One of the more interesting 2021 NBA Playoff series of the first round continues on Thursday evening in the East. The Miami Heat host the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 3 and the home team is in need of a bounce-back victory. Milwaukee claimed Game 2 by a 132-98 margin, taking the 2-0 series lead. Miami will aim to recapture its defensive intensity from an overtime loss in Game 1.
Tip-off is set at 7:30 p.m. ET. The latest Bucks vs. Heat odds from William Hill Sportsbook list Milwaukee as the 1.5-point favorite. the over-under for total points is set at 224.5, down three points from the opening line. Before finalizing any Heat vs. Bucks picks, be sure to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's proven computer model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned over $9,000 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks over the past two-plus seasons. The model is up almost $800 on its top-rated picks this season and entered the first full week of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on a stunning 99-66 roll on top-rated NBA picks against the spread dating back to last season. Anybody who has followed it has seen massive returns.
- Bucks vs. Heat spread: Bucks -1.5
- Bucks vs. Heat over-under: 224.5 points
- Bucks vs. Heat money line: Bucks -125, Heat +105
- MIL: The Bucks are 3-7 against the spread in the last 10 games
- MIA: The Heat are 7-3 against the spread in the last 10 games
Why the Bucks can cover
Milwaukee outclassed Miami in Game 2, showcasing the team's upside. The Bucks converted 22 3-pointers in the blowout win, and they generated 34 assists while producing quality looks throughout the game. Milwaukee also held the Heat to 40 percent shooting and just 98 points. The Bucks are a balanced team, but they also have star power with Giannis Antetokounmpo, who averaged 28.1 points, 11.1 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game in the regular season.
From there, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday are potent supporting forces, and the Bucks are leading all playoff teams on the offensive glass, grabbing more than 37 percent of their own missed shots. The sample is small, but Milwaukee is No. 1 in the postseason in defensive rating (98.6 points allowed per 100 possessions), and the Heat will have to prove they can score efficiently to knock off the Bucks.
Why the Heat can cover
Though Miami suffered a hiccup in Game 2, it is a tremendous defensive team. The Heat allowed just 110.7 points per 100 possessions in the regular season, and they are strongly above-average in limiting opponents to just 45.9 percent shooting. Miami led the NBA in both fast break points allowed (10.4 per game) and points allowed in the paint (41.3 per game) this season, and the Heat are well-coached and talented. They are adept at creating turnovers, forcing 15.1 giveaways per game this season, and they limit free throw attempts (19.9 per game) effectively.
On the offensive end, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are both star-level players, and Duncan Robinson is one of the best perimeter shooters in the NBA. The Heat are a top-five team in 2-point shooting at 55.3 percent for the season, with top-10 marks in true shooting (58.1 percent), assists (26.1 per game), assist rate (67.1 percent) and free throw creation rate.
How to make Heat vs. Bucks picks
SportsLine's model is leaning under on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 224 points. The model also says one side of the spread hits in well over 50 percent of simulations. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Heat vs. Bucks? And which side of the spread hits well over 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks.