Bucks vs. Heat NBA Best Bets for December 8

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Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP

The Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat have formed a rivalry after meeting in the playoffs the last two seasons. The Heat shellacked the Bucks in their first meeting this season. The Bucks got the win in the second meeting. Who will come out on top when these teams meet for the third time? When looking at NBA odds, which team is the right NBA pick?

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat

Wednesday, December 8, 2021 – 7:30 PM EST at FTX Arena

Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee has struggled with injuries early in the season but they recently have come together to win four of their last five games. Their most recent victory was an 8 point win at home over the Cavaliers. The previous game was a win over the Miami Heat in Milwaukee. In October, in the first meeting of Milwaukee and Miami, the Heat ran roughshod over the Bucks. The Bucks got revenge on Saturday Night with a 22-point win when they were the hosts. Will home court advantage stand up or can Milwaukee get a road victory here.

The Bucks have struggled with injuries but when their three stars are together they have been dominant. When all three of them play, they haven't lost and they have a net rating of +20.4 points per 100 possessions. Khris Middleton is back from Covid. Jrue Holiday has recovered from his ankle injury. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been missing time with a sore calf and the calf is not 100%. I think Giannis will play in their matchup, however, given the high stakes involved.

The Bucks have been hurt by the loss of Brook Lopez who recently had to undergo back surgery and is probably out for the rest of the season. Bobby Portis has filled in admirably in his absence, but the loss of Lopez takes away the Bucks' ability to go big and dominate on the glass. Bobby Portis is a fan favorite in Milwaukee, but the Bucks definitely will miss Lopez's size and ability to space the floor.

Miami Heat

The Miami Heat were looking to be a top team in the East before injuries beset them. Miami recently lost Bam Adebayo with a thumb injury and he will not be back till January. Jimmy Butler will be out of this game with a back injury. With the Heat losing their two top players, they are not the juggernaut that demolished the Bucks in their first matchup.

For this game, Miami will be more reliant on the perimeter-based offense of Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson. Lowry had fit into the Heat right away because his hard-nosed playing style and dogged defensive intensity match the culture the Heat have built. Lowry is averaging 13 points a game, but I expect that number to go up significantly during the time the stars are out for the Heat.

Tyler Herro should also see a bump in scoring. He was already second in the team in scoring at 21.4 points per game. Tyler Herro is playing much better after experiencing a sophomore slump last year and will be featured in the Heat's offense. Herro's return to form has been a welcome turn of events for the Miami Heat.

Duncan Robinson has been struggling this season. He needs to take advantage of this increased usage to get his shot back on track. Robinson averaged close to 41% from behind the three-point line last season and has fallen to 33% this year. If Robinson can find the form that he had last year, he gives the Heat another deadly option to space the floor with his three-point shooting.

Key Matchup

PJ Tucker vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo

Although stopping Antetokounmpo is a job with which the whole team needs to be involved, PJ Tucker is probably the most suited of the Heat's current defenders to take on the task. The Heat have used a "no middle" defense on Giannis to some success in the past.

The "no middle" offense basically dictates that all players funnel Giannis to the outside and do not allow him into the paint. He has figured that out to a certain degree and is able to attack it better. Regardless, that might be the best option without Bam Adebayo's athleticism to try and keep up with “The Greek Freak”.

If Tucker is able to slow Giannis down and make the team or rely on Middleton and Holiday, they could win a shootout with the Bucks. If Giannis is able to consistently get to the rim and get high-percentage shots the Bucks will most likely win and win by a wide margin.

Best Bet

I like the Bucks to take advantage of a weakened Miami Heat roster and get the win. “Superstar Subtraction” is not in effect in this game because of the Heat's inability to match up with Giannis. I think the Bucks get it done in Miami. Lay the points. For your best bets, take the Bucks.

NBA Pick: Milwaukee Bucks -6.5 (-110) with Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Milwaukee Bucks -6.5 (-110)
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