Free NBA Picks: Bucks at Heat Odds
by Alan Matthews - 11/11/2013
Has any team had worse luck injury-wise this early NBA season than the Milwaukee Bucks? True, none of the players they have lost are superstars, but they are some of the best players on the team.
Let's start with small forward Carlos Delfino, an expected key guy off the bench. He hadn't played yet this season after injuring his foot in last season playoffs with Houston. It was thought he would debut soon but recently had a setback and posted on his personal website that the injury will need additional surgery and sideline him all year. With the swingman out, Gary Neal and Kris Middleton get more minutes. They are both downgrades.
The Bucks are incredibly thin right now as it is. The team is also currently without center Larry Sanders (sprained right thumb), forward Ersan Ilyasova (sore right ankle) and guard Luke Ridnour (back spasms). The Bucks gave Sanders a big extension this offseason, and a small-market team like Milwaukee can't afford to guess wrong on those. Not saying it did yet, but Sanders has been a disappointment -- I liked him as a possible rebounding champion this season and expected him to lead the NBA in blocks after he had the first 200-block season for Milwaukee since 1975-76. Sanders hasn't played since Nov. 2 because he hurt his thumb and then was involved in a bar fight, although he won't be charged. Sanders is averaging just 2.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per game. He might return Tuesday. Ilyasova also could return Tuesday. His numbers have been disappointing, too, averaging 9.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 22 minutes a game. The frontcourt was supposed to be this team's strength with those two, John Henson and Zaza Pachulia, but that hasn't been the case yet.
Milwaukee did get point guard Brandon Knight back in Saturday's loss to Dallas. Knight, acquired in the Brandon Jennings trade from Detroit this offseason (one of 11 new Bucks this season), has played just 17 minutes all season. He didn't start on Saturday but may Tuesday. Ridnour doesn't appear close to returning as he has yet to play this season.
Bucks at Heat Betting Story Lines
Milwaukee has alternated losses and wins in its first five games. The Bucks fell to the Mavericks 91-83 on Saturday, the third time the team has been held to 90 points or less already. It was Monta Ellis' return to Milwaukee, and he was booed pretty much every time he touched the ball. O.J. Mayo, the former Maverick, led the Bucks with 28 points. Milwaukee is 24th in the NBA in scoring (94.0) and 27th in rebounding with little form their big guys.
The Heat are likely to be pretty ornery in this one as they totally blew Saturday's home game against the Celtics. With Miami up 110-108 and 0.6 seconds left, Dwyane Wade missed the first of two free throws and then for some reason deliberately missed the second. Alas, it didn't even hit the rim, so the Celtics were able to call timeout and get an inbounds play on the Heat side of the court; obviously the thinking was that Boston would have to throw a three-quarters court Hail Mary if Wade hit the rim. Jeff Green was able to hit a three-pointer from the corner -- same spot where former Celtic Ray Allen stunned the Spurs in Game 6 of last season's Finals -- at the buzzer. Boston, a pretty bad team without Rajon Rondo, somehow shot nearly 52 percent from the field overall.
LeBron James played through back spasms and was two rebounds shy of a triple double with 25 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. It was Miami's second head-scratching loss already, having been stunned at Philadelphia in the second game of the season. The Heat have scored in triple digits in every game, rank sixth in scoring at 105.1 per game and No.1 in offensive efficiency. The defense hasn't been sharp, allowing 100.9 per game, and rebounding is an issue just like it has been the past few seasons. The Heat played without forward/center Udonis Haslem on Saturday because of back issues, but he's likely to return.
Bucks at Heat NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, the Heat opened as 12.5-point favorites with a total of 198. The Bucks are 3-2 ATS (2-0 on road) and 2-3 “over/under” (1-1 on road). Miami is 2-5 ATS (1-3 at home) and 5-2 over/under (2-2 at home). Milwaukee is 0-4 ATS in its past four games playing on two days of rest. The Heat are 2-10 ATS in their past 12 after scoring at least 100 points in their previous game. The under is 7-1-1 in Milwaukee's past nine road games against teams with a winning home record. The over is 4-1 in the Heat's past five after a loss. The Bucks are 1-5 ATS in the past six meetings. The under is 5-0-2 in the past seven.
Free NBA Picks: Bucks at Heat Betting Predictions
The Bucks have given the Heat a bit of trouble since LeBron joined the team, but Miami did win three of four matchups last season (one Bucks loss was in OT, with Milwaukee blowing a late seven-point lead in the fourth). It was the first season since 2006-07 that Milwaukee didn't win a game in Miami. The Bucks were swept easily in the first round of the playoffs by the Heat, with all four wins by double-digits. I'm going to have to give a caveat for this game. If Ilyasova and Sanders play, the Bucks can dominate in the paint, keep it close and cover. If not, I don't see how they have a chance. Like the over regardless.
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