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Heat vs. Bucks Prediction: Bucks Looking to Avenge Playoff Loss

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published February 13, 2024
10 min read

The Miami Heat (28-25) will hit the road for a matchup with the team they eliminated in the first round of the playoffs a year ago, the Milwaukee Bucks (35-19), on Tuesday evening.

The Heat played the league-leading Boston Celtics close but fell by four points in their last game after winning four of their previous five. The Bucks blew out the Denver Nuggets 112-95 last night and won back-to-back games for the first time in the Doc Rivers era as they try to turn the corner on a difficult season.

Here, we will go over the betting odds and share our analysis and best pick for the Heat vs. Bucks matchup.

Heat vs Bucks Prediction

Heat vs. Bucks Betting Odds for Tuesday, Feb. 13

The Bucks are favored by 8.5 points following their commanding victory over the defending champions on Monday. While the win was significant, they’re only 3-8 (27.3%) against the spread when favored by at least 8.5 points.

Teams Spread Moneyline Total
Miami Heat +8.5 (-110) +260 Over 222.5 (-110)
Milwaukee Bucks -8.5 (-110) -350 Under 222.5 (-110)

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Remember in 2016 when the Cleveland Cavaliers started 33-10 and STILL fired coach David Blatt? That situation wasn’t too dissimilar to the one the Bucks found themselves in a couple of weeks ago.

Despite having a great record, Milwaukee’s performances were unconvincing. Their defense was a mess, the Damian Lillard-Giannis Antetokounmpo pairing wasn’t squeezing all of its juice, and the team seemed disconnected.

Rivers’ appointment was supposed to put an end to all of that, but that hasn’t happened just yet. Milwaukee is 3-5 and 11th in net rating (+1.7) in eight games with their new coach, though their defense allowed 3.2 fewer points per 100 possessions than it did compared to the season as a whole.

While Giannis Antetokounmpo continued his MVP-level play before and after Adrian Griffin was fired, Lillard only averaged 22.1 points and 6.4 assists on 33.3% three-point shooting since Rivers signed on.

While Lillard scores an extra 1.9 points per game at home, the Bucks also outscore opponents by a wider margin (+6.7 points per 100 possessions) than they do on the road (+0.3).

The Bucks are 2-0 against the Heat with wins of seven and eight points, the last of which came on Nov. 28 in South Beach (Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro did not play in that game). 

Despite conventional logic, the Bucks are 7-2 (5-4 against the spread) on the second night of back-to-backs. That said, they’re 9-11 ATS immediately after a cover and 6-16 ATS over their last 22 games.

Miami had its share of ups and downs already and is trying to find the consistency it hasn’t yet known this campaign. They’ll be without Butler, Terry Rozier, Josh Richardson, and potentially Duncan Robinson on Tuesday, which will make that much more difficult (though they’re one of the best teams at playing with injuries and absences).

One of the reasons the Heat’s offense regressed significantly from its early-season form is its fleeting three-point shooting. After being one of the best teams in the league from deep, they made just 33.5% of their attempts over the last 15 games (Milwaukee made 37.1%).

Luckily for them, their defense has been up for the challenge. The team allowed the fifth-fewest points per 100 possessions during that same span despite going 6-9 and posting a -4.0 net rating. 

Miami has also found great success taking its defense on the road and has the second-best road defensive rating, ahead of even the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves. 

All that said, it’s still an offensive league, and the Heat struggle to score. They were held under 100 points six times in their last 16 games (but averaged 110.5 points over their last six games). 

At 24-28-1 (46.2%), the Heat aren’t a great team against the spread—however, they covered in three straight and five of their last six and are 8-7 ATS (53.3%) as a road underdog. 

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Heat vs. Bucks Prediction and Betting Pick

The Heat are going to have to find offense without Butler and Rozier, which means Herro, Bam Adebayo, and others must step up. They struggled from three recently and didn’t draw a ton of free throws without Butler, which means points will be hard to come by.

At the same time, the Bucks have been one of, if not the least reliable teams above .500 in the association. They consistently disappoint (from a betting perspective) and aren’t even close to being out of the woods despite last night’s win.  

While the Bucks have no business losing this game, the Heat have the defense and intangibles to make it tough on the Bucks. The 8.5-point line also tied their largest perceived deficit of the season and gives them plenty of room to lose and still cover.

We like the Heat with the points. Until we see more consistency from the Bucks, we can’t count on them to consistently deliver, especially against one of the more fundamentally sound teams in the league that just played the Celtics to a four-point loss.  

How to Watch Heat vs. Bucks

  • When: Tuesday, Feb. 13, 7:00/8:00 p.m. CT/ET

  • Where: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI

  • TV: NBA League Pass

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AUTHOR

Grant Mitchell

480 Articles

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.

In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.

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