The top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks will face a stiffer challenge beginning on Monday with a Game 1 matchup in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Miami Heat. Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks triumphed over the Orlando Magic in five games in the first round, while Jimmy Butler and the Heat put together a four-game sweep over the Indiana Pacers. The Bucks will be keeping a close eye on the injury report, with starting point guard Eric Bledsoe (hamstring) listed as questionable for Game 1.
HP Field House in Orlando will host this 6:30 p.m. ET tip. Milwaukee is the 5.5-point favorite at William Hill in the Bucks vs. Heat odds. The over-under is set at 224, up a point from the opening line. Before making any Heat vs. Bucks picks, be sure to see the NBA predictions from SportsLine's proven computer model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and it's already returned over $4,700 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks this season. It entered last week on a blistering 59-33 run on top-rated NBA spread picks, returning almost $2,300 on those picks alone. It's also 7-2 on top-rated picks since the NBA's restart in July. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Bucks vs. Heat spread: Bucks -5.5
- Bucks vs. Heat over-under: 224 points
- Bucks vs. Heat money line: Bucks -245, Heat +205
- MIL: The Bucks are 5-4-1 against the spread in the last 10 games
- MIA: The Heat are 6-4 against the spread in the last 10 games
Why the Bucks can cover
The Bucks were thoroughly dominant in the regular season, leading the NBA in both win-loss record and net rating, and Milwaukee didn't slow down in the first round. Milwaukee outscored Orlando by 9.6 points per 100 possessions, leading the 2020 NBA Playoffs in defensive rebounding and finishing second in assist-to-turnover ratio. In the regular season, the Bucks were the best defensive team in the league, ranking No. 1 in defensive rebounding, shooting efficiency allowed and points allowed per possession, and Milwaukee also finished No. 8 in free-throw rate allowed.
The ability to avoid fouls will be crucial in this matchup, with the Heat relying on free-throw attempts this season, including a No. 2 ranking in the NBA in free-throw rate. Offensively, the presence of Antetokounmpo opens many doors for the Bucks, with the superstar operating as Milwaukee's offensive engine. The 25-year-old averaged 30.6 points, 16.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game against Orlando, with the ability to replicate those numbers, even against a better defensive team in Miami.
Why the Heat can cover
Miami is a balanced team, with top-10 units on both offense and defense this season. On the offensive end, Butler serves as the focal point, with the All-Star wing averaging 19.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game in the first round against Indiana. The Heat are also an elite shooting team, posting a 55.3 percent clip in effective field-goal shooting during the regular season and continuing that effectiveness against the Pacers. Milwaukee is a spectacular defensive team, but Miami presents a bevy of shooters to put pressure on the opposition, headlined by the NBA's best 3-point shooter this season in Duncan Robinson.
Defensively, the Heat are fantastic at protecting the glass, grabbing 76.8 percent of available rebounds in the regular season, and Miami forced turnovers on 15.7 percent of possessions against Indiana, ranking No. 2 in the NBA Playoffs 2020 in creating havoc.
How to make Bucks vs. Heat picks
SportsLine's model is leaning under on the total, with only one player projected to hit the 20-point mark in this matchup. The model also says one side of the spread hits in well over 50 percent of simulations. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Bucks vs. Heat? And which side of the spread cashes well over 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Heat vs. Bucks spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is up over $4,700 on its top-rated NBA picks this season, and find out.