Injuries were the story of game one between the Heat and Bucks, with Tyler Herro breaking his hand and Giannis Antetokounmpo leaving the game with a back injury. The two teams will be back at it tonight, with Miami looking to steal another game on the road, and we’ll preview the action before going over why I’ll be targeting a first-half bet in this one.
Not many people or oddsmakers gave the Miami Heat a fighting chance in this series, but once Giannis left the game with an injury, the Heat took advantage and walked away with a 130-117 win in game one. Miami shot 60% from the field and from three in the game, with Jimmy Butler leading the way with 35 points.
It’s hard to pick which aspect of game one was more surprising between the Bucks allowing 130 points despite finishing fourth in the regular season in defensive efficiency rating or the Heat scoring 130 points despite finishing 25th in offensive efficiency rating. Miami scored 130 or more points only twice during the regular season, and whether or not Giannis is fully healthy to play tonight, it's clear the rest of the team needs to step up on both ends of the floor.
Milwaukee was 10th in the league in three-point percentage during the regular season, but they shot 24% in game one from deep. This could have something to do with increased attention on role players since Giannis wasn’t on the floor, but even if that was the case, guys like Khris Middleton will need to shoot much better than 2 for 7 from three.
On the other end, Miami will be looking to replace Tyler Herro’s production tonight, whether that be with Duncan Robinson or a guy like Victor Oladipo. The veteran Oladipo didn’t log a minute of play in game one. Still, Erik Spoelstra’s hesitance with Duncan Robinson has been made evident, so the rotation in tonight’s game will be an interesting factor to watch for.
For my play in this one, I’ll be targeting the Milwaukee Bucks’ first-half spread of (-4.5). Milwaukee was one of the league's most profitable 1H ATS teams during the regular season, with a 44-38-1 ATS record. Miami was one of the least profitable first-half teams, with a 36-48-1 ATS record. Giannis is expected to be back in the lineup, and I can’t envision a scenario in which the Bucks don’t come out aggressive.
The Bucks were 10th in the league in 1H field goals made per game during the regular season, while Miami was 29th. There is no denying that the Bucks did not come out sharp with their interior defense; however, I don’t expect that to happen tonight. Milwaukee was 6th in points allowed in the paint during the first half, and I expect them to make the adjustment tonight in that area, especially knowing they don’t have to worry about Herro beating them from deep.
Milwaukee lost their first game at home of the opening series in 2020, and they responded the next game by going into halftime with a 21-point lead. I don’t expect them to be up 20 by half, but I do expect them to come out very efficient on both ends.
Milwaukee Bucks 1H (-4.5)