Thursday begins the second week of action inside the NBA's Disney World bubble, and the seeding games roll on with an interesting Eastern Conference matchup as top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks take on the Miami Heat.
Milwaukee is coming off an embarrassing performance to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, in which it lost despite being 18.5-point favorites. Even with Giannis Antetokounmpo and other starters playing limited minutes, the Bucks should have been able to take care of the Nets. On Thursday, they'll have a much tougher matchup.
Miami will once again be without Jimmy Butler, who is dealing with a foot injury. Goran Dragic, who tweaked his ankle late against the Celtics, will also sit out. The Heat is coming off an impressive win over Boston, and are now within striking distance of the No. 3 seed in the East, though they still have plenty of work to do.
How to Watch
- Date: Thursday, Aug. 6 | 4 p.m. ET
- Location: Disney Wide World of Sports -- Orlando, Florida
- TV: TNT
- Odds: Bucks -9 | Over/Under: 222.5
Bucks: They have not officially clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference yet, but they can do so with a win against the Heat on Thursday afternoon. That alone should be enough motivation to come ready to play, but if they needed more, their awful loss to the Nets a few days ago should provide some inspiration.
Heat: Miami is coming off a strong performance against the Celtics, which improved its record inside the bubble to 2-1, and moved the team to within two games of the No. 3 seed in the East. The Heat have a lot of work to do to overtake Boston, but that spot is still within their grasp. Taking down the Bucks would go a long way toward achieving that goal, but beating Milwaukee for a third time this season will be tough, especially without Butler and Dragic.
The Bucks enter as nine-point favorites for this one, and we're going to back them to win and cover. They can clinch the No. 1 seed with a win, and will want to bounce back after that bad loss to the Nets. Plus, the Heat will be without a pair of key players. Pick: Bucks -9