Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat – NBA, May 27, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| May 27, 2021 7:36 am PDT

Milwaukee travels to Miami for game three in this first-round playoff game in the east. So far, it’s been the Bucks who have been on fire, and Miami must turn up the heat if they are to get back into the series. Game one was a close, tense affair in which the Bucks won by two points after overtime.

Miami will feel it was certainly an opportunity missed as they won three-quarters of a game in which the lead changed hands 17 times. However, game two could not be any different as the Bucks breezed past the Heat, winning by a massive 34-points.

Milwaukee won all four quarters of the game as they dominated from start to finish. Giannis Antetokounmpo was in inspiring form in game two, and he improved upon his scoring stats from game one. If he improves again tonight, then the Heat is in for a long night. The win was the Bucks’ third over the Heat within ten days as they appear to have Miami’s number.

However, the series now heads to Miami, where the Heat beat the Bucks the last time they met there. Miami will certainly hope the return home will rejuvenate them after a disappointing display last time out. One of their go-to players, Jimmy Butler, admitted that the Heat couldn’t play any worse than they did that night.

Although the head-to-head record over the last ten meetings is split between these two, the Bucks have averaged five more points per game, suggesting that they tend to win big when they win. They have been notoriously fast starters against the Heat as they were in-game two as they have led by an average of eight points at halftime during those ten fixtures.

They have also dominated the battle on the boards, and this is something Miami will look to improve upon as if they go three games down, you have to feel the tie will be over. They will also need Duncan Robinson to return to his form of game one, where he scored 24-points and made seven of his 13 three-pointer attempts.

Here is my Bucks vs. Heat betting preview.

Bucks vs. Heat Odds

Bucks -1.5-110
Heat +1.5-110
Bucks To Win-121
Heat To Win+105
Over 226.5 Points-110
Under 226.5 Points-110

Despite the one-sided affair last time out, the bookmakers have remained cautious of a Miami backlash, presumably as the series heads to Miami. The spread for games one and two was five and a half points, and both teams won one game apiece against the spread.

The points total returns to the exact total that was set in game one, which saw both teams combine for a total that went under the betting line. It was lowered for game two by four points, and the total went over that night.

It’s worth noting that the Bucks have won two-thirds of their 21 games on the road against Eastern Conference opposition.

Assessing the Bucks

Despite losing their last regular-season game against the Bulls, the Bucks finished the season strong and have now only lost two of their previous 12 matches. Their offense has performed brilliantly during this run, and they have posted seven scores over 120-points.

Their form on the road has been inconsistent, and they have alternated wins with defeats in their previous eight road trips. Despite this form being sketchy, they will hope it continues tonight, as if it does, they will take a 3-0 lead into game four.

Here are the latest betting trends for Milwaukee:

Against The Spread

  • They have lost seven of their last nine matches.

This might suggest they have won some very close games recently, given they have been winning but not against the spread, but this isn’t the case. This means the bookmakers have overestimated them repeatedly recently, which is perhaps another reason the spread has been reduced here.

Points Total

  • Six of their last nine games have gone over the betting total.
  • Only one of their previous five matches on the road has failed to go over the points total.
  • The total has gone under in seven of their last nine visits to Miami.

There isn’t a great deal to go on here as the stats contradict each other.

Other Pointers

  • They have won ten of their previous 11 games against teams from the east coast.

This bodes well as they haven’t been the most consistent travelers recently, but given they are playing an Eastern Conference team here, it should boost their chances of winning.

The Bucks have the number one ranked offense in the league this season, averaging a mightily impressive 120-points per game.

They were the third most accurate shooters from field goal range and fourth from three-point range during the regular season. However, their excellent shooting hasn’t followed them into the playoffs, especially from the free-throw line where they have struggled.

But they are moving the ball around the court much quicker in the playoffs than they did in the regular season, which has led to many more assists on average. This is mainly down to the exploits of Jrue Holiday, who had 15 assists in game two. However, it has also led to a high number of turnovers which must improve.

Their defense has been poor, but it hasn’t mattered most nights, and it possibly won’t tonight coming up against one of the worst offenses in the league.

Despite this, they have always remained disciplined and played with integrity throughout the year.

They are one of the best teams for guarding in and around the basket as they like to keep things tight at that end of the court. However, this does leave them open from deep, and they have struggled against teams who can shoot well from three-point range.

This has also led them to make the most defensive rebounds in the NBA this season. They have continued this in games one and two of the series, and it has even rubbed off on their offensive rebounding, which has improved dramatically from the regular season.

They are also making more steals and fewer blocks in the playoffs, which seems to be a change of tactics for the Bucks heading into this series.

The Bucks will be without Giannis’ older brother Thanasis for tonight’s game as he is out with a knee injury.

Assessing the Heat?

The Heat had been in good form until they ran into the Bucks. They have won all of their previous eight games where they haven’t met Milwaukee. This includes beating the Celtics twice, and the Eastern Conference’s number one ranked team, the 76ers.

Their form has been decent at the American Airlines Arena after winning three of their last four games there. Their only defeat during that period came against the Mavericks at the beginning of May.

In all truth, the Heat did very little wrong in defeat, but they came up against a name from the past which architected their downfall. That name was Hardaway (Junior) who’s father was a pivotal player for Miami back in the day. Hardaway Junior hit ten three-pointers and was unstoppable, unfortunately for Miami.

Here are the latest betting trends for Miami:

Against The Spread

  • Miami has won six of their previous eight matches.
  • They have only lost two of their last nine games against teams in the Eastern Conference.

These stats are possibly the reason why the handicap has been cut tonight.

Points Total

  • The total has gone over in 12 of their previous 15 matches.
  • Two-thirds of their last 18 games against the Bucks have gone under the betting total.
  • Five of their previous six home matches have gone over the points total.

Much like the Bucks stats, the Heats games have been hard to predict in terms of points totals.

Other Pointers

  • Miami is 12-6 in their last 18 games.
  • They have only won two of their previous six matches against teams based in the Central Division.
  • The Heat have won seven of their last eight games played on a Thursday.

There isn’t a great deal to go on here.

As already highlighted, the Heat have a poor offense this season. Their biggest struggle has been making offensive rebounding, and therefore it’s easy to see why the Bucks have dominated this area of play.

Thankfully, they have a solid defense they can rely upon as they have only conceded 108-points per game on average.

However, I found it interesting that they had made the lowest number of blocks in the NBA this season, which I find strange for such an excellent defensive unit. This is something that has continued into this series against the Bucks.

Despite losing both games, they have remained disciplined, and we should see a good clean, straight-up game of basketball tonight.

Miami also only has one absentee tonight as Oladipo has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury.

My Pick for Bucks vs. Heat

  • Bucks -1.5

While I believe this game will be much closer than game two, I think that game knocked all of the stuffing and belief out of Miami, and I can’t see them turning things around against the Bucks. I think the damage may have been done in game one when it was clear for most to see the Heat had the Bucks on the ropes and only for a poor second quarter should have taken the lead in the series.

When the chips are down, you have to look around the locker room and see who has the game and the leadership to carry a team that is two games down. Jimmy Butler certainly has the game, but even he appears to have given up on his team, who he criticized earlier on in the season for not playing hard enough. This is a clear Bucks win for me.



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