Bucks, Greek Freak Face The Heat In Game 1: Monday NBACast
The Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat begin their best-of-seven NBA Eastern Conference semifinal series Monday night inside the bubble at Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
The No. 1-seeded Bucks, who began a multi-sport shutdown last week by refusing to play Wednesday night following a shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, got back to action on Saturday and finished off the Orlando Magic without much difficultly in five games after being shocked by the 12-point underdogs in Game 1. Newly minted Defensive Player of the Year Giannis Antetokounmpo has hit another peak in terms of all-round performance and will present the Heat with a challenge on both ends of the floor. The Heat are the No. 4 seed in the East and swept past Indiana in the first round.
Oddsmakers have an affinity for the Bucks in this first game. Milwaukee is a 5.5-point favorite in the morning line across the internet. The Bucks are -238 at DraftKings on the money line, while a Heat victory will return +200 at WilliamHill. The over/under is 223.5 at PointsBet. You can get complete Heat-Bucks odds here.
Those who partake in NBA betting and all such related activities can see second-screen action and analysis in real time on the Bookies.com-sponsored #NBACast, co-hosted by NBA experts Nate Duncan and Danny Leroux. The #NBACast offers live, in-game break-out stats, up-to-the second trends and — as always — both hosts will take your in-game questions. Play begins at approximately 6:35 p.m. ET. The game will also air as the opening affair of an NBA on TNT doubleheader. Game 2 on TNT features the Rockets (-5.5) and Thunder. Houston will try to close that Round 1 series in six games.
Bucks Dominate Eastern Conference Futures Markets
The Bucks dominate the NBA futures betting market in the Eastern Conference. Milwaukee is -115 to win the East at William Hill, while the Boston Celtics, who took a 1-0 lead over Toronto Sunday, are +330 at BetMGM. The Heat are +950 at multiple books.
When it comes to winning the NBA 2020 championship, the Bucks trail the Lakers and Clippers at +300 in futures betting at BetMGM, while the Heat are +2500 at William Hill.
RELATED: Check out our NBA expert picks for Monday action and bookmark the page for our free NBA picks every day of the playoffs.
The total-points line for Antetokounmpo in Game 1 is 31.5. Depending on how Miami plans to defend the rest of the Bucks, whose offensive contributions continue to be a concern, the Freak could make that number in the third quarter. The Bucks are woeful when it comes to defending and making 3-pointers. When these teams met on Aug. 6 inside the bubble, Miami hit 45.7% of its 3-point attempts.
If Miami bettors look to cash on any of those long odds, they will have to rely on Jimmy Butler to get fully healthy and seize the initiative on offense. Butler stuffed the Pacers up and down the court but is nursing an ailing left shoulder strain. Butler’s Game 1 total is 20.5 points. That will be a slog since the Bucks are likely to put a full focus on containing Butler’s explosive game.
About the Author
Bill Speros is an award-winning journalist and editor whose 30-year career includes stops at USA Today Sports Network/Golfweek, Cox Media, ESPN, the Orlando Sentinel and Denver Post. He has also written for Bleacher Report, the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe's boston.com site. Bill has a strong track record of building, developing and retaining digital audiences. Bill attended Marquette University.