Here are The Game Day’s predictions and bets for the 2021 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference First Round series in our Heat vs Bucks preview.
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Miami Heat vs Milwaukee Bucks Prediction: 2021 NBA Playoffs Round 1 Bet Tips & Pick
Miami Heat 2020-2021 Season Recap
The Heat have flown under the radar this season despite playing in the Finals just seven short months ago. Some were quick to write them off after their 7-14 start, but they recovered to finish 40-32 and snag the 6-seed. Miami made up for its poor start with a torrid finish, winning 12 of its last 16 games and avoiding the play-in tournament.
Most of the Heat’s issues were on the offensive end, as they finished with the sixth-fewest points per game and struggled to get consistent scoring from players other than Jimmy Butler. Their defense was elite, though, yielding the fifth-fewest points per game. Miami remains well-coached by Erik Spoelstra, and is a solid all-around team with great depth off the bench.
Milwaukee Bucks 2020-2021 Season Recap
The Bucks slipped to third in the Eastern Conference after finishing first the last two years, winding up three games behind the Philadelphia 76ers and two games back of the Brooklyn Nets. It was still a successful regular season overall for Milwaukee, which benefited from the presence of new point guard Jrue Holiday. Giannis Antetokounmpo produced another MVP-caliber campaign, averaging 28.1 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game.
Between those two and Khris Middleton, the Bucks led the NBA in points per game this year while playing at the second-fastest pace. Their defense was solid as well, making them one of the top teams in the NBA. Like Miami, Milwaukee also finished the season on a tear, going 14-6 over its last 20 games.
Miami Heat vs Milwaukee Bucks Matchup
This will be a rematch of last season’s conference semifinals, which Miami stunningly won in five games. Since then, the Bucks have added Holiday and continued to be the superior team during the regular season. Milwaukee also won the season series this year, 2-1, even with two of the games being played in Miami.
Holiday in particular should prove to be a difference-maker in the postseason. He’s had a full year to run the offense now and has helped take some of the pressure off Antetokounmpo. Holiday may not post the biggest stats, but he makes the Bucks drastically better when he’s on the court.
Miami Heat vs Milwaukee Bucks Prediction
Milwaukee Bucks Win Series 4-2
The Bucks were the better team last year, and that’s even more true this year. They’ll be out to avenge their disappointing loss to the Heat last year, and they’re better equipped to do so with Holiday on board. Miami’s defense and Butler will keep this series relatively close, but Milwaukee is too good for another upset to occur.
Miami Heat vs Milwaukee Bucks Bet Pick
Milwaukee Bucks To Win Series (-275)
Milwaukee’s role players are now on par with Miami’s, while Giannis is still the best player on the floor. The Bucks have improved since last year, but the same cannot be said for the Heat, who will be unable to take down Milwaukee two years in a row.