Game 1 Predictions & Odds: Heat vs. Bucks

  • August 30, 2020
  • By Michael Crosson

Betting Resources

  • Matchup: Eastern Conference Game 1
  • Expert Picks: Vegas Insiders
  • Venue: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
  • Location: Orlando, Florida
  • Date: Monday, Aug. 31, 2020
  • Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: TNT
  • Bet: BetMGM | BetRivers | FanDuel | PointsBet | All

The Heat went 2-1 both straight up and against the spread in three regular season matchups against the Bucks. (AP)

Eastern Conference Semifinal Schedule

All games to be played on one day of rest

  • Game 1 - Monday, Aug. 31
  • Game 2 - Wednesday, Sept. 2
  • Game 3 - Friday, Sept. 4
  • Game 4 - Sunday, Sept. 6
  • Game 5 - Tuesday, Sept. 8
  • Game 6 - Thursday, Sept. 10
  • Game 7 - Saturday, Sept. 12

The other side of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals will tip off the opening game of its series between the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks and the fifth-seeded Miami Heat in Disney’s Wide World of Sports on Monday night. Miami looked to be in peak-form in its first round series with the Indiana Pacers, as Jimmy Butler and company completed a four-game sweep of the unit sitting directly above them in the standings in emphatic fashion.

On the other hand, the Bucks got off to a 3-6 start in the bubble and appeared to have totally lost their way offensively, but were able to bounce back with four straight victories over the Magic, holding them to an average of 103.25 points, finally beginning to look like the top-rated defensive team in the league we are accustomed to seeing.

Both of these teams come into this series boasting tons of pride and energy. I expect to see an emotional, action-packed battle between Eastern Conference foes who know each other well, contending for a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Betting Odds - Heat vs. Bucks

Line Movements

Miami may have entered its first round series against Indiana as a favorite despite being the lower seed, but that is not the case against the Giannis Antetokounmpo and company. Milwaukee enters Game 1 as a five and a half-point favorite against the fifth seeded Heat, which is a similar line to what we see for a regular season Milwaukee vs Toronto game.

The ‘over-under’ for this contest could be a tricky one, set at OU 223, as we have the top-scoring team in the NBA in the Bucks, squaring off against a Miami unit that stopped the red-hot Pacers cold in their tracks last round, holding Victor Oladipo and company to under 101 points per game over four contests. Milwaukee dropped its Game 1 matchup to the Magic 122-110 in the opening round of the playoffs. The Heat currently sit as +200 underdogs on the money line to be the second straight lower seed to knock off the Bucks in a series opener.

Heat vs. Bucks
How to Handicap Game 1

(SU-Straight Up, ATS - Against the Spread, OU - Over-Under)

Heat Betting Outlook

Inside the Stats

  • Bubble: 7-5 SU, 7-5 ATS, 5-7 O/U
  • Playoffs: 4-0 SU, 4-0 ATS, 1-3 O/U

Miami is right where it wants to be right now in all aspects of the game (health, defense, offense, etc.), following its four-game sweep of the Pacers, but it still might not be enough to steal a few games against a Milwaukee team that is absolutely loaded with talent on both sides of the ball.


The Heat are capable of completely locking down explosive teams like they did to the Bucks earlier in the year when they held them to just 87 points, but judging by Milwaukee’s scoring rate and energy level in its last four games, Miami will likely need a more offensive approach to keep up with the firepower of Giannis and company in this series.

Bam Adebayo will draw the matchup of the recently crowned 2020 Defensive Player of the Year. Look for Butler to have a big night on the scoreboard, regardless of the outcome, as Bam will likely struggle to get things going early in Game 1.

Bucks Betting Outlook

Inside the Stats

  • Bubble: 7-6 SU, 6-6-1 ATS, 7-5-1 O/U
  • Playoffs: 4-1 SU, 3-1-1 ATS, 2-2-1 O/U

People were quick to jump the gun on slamming Milwaukee’s “panic button,” as Mike Budenholzer’s team came into Orlando looking extremely rusty, posting a record of 3-5 in the re-seeding games, then dropping its playoff opener with the Magic. But obviously there was no need to worry, as the Bucks bounced back in dominant fashion, winning and covering in four straight contests, shooting 48% from the field the rest of the way to close out their first series against Orlando.

Milwaukee is the team to beat in the Eastern Conference still, and I expect that to become gradually more apparent throughout the course of this series as they pave their way to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Heat vs. Bucks Head-to-Head

2019-20 Regular Season

  • Aug. 6, 2020: Milwaukee (-9.5) 130 vs. Miami 116, Over 223.5
  • Mar. 2, 2020: Miami (+5) 105 vs. Milwaukee 89, Under 227.5
  • Oct. 26, 2019: Miami (+11.5) 131 vs. Milwaukee 126, Over 222.5

The top-seeded Bucks squared off with Miami twice this season prior to the six-month NBA shutdown, and Erik Spoelstra’s team prevailed in both contests as his guys were able to hold the best offensive team in the NBA to an average of 105 points across their first two matchups.

Butler sat out the third regular season game between these teams, which inevitably resulted in a 130-116 Bucks victory in their one matchup inside the bubble so far, giving Miami the 2-1 SU and ATS edge over Milwaukee this year. The ‘over’ has cashed in two out of these teams three matchups so far this season. It will be interesting to see how the increase in intensity during playoffs will affect the total scoring outputs in this series.

Key Injuries


  • PG Gabe Vincent: Shoulder - Game Time Decision
  • PF Chris Silva: Pelvis - Out

The only players listed on the injury report heading into Game 1 are Miami’s Gabe Vincent and Chris Silva, whose statuses should not have a dramatic effect on the outcome of this contest.

Game 1 Best Bet Picks

Milwaukee -5.5 is a line we are used to seeing when the Bucks match up against teams like the Raptors and Celtics, and I am not with the school of thought that believes Miami deserves to be considered in the same tier as the teams previously mentioned. Give me Milwaukee -5.5 here as I expect the Bucks to go out of their way to make a statement in Game 1 of this series, after being embarrassed in the opener against the Magic.

Score Prediction: Bucks 124, Heat 108