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Miami Heat at Milwaukee Bucks Betting Preview

A pair of Eastern Conference playoff hopefuls take the floor Friday night in Wisconsin when the Miami Heat (32-27, 13-17 away) travel to battle the Milwaukee Bucks (41-17, 24-5 home). Miami won the first two matchups against the Bucks, but Milwaukee bounced back with a 123-115 home victory earlier this month.

Friday’s contest tips off at 7:30 p.m. EST inside the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Bucks are a two-point favorite, and the over/under total is 219 points.

What to Know – Miami Heat

Miami enters the second half of the season after finishing the first half on a two-game losing skid before the All-Star Break. The Heat sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind the New York Knicks for the sixth spot.

On offense, Miami is last in the league in scoring, averaging 108.3 points per game. As a team, the Heat shoot 45.2% from the field and 33.4% from the 3-point line. Miami’s defense is second in the NBA, limiting opponents to 108.3 ppg, 47.7% shooting from the floor, and 36.7% from beyond the arc.

The trio of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Tyler Herro handle nearly 60% of the scoring for the team. Butler leads the group, averaging 21.7 ppg and hitting 50.7% of his shots from the floor. Adebayo handles the work inside, scoring 21.6 ppg and shooting 54.4% from the field.

This season the Heat are 21-35-3 against the spread and 13-16-1 ATS on the road. Over the last seven games, Miami is just 1-6 ATS.

What to Know – Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks closed out the first half winning their last 12 games, and look to keep that streak going in the second half of play. Milwaukee sits second in the Eastern Conference, one-game back of the leading Celtics, and owns the best home record in the NBA.

Milwaukee’s offense ranks in the middle of the pack in the league averaging 114.8 ppg thanks to 46.3% shooting from the floor and 35.9% from three. Defensively, the Bucks are sixth in the NBA, surrendering 111.6 ppg and hold opponents to 45.3% shooting from the field and 34.6% shooting from deep.

The Bucks will most like be without their leading scorer for Friday night’s matchup. Giannis Antetokounmpo is third in the league averaging 31.8 ppg but is expected to be sidelined for the contest with a wrist injury suffered before the pause in play. Milwaukee will lean on Jrue Holiday (19.4 ppg), Brook Lopez (14.4 ppg), and Bobby Portis (14.4 ppg) to pick up the slack.

Milwaukee owns a 32-23-3 record ATS this year with a home mark of 18-11 ATS. The Bucks closed out the first half of the season with a 5-1 record ATS.

The Pick is In

The absence of Giannis is a big blow to the Bucks offense, and even though the Heat won’t light it up from the floor it makes the game a lot more interesting. Miami needs the wins, and Friday is a perfect spot for the Heat to steal one while one of the best players in the league is out.

The Pick: Miami Heat +2

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