Heat vs Bucks NBA Odds, Picks and Predictions

Jimmy Butler’s been a noted playoff menace, and in a spot where the Heat will have to lean on him extra hard, our NBA picks think he’ll be a threat to the Bucks yet again.

The Miami Heat pulled off a wholly improbable upset in Game 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks, running the Deer over 130-117 after Giannis Antetokounmpo was sent to the locker room early with a busted back.

With the former (and some would argue should-be-current) MVP sidelined, Miami rode some entirely unsustainably hot shooting to an easy win — will it be a thorn in Milwaukee’s playoff side yet again?

Find out the best angles as my NBA betting picks break down the Heat vs. Bucks matchup for Wednesday, April 19.

Heat vs Bucks Game 2 best odds

Heat vs Bucks Game 2 picks and predictions

Some players just have “it”. That extra gear that channels superhero powers with stunning consistency in the biggest moments. 

Jimmy Butler is that dude. 

Whether it was his 40-point triple-double in the Bubble Finals (26/8/10 for the series), his two games of 41/9 on 55% with a return trip to the Finals on the line last year, or Game 1’s 35/5/11 at the mere sight of the Bucks again in the postseason, the Big Face Coffee CEO raises his game when it’s needed and is one of the most complete stat stuffers in the NBA. 

His points + rebounds + assists total sits unjuiced at 40.5 tonight, which I think largely undersells the importance of this moment and Butler’s ability to impact it. A Heat win would put some serious pressure on a Bucks team that’s already unraveled against it and has to be feeling vulnerable with Giannis Antetokounmpo listed as questionable. 

Not only would a Giannis absence open the door for Miami to make some serious noise this series, it removes one half of the Bucks’ daunting rim-protection duo, and a dynamic cover who can disrupt all kinds of activity in the mid range where Butler feasts.

Miami was content to launch the 3-point looks the Bucks gladly conceded in Game 1, but it also shot an absurd 60% from long range. That is absolutely f***ing not happening again, and the Heat will need to conjure offense in other ways from a limited arsenal. 

See, Tyler Herro broke his hand in Game 1, robbing an offense that ranked just 25th during the regular season of a guy effectively tied for second on the team in scoring. It’s a huge loss, and one that’s going to force far more touches on Butler as a go-to scorer who doubles as a quasi-lead playmaker in most Heat lineups. 

And unlike some players who might look to defer in those spots, or conserve energy, Butler thrives on high-usage opportunities to give playoff foes the business. Don’t be surprised if he forces the issue a little extra tonight in a very high-leverage spot. 

Butler’s PRA market closed at 36.5 for Game 1, and there’s obvious inflation baked in with Herro out and Giannis possibly joining him. But that Game 1 number was too low to begin with, given Butler’s postseason tendencies (he almost hit the Over in points alone). Yes, he had those weird disappearances against an elite Celtics defense early in last year’s ECF, but he’s never shied away when the chips are truly down. 

I think math and opportunity-wise this is a great bet, with the added intangible factor of Butler being a complete madman in a crucial spot against an old playoff foe. 

My best bet: Jimmy Butler Over 40.5 points + rebounds + assists (-110)

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Heat vs Bucks Game 2 spread analysis

Throw Game 1 out the window. 

Even if Giannis sits, there’s no way a defense as good as Milwaukee’s will allow an offense as bad as Miami’s — again, without one of its leading scorers — to shoot 60% from both the field overall and 3-point range. 

Once the Heat finally cooled off, this became an extremely close game. In fact, the second half was net-zero. However, the current line — Bucks -8 — suggests something different. While books tried to navigate speculation about Giannis’ injury status, news that he’d been upgraded from doubtful to questionable moved the line up from the -6.5 range almost immediately. 

While “questionable” is far from a certainty, Giannis is a resilient player who’s worth more than two points to the spread if he suits up anywhere near 100%. 

Both the initial spread and the movement seem to be a hedge in the direction of Freak playing tonight, and like Butler above, he’ll be desperate to send a dominant message (which he can do with a bad back because he’s freaking Giannis), and avoid being down 0-2 as a 1-seed. 

That said, we just don’t know enough about his condition. Just because the medical staff clear him doesn’t mean he won’t be stiff or hampered, and this spread could grow near double digits if money keeps coming in on the Bucks. I’d avoid this spread for now.

Heat vs Bucks Game 2 Over/Under analysis

Miami’s unsustainable shooting is equally relevant here — an attack that shot better than only three teams from long range in the regular season is not going to go nuclear like that again. So, not only will the Heat be settling for far more 2-point buckets, but likely have to chew longer in the shot clock to earn them, no longer readily draining the looks Milwaukee gives them. 

Thus, it’s imprudent to look at Game 1’s 247-point anomaly and suggest it has any bearing on Game 2.

A 220 total seems reasonably priced, and there are factors that could swing this both ways, many of which hinge on Antetokounmpo’s health. If he’s close to game shape, he’s not only an unstoppable low-post bully, but a shape-shifting brick wall on defense, and the biggest deterrent to Butler and Bam Adebayo creating havoc in the paint. 

Overall, I’d probably stray from this total for the same reasons I would the spread. Yes, things are trending towards Giannis suiting up, but this could very easily be a desperate spot where he feels the onus to suit up. He could still be limited, so I’d rather just place my money with a much safer proposition on the South Beach side. 

Heat vs Bucks betting trend to know

The Over is 6-0 in Heat’s last six overall. Find more NBA betting trends for Heat vs. Bucks.

Heat vs Bucks Game 2 game info

Location: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
Date: Wednesday, April 19, 2023
Tip-off: 9:00 p.m. ET

Heat vs Bucks Game 2 key injuries

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