Videos by OutKick
It’s been all Overs thus far in the NBA 2023 Eastern Conference first-round playoff series between 1-seed Milwaukee Bucks (1-2) and 8-seed Miami Heat (2-1) have been shootouts. But, the Bucks-Heat will zig-zag to the UNDER 219 (-110) for Game 4.
Miami clubbed a Giannis Antetokounmpo-less Milwaukee 121-99 in Game 3 and both teams have been scorching-hot from deep in this series. Bucks-Heat are 3-0 Over/Under (O/U) thus far with a +24.7 O/U margin.
The Heat are 50.0% from 3 in this series (47-of-94) and the Bucks are 38.3% (51-of-133). Miami has the best effective field goal shooting (eFG%) in these playoffs and Milwaukee is third.
However, both teams are dealing with injuries to key players, there’s sketchy line movement in the Bucks-Heat betting market, and we have an Under-friendly officiating crew.
Bucks at Heat Odds, Game 4 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
- Tip-off: 7:30 p.m. ET.
- Venue: Kaseya Center in Miami.
For the record, if I were to pick a side in Game 4, I’d take the points with the Heat. What’s keeping me betting Miami is the injury status of Jimmy Butler who is “questionable” to play Game 4.
Playoff Jimmy has been by far the best player in this series. Butler is averaging a series-best 30 points per game (PPG) with the highest usage rate. Granted, Giannis has been out with injury for all but 11 minutes.
Milwaukee announced Monday morning that Giannis would suit up for Game 4 whereas Butler’s status is up in the air. If Butler plays Monday then the value is on Miami’s spread.
The Heat have the better coach and have beaten the Bucks in five consecutive home games since last season. Miami has a +19.0 margin of victory and a +18.1 spread differential in those games.
UNDER 219 (-110)
As basic as this sounds, the Bucks-Heat 3-point shooting is unsustainable. Especially, from Miami who shot just 34.4% from behind the arc during the regular season, ranked 27th.
Butler is 6-of-9 from 3-point land, SG Duncan Robinson is 10-of-13 and PG Gabe Vincent is 8-of-15. Also, the Heat have the lowest wide-open 3-point-attempt rate (3PAr) in this postseason.
Furthermore, who is going to create looks for Miami if Butler is out or compromised with injury? Remember, Tyler Herro broke his hand in Game 1 and is out for the foreseeable future.
According to CleaningTheGlass.com, the Heat’s eFG% in non-garbage time improves by 3.7% when Herro is on the floor, which grades in the 92nd-percentile for NBA wings.
Miami was 9th in defensive rating during the regular season and Erik Spoelstra is one of the best defensive masterminds in the NBA. The Heat were fourth in defensive wide-open 3PAr and second in paint PPG allowed.
This Bucks-Heat series has been fast paced so far but I could see Miami slowing down the tempo in Game 4 due to being undermanned. The Heat played at the second-slowest pace during the regular season.
Game 4 opened with a 220-point total and is down to 219 despite nearly three-fourths of the action at DraftKings being on the Over. This total got as low as 216 before Giannis was made available Monday.
All four of the refs assigned to Bucks-Heat Game 4 have officiated more UNDERS than Overs. They have a combined 120-143 O/U record, which is 54.4% to the UNDER.
Milwaukee was second in defensive free-throw rate (FTr) during the regular season and Miami was 7th, per CTG. The Bucks were 28th offensively and the Heat were 8th but Miami’s offensive FTr drops when Butler is off the floor.
Between the officiating, the Heat slowing it down due to injuries, shooting regression, and both teams having elite defenses …
BET: UNDER 219 (-110) in Game 4 at DraftKings
- Betting strategy: I’d be 1 unit (1 unit = $110) on this Under and a quarter-unit on the player prop below.
PS Player Prop: Heat SG Max Strus points prop (12.5)
- OVER 12.5 POINTS: (-125)
- Under 12.5 points: (-105)
Someone has to score points for Miami, right? Herro is definitely out for Game 4 and who knows about Butler. He didn’t play in the fourth quarter of Game 3 after injuring his butt and missed games in last year’s playoffs.
Strus is averaging 31 minutes per game in this series and the Heat have upped his usage without Herro. For this series, Strus has a 68.8% true shooting rate (.529/.417/1.000) and the best offensive rating in Miami’s starting 5.
Strus has a much better offensive rating (114-107) and true shooting rate (57.6-53.9%) at home. Also, Strus can save himself for offense since he hasn’t defended Bucks SF Khris Middleton or PG Jrue Holiday in this series.
BET: Heat SG Max Strus OVER 12.5 points (-125)
Check out Geoff’s basketball betting show on the OutKick Bets Podcast feed for the audio versions of the handicaps.
Listen to the ‘OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark’ podcast HERE.
First-time DraftKings users can get up to a $1,000 deposit bonus and receive a 20% first deposit match up to $1,000 when they sign up. New users can lock in this offer NOW by clicking this link.