Milwaukee Bucks vs Miami Heat Game 1 Prediction and Odds: 2023 NBA Playoffs

The Milwaukee Bucks have the best NBA playoff odds of going all the way to a championship this year. Their first challenge is a familiar foe in the Miami Heat, who came back to beat the Bulls on Friday night to earn the No. 8 seed.

These odds from William Hill were correct at the time of writing.

Milwaukee Bucks vs Miami Heat Prediction
Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA
Photo by Icon Sport

Milwaukee Bucks vs Miami Heat – Game Predictions

The Miami Heat had a shaky week in the play-in tournament, but they are here in the first round to face the Milwaukee Bucks for the third time in the last four postseasons. The Heat will hope for a better result than in 2021 when the Bucks swept the Heat in the first round on their way to winning the championship.

Prediction 1: Milwaukee Bucks to Cover the Spread (-9.5)

The Bucks have been a strong home favorite this year, covering the spread 60.5% of the time in that split (23-15-2). Miami is only 8-11 ATS as a road underdog, and Miami in general has been the second-worst bet in the NBA this season with a 31-50-3 ATS record (38.3%). Miami is also 5-10-1 ATS with a rest disadvantage this season, and that is certainly the case here after two home games in the play-in tournament while the top-seeded Bucks rested all week. The Bucks should come out strong against the lowest-scoring team in the NBA.

Prediction 2: Giannis Antetokounmpo Over 29.5 Points

If the Bucks are going to pull off this title run as the odds-on favorite, then Giannis Antetokounmpo is going to have to play at the absurd level he did two years ago. This season, he averaged 31.1 points per game and had 35 points in his only full game against the Heat. He missed two other matchups and was limited to 4 points in 6:28 in the last meeting in February. Giannis has gone over 29.5 points in 39-of-63 games (61.9%) this season, so this feels like a doable line for him to hit to begin this playoff run.

Bucks vs Heat Preview – Any Chance of an Upset?

You have to go back to the 2012 season to find the last time a No. 1 (or No. 2) seed in the Eastern Conference lost in the first round. Even when the Heat shocked the Bucks in the bubble in 2020, it took a Giannis injury to help make that happen.

Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks won a league-high 58 games this year to claim the top seed, and we know top seeds win roughly two-thirds of championships in the NBA. But not all advanced analytics agree with the Bucks as the best team, and they were only No. 5 in Net Rating (+3.6) this season. But they have an incredible player in Giannis Antetokounmpo, who willed the team all the way two playoffs ago. The supporting cast of Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, Brook Lopez, and Bobby Portis will look very similar to 2021, but everyone is of course two years older.

Miami Heat

Miami (44-38) is in the playoffs for the fourth year in a row, but this team came dangerously close to losing both home games in the play-in tournament. Jimmy Butler can still get it done at the highest level, but Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo are volatile, streaky players. Max Strus ended up being Friday night’s hero with 31 points against the Bulls, but the league’s lowest-scoring team is going to have trouble with Giannis and the Bucks in this series.

Bucks vs Heat Head to Head Record In 2023

The Bucks are just 2-2 against Miami this season, but that almost deserves an asterisk since Antetokounmpo did not play in either loss. He also barely played in the 29-point win in the last meeting on February 24, so we have seen little of the intended matchup between Giannis and the Heat this year.

Milwaukee Bucks vs Miami Heat Game Details

Milwaukee Bucks vs Miami Heat Prediction

  • Date & Time: Sunday, April 16, 2023, 5:30 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Fiserv Forum – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Where to watch match in UK: Sky Sports (TV), fuboTV, or other live stream

Subscribe to Punditfeed on Google News for all the latest updates from the world of sports!