NBA Picks: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat Predictions and Betting Odds

Doc Moseman@DocsSportsCorrespondent IApril 8, 2013

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 27: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat sits on the court after being foule by a Chicago Bull player on March 27, 2013 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
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In what should be a preview of a first-round matchup in the upcoming NBA Playoffs, the Milwaukee Bucks will try and send a message to the Miami Heat that they will not be an easy out when the two clash this Tuesday night at the American Airlines Arena. The game is set to tip off at 7:30 p.m. ET, and it will be available on NBA League Pass.

It took 76 games of an 82-game schedule for Milwaukee to finally clinch a playoff spot in the East, but it is in as the eighth seed after beating Toronto 100-83 as a six-point home favorite this past Saturday night. The total stayed “under” the 202.5-point line, and it has now stayed under in its last three games.

Miami has long since clinched the top spot in the conference after an amazing 27-game run during February and March. It is 60-16 straight-up on the year and 41-35 against the spread. The total has gone over in five of its last seven games.


Betting Storylines

The Bucks could still conceivably catch the Boston Celtics for the seventh spot in the East, but they would have to make up 2.5 games over their last six regular season outings, so they already realize that this game is probably just a dress rehearsal for the main show later this month. The problem with trying to steal a win in Miami on Tuesday night is a defense that is ranked 20th in the league and giving up an average of 100.3 points a game trying to stop one of the most potent scoring attacks in the league.

Milwaukee’s only option might be to try and outscore the Heat with an offense that is putting up an average of 99 points a game behind Monta Ellis (19.3 points) and Brandon Jennings (17.7 points) The one area that the Bucks have excelled at this season in under the boards with an average of 43.8 rebounds a game.


Since their amazing winning streak came to an end, the Heat have been resting some of their top players in an effort to get them healthy for another title run. LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen all missed time with some minor aches and pains but are expected to be in the lineup against the Bucks. Dwyane Wade remains out indefinitely while nursing a sore right knee and ankle. Even with him on the sidelines there is more than enough firepower for Miami to light up Milwaukee if it wants to.

LeBron James has averaged 26.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.2 assists all season long in his quest to earn another league MVP title. The main goal remains a second-straight NBA title, but you cannot help but marvel at how well he has played this year.

The supporting cast have also elevated their game to combine for a team average of 102.9 points a game while shooting 49.6 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from three-point range. 


NBA Betting Odds and Trends

Carbon Sports has opened Miami has a five-point home favorite over the Bucks with the “over/under” still listed as “off” until the Heat's final game-time roster is set.

The Bucks are 4-11 against the spread in their last 15 games overall and 16-40 ATS in their last 56 games against a team with a winning record. The total has stayed under in their last four road games.

The Heat are 5-0 ATS in their last five games against a team with a losing record and 5-1 ATS in their last six games playing on two days’ rest. The total has gone over in 10 of their last 15 games at home.

The road team in this matchup is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings, and the total has stayed under in seven of the last nine games played in Miami. This series is tied at 4-4 straight up in the last eight meetings, with Milwaukee holding a 6-2 edge ATS.


Betting Predictions

The Bucks have been able to play Miami tough over the past few seasons but lost by 13 points as 5.5-point road underdogs in their last visit in mid-March.

Neither team is really playing for anything, but stick with the Heat to be the ones to send the message that the sweep is coming when the games start counting for real in the postseason.


Take # 654 Miami (-5) over Milwaukee (Tuesday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m.)