Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
Where to watch: ESPN
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Bucks -5.5
BetMGM: Bucks -5.5
Bucks: 16-9 (3rd place, Eastern Conference)
Heat: 14-11 (4th place, Eastern Conference)
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Bucks - Heat preview and analysis
Bucks: won 10 of 11; won 112-104 vs. Cavaliers on Monday
Heat: lost four of five; lost 105-90 vs. Grizzlies on Monday
The surging NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks will keep this hot stretch going Wednesday when they visit the battered Miami Heat.
Milwaukee absolutely knows what Miami is going through right now. The Heat remain down top stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo for the foreseeable future and have lost four of five as a result.
The Bucks had to go a stretch without Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, Brook Lopez and more out of the lineup, leaving Giannis Antetokounmpo on an island to fend for himself during a 6-8 start. But Milwaukee is healthy and enters Wednesday's rematch of last year's first-round playoff series having won 10 of 11.
One of those wins was against the Heat on Saturday, winning by 22 points led by Pat Connaughton's team-high 23 points. But the Bucks are also coming off an impressive 8-point win at home against the rising Cleveland Cavaliers with Giannis going for 27 points and 12 rebounds on the two-time MVP's 27th birthday.
"Guys are playing with confidence, playing together," said Antetokounmpo. "We're guarding together. We're in a very, very good spot right now."
Milwaukee, however, has not been so reliable on the books in recent days despite this stretch of outright winning. The Bucks are only 5-3 against the spread in their last eight, but factor in one of those losses being their only loss in the last 11 games (Thursday against the Toronto Raptors on a SEGABABA). Milwaukee was 8.5-point favorites Monday against Cleveland (covered by a half point) and 9-point favorites against the Charlotte Hornets in that epic 2-point win last Wednesday.
It should also be noted that Milwaukee only lost by four to Toronto while resting Giannis on that back-to-back.
So take all of that into consideration and realize how bad of a situation the Heat are in right now. Miami has to try and stay above water with Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro leading the ship, but the Heat are really feeling the effects of not having their two superstars/defensive anchors.
Hence why they put up only 90 points against the Memphis Grizzlies in a 15-point loss on Monday at home. Butler had just returned from a four-game hiatus because of a bruised tailbone, only to land on his back in the first quarter when falling to the ground.
"Any time you're playing from behind, your game changes," Herro said. "Especially early on when we dig ourselves a hole, it's hard to generate good looks and not feel so much pressure on the offensive end. So we just need to be better on both ends of the floor. The last couple games, obviously, hasn't been our best basketball."
It won't take much math here. A healthy Bucks lineup against a banged-up Heat team. No contest here. The Bucks are due for a letdown at some point, but not in this scenario. Feel confident with Milwaukee in a comfortable win. Bucks by 16
The Bucks are 6-1 ATS in their last seven as a home favorite.
The over is 5-0 in the Bucks’ last five as a favorite.
The Bucks are 4-1 ATS in the last five.
Projected starting lineup
PG: Jrue Holiday
SG: Grayson Allen
SF: Khris Middleton
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
C: Bobby Portis
PG: Kyle Lowry
SG: Tyler Herro
SF: Duncan Robinson
PF: P.J. Tucker
C: Dewayne Dedmon
Bucks: George Hill (day to day), Brook Lopez (back, out)
Heat: Jimmy Butler (back, out), Bam Adebayo (thumb, out)
Points: Giannis Antetokounmpo – 27.6
Rebounds: Giannis Antetokounmpo – 11.8
Assists: Jrue Holiday – 6.2
Points: Jimmy Butler – 22.8
Rebounds: Bam Adebayo – 10.2
Assists: Kyle Lowry – 7.6
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