The Miami Heat were unable to close out the Milwaukee Bucks with a sweep on Sunday. With that, we’re gifted a Game 5 with Giannis Antetokounmpo’s status up in the air. The Greek Freak left Game 4 in the second quarter due to an ankle injury and is dealing with a sprain. He’s questionable to play, while we also have a few Heat injuries to monitor. Here are some lines we can monitor and pounce on depending on which way the injury news goes.
Update: Giannis has been ruled out, per Shams Charania. Herro and Crowder are both expected to play.
Khris Middleton OVER 25.5 points (-125)
So this Middleton line is built-in with the potential for Giannis to be out. Middleton is only averaging 20 points per game in 9 postseason games. After struggling in the first round, Middleton has actually hit the over on this number twice against Miami.
Even if Giannis plays, the Bucks don’t extend the series without Middleton carrying the offense. Antetokounmpo likely won’t be 100% and I think Middleton got his swag back a bit in Game 4. We also have to consider Jae Crowder may miss tonight’s game due to an ankle injury of his own. If that’s the case, upgrade Middleton’s matchup slightly. Jimmy Butler could shadow him but that didn’t stop Middleton in Game 4.
My lean is on the OVER but I don’t think it’s a bad idea to wait and see on these injuries. I expect pushback from the Bucks tonight, and again, if Milwaukee wants to stay alive Middleton has to be aggressive on offense and play more than 35 minutes.
Duncan Robinson OVER 3.5 3-pointers (-122)
So we know that both Crowder and Tyler Herro are questionable. If one or both are ruled out, Robinson is in a very good spot to hit this over. He went 6-of-12 from 3-point range in Game 4, his best performance in the series. This came in a game in which Goran Dragic shot 1-of-9 from downtown. Injuries aside, if the Heat are 100% healthy, that shouldn’t hurt Robinson’s chances of hitting this number that much. Miami’s bread-and-butter is pick-n-roll with Butler-Bam Adebayo while spacing the floor for kick outs to shooters.
Again, the play is to wait and see what happens with Herro and Crowder. My feeling is Erik Spoelstra may mix up his rotation a bit with Robinson seeing time down the stretch as opposed to Dragic. Butler handles the ball anyway and Dragic off the ball is a waste of space. In a perfect world for this bet, Giannis is out and the Bucks have no one to patrol the paint, making it easy for Miami to get it down low and kick the ball out to Robinson.
Jimmy Butler OVER 33.5 total points + rebounds + assists (-120)
So there are a few things to like here. First off, the injuries. If Crowder and/or Herro are out, this number seems like a lock for Butler. His usage would go up, his shot attempts would go up, and I don’t think the Bucks would get to cheat much on him. Butler is already going to play 40+ minutes most likely, so again, injuries just up the usage.
Second, even if Crowder and Herro are in, that’s fine, more floor spacing and less double teams on Butler. The most important thing to consider is Jimmy’s cutthroat style. It’s an elimination game coming off a bad OT loss to a team missing the MVP. Butler wasn’t happy after the game and generally he plays better pissed off.
Jimmy is 50% on hitting the over on this number in the playoffs. If we look at his box score, it’s sort of erratic but every other game he seems to show up more. In Game 4, he wasn’t all there with just 17 points, 5 boards and 2 assists. He also only played 39 minutes in an OT game. I’m looking for Butler to bounce back with around 25-30 points tonight, so that almost gets us to this over alone. Wait on the injury news, but be ready to strike once it drops.
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