Heat vs. Bucks Betting Preview for Friday Night: If No Giannis, Back Miami

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Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks is defended by Haywood Highsmith of the Heat during game on February 04, 2023. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP

NBA Pick: Heat +1.5 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Heat +1.5 (-110)
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Picks Summary:

  • Heat +1.5 (-110)
  • Under 218 (-110)

Arguably the matchup of Friday night in the NBA is a potential Eastern Conference playoff preview and will also see Kevin Love make his Miami Heat debut as they visit the Milwaukee Bucks.

Which side of the 1-point spread at the top-rated sportsbooks has the best value for your NBA picks? We also have a total play. 

Remember, fans from the Sunshine State who want to wager on this game should check out our top-rated Florida betting sites.

Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks 

Friday, February 24, 2023 – 07:30 PM EST at Fiserv Forum 

Preview and Recent History

Another good night of NBA action Friday, topped by this potential Eastern Conference playoff preview when the Miami Heat visit the Milwaukee Bucks in the first game of an ESPN doubleheader – although there’s one MAJOR injury hanging over this game. More on that below. 

With Milwaukee currently second in the East and Miami seventh, it’s definitely possible they meet in the postseason as both are going to get there. If not a postseason matchup, this will be the last time they see each other until the 2023-24 campaign.

The Heat won the first two meetings at home in a back-to-back baseball-type series on Jan. 12 & 14, while Milwaukee won at home on Feb. 4. The home team has won nine straight in the regular-season series. 

The Heat have covered the spread at the top-rated books in four of the past five meetings. 

Love Will Find A Way 

Friday will be the Heat debut of five-time All-Star power forward Kevin Love after he was bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers and opted to join Miami – guys love to play in south Florida for many reasons -- over Philadelphia and a few others.  

Love is far from an All-Star player these days averaging 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds, but he brings exactly what the Heat need: a good backup to Bam Adebayo as well as rebounding and three-point shooting. Miami is dead last in three-point shooting percentage at 39.1. Love had fallen out of the rotation with the Cavs and has not played since Jan. 24, so he probably won’t see heavy minutes yet. When the Heat outrebounds their opponents, they are 19-6. 

Guard Tyler Herro, last season’s Sixth Man of the Year, is ready to go after missing the final two games before the break with a left knee contusion. We pretty much expected he would play after competing in the All-Star 3-Point Contest last Saturday, although Herro wasn’t good in it. Fellow guard Victor Oladipo missed the team’s final seven ahead of the break but also is good to go.  

Starting point guard Kyle Lowry has missed six games in a row and won’t return. Frankly, Lowry’s play has regressed to where Gabe Vincent is probably the better option at this point. The Heat are 7-4 in Vincent’s 11 starts.  

At 32-27, Miami sits seventh in the East, but I fully expect it to finish in the Top 6 and automatically qualify for the postseason barring injury to Jimmy Butler or Adebayo.

The team’s updated over-under win total is 45.5 and it is (-900) to make the playoffs (past the play-in tournament) with no at (+600). To compete in the play-in tournament, the Heat are (+145). 

Miami has won 20 games this year by five points or less, marking the second-most such victories during a single season in team history. This is the front end of a back-to-back with a game in Charlotte on Saturday. The Heat are 4-4 in the front end so far. Miami is 2-5 ATS in its past seven road games. 

Giannis Listed Doubtful 

Being honest, I’m flying a bit in the dark here on this game because as of this writing, I don’t know whether Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo (31.8 ppg, 12.2 rpg, 5.4 apg) will play. Almost certainly not as he’s considered doubtful with a sprained wrist suffered the game before the All-Star break.

Giannis had to withdraw from the Skills Competition because of it and played only about 20 seconds in the All-Star Game before coming out for good.  

Just no reason to rush him back even as the Bucks chase the Celtics for the East’s top seed. At 41-17, Milwaukee is a half-game back. Boston is a (-275) favorite to get it and the Bucks (+220). They are (-155) favorites for the No. 2 seed, which at least means avoiding Boston until the conference finals if both get there. I’m a bit surprised the top-rated sportsbooks are giving the Bucks an updated over-under win total of 56.5 since we don’t know how long Giannis may sit. 

Buck's Win Streak on the Line

Without the Freak, I have to think the team’s 12-game winning streak ends. It’s the sixth-longest in franchise history. Giannis, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday have all been available for each game of that run.

The Bucks have also won their last eight games at Fiserv Forum and have the best home record in the East at 24-5. When Milwaukee played back-to-back games in Miami earlier this year and lost both – Giannis was out for both.  

There is some good injury news here as Bobby Portis, a Sixth Man of the Year candidate averaging 14.4 points and 10.1 rebounds, will return after missing about a month and probably will start for Giannis. Recent trade acquisition Jae Crowder from Phoenix is expected to make his Bucks and season debut. He adds defense and three-point shooting. 

We have to lean under when subtracting all that Giannis can do offensively. Both teams are Top 10 in defensive rating. The under is 4-1 in the Bucks’ past five even with him. 

NBA Pick: Under 218 (-110) at Heritage Sports(visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Under 218 (-110)
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