Time: 8 p.m. ET
Venue: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
Where to watch: Bally Sports Sun, Bally Sports Wisconsin
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Bucks -1
BetMGM: Bucks -1.5
Caesars: Bucks -2
Heat: 0-0 (40-32 last season, 6th in East -- swept by Bucks in 1st round)
Power Sports got off to a strong start Tuesday with wins in both season openers with the Bucks and Warriors. Catch Power’s and other plays available right now at the Shop Picks page, where you can find all of the Best Bets from our champion sports handicappers.
Bucks - Heat preview and analysis
Bucks: won 127-104 vs. Nets on Tuesday
Heat: First game of season
The defending champs came to play on Opening Night.
The first game of the NBA calendar is usually the most emotional. Teams get their championship rings, the banner is raised, emotions are running high. Normally, the champs have an emotional letdown that night.
Not the Milwaukee Bucks, and certainly not Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Last year’s Finals MVP got his title defense off to a stellar start with 32 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists in the Bucks’ opening victory against the Brooklyn Nets, the team widely expected to challenge the Bucks for the title this year.
But Thursday will bring forth another challenge to the Bucks’ crown, in the form of the team Milwaukee swept to begin their chase for the title. The re-tooled Miami Heat will begin their new season with many believing they can also dethrone Milwaukee.
"We're part of history," Antetokounmpo said Tuesday. "I'm excited. But now it's over with. We've got to focus on building good habits, keep moving forward and keep playing good basketball and hopefully we can repeat this again this year, next year and all the years that we're going to be here down the road."
The Bucks got six players in double figures led by Giannis’ dominant effort. Although he shot below 50 percent, let us all rejoice in that the man is hitting free throws at a dangerous clip (7 of 9) and things are trending upward in that department.
Khris Middleton and Pat Connaughton had 20 points each, and even Grayson Allen had 10 points (albeit all he did was shoot 3 of 10 from three) to reach double figures.
The only bad thing to come out of that game was point guard Jrue Holiday left Tuesday with a heel contusion and is listed as day-to-day. If he can’t go, veteran George Hill would likely get the start in his place.
Not that Hill is a horrible replacement option, but the defense drops off a ton when Holiday is out of the lineup. And given this is going to be the Miami debut of All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry, the Bucks are going to need to zero in on him in this matchup.
Lowry, the long-time Toronto Raptors stalwart that was a part of the championship team in 2019, signed a three-year, $90 million contract with the Heat as free agency began this summer. Lowry brings his clutch scoring and tenacious defense to form a menacing big three with Jimmy Butler and first-time all-star Bam Adebayo.
“It’s been pretty smooth,” Lowry said per the Miami Herald
on his transition to Miami. “I’ve got great basketball teammates and I’ve got a great coaching staff. A lot of things have been put in my hands, to where they’ve been adapting to me when I’ve had to adapt to them. Which shows great respect for what I’m able to do with my basketball skills and me also understanding what they want to do. So it’s a mutual respect type of thing.”
The Heat had a disappointing exit in the playoffs to these same Bucks, who had P.J. Tucker on their run to the title. Tucker, one of the best on-ball defenders in the game, signed with Miami to join a swarming group that can score and defend with the best of them. Tucker spent most of the postseason shutting down Butler, Kevin Durant, some of Trae Young, and Devin Booker all the way to the NBA Finals.
This is a matchup that will show a lot of defense turning into offense. Not a bad way to start the regular season, but these Eastern Conference powerhouses are going to put on a show. If Holiday can’t go, the Heat will use the power of emotion and Lowry’s debut to will them to a win.. Heat by 7
The Bucks are 45-23 straight up the last three seasons as a road favorite.
Milwaukee is 27-24 ATS against Southeast Division opponents the last three seasons.
Miami is 29-34 ATS as an underdog in its last 63.
Projected starting lineup
PG: Jrue Holiday
SG: Grayson Allen
SF: Khris Middleton
PF: Giannis Anteokounmpo
C: Brook Lopez
PG: Kyle Lowry
SG: Duncan Robinson
SF: Jimmy Butler
PF: P.J. Tucker
C: Bam Adebayo
Points: Giannis Antetokounmpo -- 32.0
Rebounds: Giannis Antetokounmpo -- 14.0
Assists: Giannis Antetokounmpo -- 7.0
Blocks: Brook Lopez -- 3.0
Steals: Grayson Allen -- 2.0
Points: Jimmy Butler -- 21.5
Rebounds: Bam Adebayo -- 9.0
Assists: Jimmy Butler -- 7.1
Blocks: Bam Adebayo -- 1.0
Steals: Jimmy Butler -- 2.1
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