bucks heat game 3 odds pick
May 24, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) drives to the basket against Miami Heat forward Andre Iguodala (28) in the fourth quarter during game two in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee sent Miami back home to South Florida down 0-2 after an overtime win in Game 1 and an emphatic rout in Game 2. The defending Eastern Conference champions now find themselves underdogs on their home court in a crucial Game 3 tonight.

Let’s take a closer look at the best wagering markets with our Bucks vs. Heat Game 3 betting pick, complete with the best odds, prop predictions, and analysis.

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After even the help of that overtime period could not push Game 1 over the posted total, Game 2 sailed over its number on the backs of the Bucks’ 132 points, due, in large part, to 22 made 3-pointers by Milwaukee on 42% shooting from deep.

Will tonight’s game send Miami to the brink or will they use the home crowd of 17,000 voices to make this a series? We will discuss our thoughts on that very topic, as well as a high-value prop bet we have unearthed, in this Heat-Bucks betting preview.

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Bucks vs. Heat Game 3 Odds

Here are the current odds for Bucks vs. Heat at DraftKings Sportsbook:

Clippers-3 (-112)-143O 216.5 (-112)
Mavericks+3 (-109)+123U 216.5 (-109)

Bets We Like With a Heat Win

Miami Heat Lead at Halftime AND Full Time (PointsBet +200)

The Wire To Wire bet was tempting here on Miami, as well, at +330, but the time it took Brooklyn to adjust at home with its Game 1 crowd gives us pause. If Miami stumbles out of the blocks a bit, we do not want to lose our wager before it even gets going. However, we do expect the Heat to at least keep things close through the first quarter, eventually positioning themselves for the halftime lead we need.

Milwaukee had a down year by their standards at home this season (26-10), but still were far worse on the road (20-16). While the Heat were not an elite home team, the increased crowd should provide the team some lift once they start to get hot, as we know they can.

Miami led at the half in six straight wins to finish the season. They had a halftime lead in 24 of their last 32 wins (75%), failing to win a halftime at home just twice in that span. On the season, they were leading at the half in 28 of their 40 total wins (70%). Milwaukee staggeringly only won the first half in four of its last 24 losses this season (16.7%).

Heat Must Start Fast

Miami can ill-afford to play from behind in this one, as Milwaukee thrives on its ability to get to the foul line with a lead. The Heat will need to be focused early and we should see a more Jimmy Butler- and Bam Adebayo-centric offense in the opening stages tonight. Those two carried the Heat in the bubble last summer and throughout this season as their two leading scorers, but have been held in check thus far this series.

In last summer’s Playoff series between these two, which Miami won 4-1, the Heat led at the half in three of their four wins. Meanwhile, they trailed at halftime in the one game they lost. The correlation here should be readily apparent to Miami, which has trailed at the half in all five games against the Bucks this season, losing four of them. They should now know that if they get behind at halftime, they are likely doomed and a loss here is a death sentence in this series.

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Bucks vs. Heat Betting Prediction

The Heat already suffered their heartbreaker in this series, so we just cannot see them losing like that again here. This team did not lose a single game by one point all season, in fact. Therefore, we took the spread pick out of play and went with the Heat moneyline instead. This gives us a wager that pays better than even money, instead of paying juice for a point and a half that we do not see ourselves needing.

The bottomline here for Miami is that if they lose this, they have almost no shot of winning this series. Having to run off four straight, two of which would be on the road, is just too much to ask. However, win tonight and Mr. Momentum shuffles a bit in his seat on the Milwaukee bench. Suddenly, a gaping 0-2 hole becomes a win-at-home-and-hold-serve situation that could see the Heat head back to Wisconsin with the series all knotted up.

We know the Heat have the talent to win this game, if not this series. Had Khris Middleton missed that overtime winner in Game 1, would we have the same outlook on this game? Would the oddsmakers still have Miami as the dog tonight? I’m not so sure. After all, Miami ran the Bucks out of the bubble in five last summer and have one of the grittiest leaders in the game in Butler.

Don’t Be Fooled By Recent History

Miami beat Milwaukee in both Playoff series in which they have faced them and are still 5-5 in the last ten head-to-head meetings, despite the seeming dominance by Milwaukee this year. In fact, two of those five Bucks wins came in overtime.

Keep in mind, the Bucks are favored on the road here, despite going just 20-16 away this season. That’s odd to us, given that they were just 13-20 ATS as favorites of seven or less this year. Milwaukee, which was just 14-22 ATS overall away, was also just 5-8 ATS on the road against above .500 opposition, which speaks to both their inefficiency as the road team and the lack of quality opponents they had to face in their travels.

Things actually got worse for the Bucks after a win, as they were just 9-15 ATS on the road following a victory. They also allowed their season’s most points per game of any rest period (116.3) on two days of rest, while Miami was busy tallying a stellar 6-2 SU and ATS record on that same rest, including five wins in its last six tries.

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Betting Trends to Know

Miami won three times as home dogs this season, including once against this Bucks team, once against the league’s best regular season team, Utah, and once over a similarly high-powered offense, Brooklyn. Milwaukee, meanwhile, was just 9-8 SU and 6-11 ATS on the road as favorites against current playoff teams.

The Bucks have failed to cover any of their last four games after a win by more than 10 points, losing three of those four outright. Miami has won three straight games after getting beat by more than ten and four straight in that role when the following game is at home.

The Bucks are a reputation team to some degree and well-earned. However, we get free value from that in a play-against spot like this. It’s not often you get to bet a home dog against a team that is 1-4 in its last five as road favorites and 2-7 ATS in its last 9 as favorites overall. We expect Milwaukee to dip to 9-20 ATS in its last 29 games after scoring 125 or more points in its previous outing.

Bucks vs. Heat Game 3 Pick

Expect some tough inside play from Butler and Bam early which opens up the three point shooters for Miami. Pair that with the suffocating defense we saw from this team last summer in the bubble and we have the recipe for a home dog outright winner here.

After all, Miami is 5-1 ATS in its last six games in the East Quarterfinals and 5-2 ATS in its last seven as a playoff dog. They have not lost against the spread in their last five tries after an ATS loss and fell just once ATS in their last six efforts after a straight up loss.

Miami makes it nine covers as the home team in the last 12 head-to-head meetings between these two with an emphatic Game 3 victory tonight.

Our Pick: Miami ML (FanDuel Sportsbook +106)

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Bob Wankel is a credentialed Phillies writer for Crossing Broad. He is also Vice President of Sports Betting Content at XL Media and co-hosts Crossed Up: A Phillies Podcast. A South Jersey resident and graduate of Monmouth University, his past work includes 12+ years in education and six seasons as a freelancer at NFL Films. On Twitter: @Bob_Wankel E-mail: bob.w@xlmedia.com