
Middleton averaged just 15.0 points per game in the 1st round, and will need to bump that up if the Bucks are going to advance here you’d think.
The Heat were absolutely dominant in their Round 1 clash against the Pacers. They won the series in four games, covering the line in all four to move onto the next round with ease. They’ll have a much tougher test in Round 2 as they come up against a Bucks side that has hit their straps after a Game 1 hiccup vs the Magic.
The Heat won just one of the three matchups against the Bucks during the regular season but when the two teams met in the bubble a few weeks ago, they were without Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic, who will both play big rolls in this series. The one thing that will work in the Heat’s favour is their ability to knock down the three ball, which has been a key to beating the Bucks this season. In the first round, the Heat shot a whopping 29.1% from downtown as a team, if they can do that against the Bucks, they are a chance to win this series.
Key Player: Goran Dragic
Dragic has been playing at a high level since the NBA Playoffs began. In the first round, the point guard averaged 22.8 points, 5.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds. He shot a really impressive 48% from the field and an even more impressive 41.4% from beyond the arc. As we mentioned above, defending the three ball is a weakness of the Bucks and strong offensive point guards have been able to get a hold of them in the past.
Series Betting Picks
The Bucks are the favourites to win the Eastern Conference for a reason. They finished the regular season with a league best record and have the best player in the league at the peak of his powers. It’s always hard to bet against the best player in the series, particularly when he is such a dominant force at both ends of the floor and can play all five positions. Betting against Giannis in a seven game series is similar to betting against LeBron, which hasn’t worked out well for many over the last decade.
We think the Bucks win this series, but have to give the Heat some credit. They are a gritty side that has the capability and man-power to build that wall that has become crucial in stemming the flow of Giannis. They also have a lot of shooters, which will no doubt catch fire at stages throughout this series and lead them to two wins.
Game by Game
Monday August 31st, 6.30pm (ET)
The Heat start as 5.5 point underdogs here and we think that line is right on the money. Tough to lean one way or another with that spread so we are staying away from it. Instead we like the look of the Bucks to win this one by the 1-10 margin, which currently represents +170 value.
Wednesday September 2nd, 6.30pm (ET)
The Heat and Jimmy Butler in particular were fantastic in Game 1, winning by 11 points to take a 1-0 lead in the series. They only need to win one of the next four games to cover the +2.5 game spread, which is great news, but we think the Bucks bounce back in a close Game 2.
Friday September 4th, 6.30pm (ET)
What a horror start to the series it’s been for hte Bucks so far. They were beaten comfortably in Game 1 and although they were a little more competitive in the 2nd game, they still trailed for the majority and were beaten by a better team. They are in desperate need of a bounce back and star player Giannis Antetokounpo will have a big chip on his shoulder after giving away a crucial foul in the dying seconds that cost the Bucks Game 2. Expect him to come out fired up in Game 3.
Sunday September 6th, 3.30pm (ET)
The Bucks are in a world of trouble here and their 2020 playoff campaign is all but over as they find themselves in a 3-0 hole against the Heat. Not sure what to make of this series or if the Bucks can muster anything at all, staying well away from this game four because we just aren’t sure if they will come out with any fight or throw in the towel.
Tuesday September 8th, 9.00pm (ET)
The Bucks finally bounced back in Game 4 to capture their first win of the series but it came at a massive price. Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo injured his ankle and was ruled out in the second half and it’s unknown if he’ll be able to take part in Game 5. Regardless, we think the Heat finish off the series here, it took a great shooting game from the Bucks just to send it to OT in Game 4, one that they might not be able to replicate.
HEAT WIN SERIES 4-1
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