The No. 3 seed Milwaukee Bucks survived a scare in Game 1 vs. the No. 6 seed Miami Heat, securing a 109-107 overtime win courtesy of Khris Middleton’s game-winning shot. Many felt this rematch of last season’s Eastern conference finals would be close, but Game 1 exceeded those expectations. The Bucks were already aware of Miami’s ability and the opening game only reinforced the type of series this will be. The Heat will be disappointed with the loss, but should also be encouraged by the performance given Jimmy Butler’s struggles from the floor in Game 1.
Below is a look at a number of predictions ahead of Monday night’s game for the Free $5k DraftKings Pools - Playoff Edition (MIL-MIA).
Which team will cover the spread? (Bucks -4.5, Heat +4.5)
The idea that either team will pull away from the other in this series seems far-fetched. Even in last season’s bubble, only two of the five games were decided by more than 10 points. The matchups in the regular season were not close, but the playoffs bring out a different level of intensity across the board. Miami at +4.5 is the better option in what should be another tightly contested game.
Total points scored? Over/Under 221.5
This number is a little tricky. Given how close we expect these games to be, the possibility of additional basketball always exists. The teams combined for 216 points in Game 1, but there was some sloppy offense on both sides. Butler likely won’t struggle like he did in Game 1, but it’s also hard to see Duncan Robinson repeating his hot shooting from deep. The over seems like a safer bet.
Which team will reach 30 points first? Heat or Bucks
This is another toss-up given how tight each game is expected to be. The Heat hit 30 points first in Game 1, but the Bucks were at 28 when Miami got to the mark. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the over/under on Milwaukee’s first quarter points is 29.5 while Miami’s is 27.5. The Bucks seem like the better choice here to hit 30 points first.
Which team will make more 3-pointers? Heat or Bucks
The Bucks attempted 31 triples in Game 1 while the Heat shot 50 3-pointers. By pure volume, Miami is the better bet to make more shots from behind the arc. Throw in efficient marksmen like Tyler Herro, Goran Dragic and Robinson and the Heat should be favored in this category.
Which combination of players will have more points and rebounds? Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo or Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton
Butler and Adebayo combined for 48 points and rebounds in Game 1 while Antetokounmpo and Middleton tallied 77. The “Greek Freak” is a triple-double threat every time he takes the floor and Middleton is a superior scorer to Adebayo. Take Milwaukee’s tandem in this prop.
Number of points, rebounds and assists for Giannis Antetokounmpo? Over/Under 47.5
Antetokounmpo put up 26 points, five assists and 18 rebounds in Game 1. His season averages are 28.1 points, 5.9 assists and 11.0 rebounds per game. I expect him to have a strong showing in Game 2, but the under might be the safer play here.
Number of assists Jrue Holiday? Over/Under 6.5
Holiday put up three assists in Game 1 and his season average is 6.1. Even though he is primarily a facilitator in Milwaukee’s offense, Antetokounmpo and Middleton have enough usage to eat into Holiday’s assist opportunities. At 6.5, the under is a better option.
Number of 3-pointers made by Duncan Robinson? Over/Under 3.5
Robinson took 3-pointers exclusively in Game 1. His only other points came from free throws. This guy is circling the perimeter, finding openings and letting it fly. He took 13 attempts in Game 1 and made seven. Even if we account for a slight regression, Robinson is shooting 40.8 percent from deep on the season. At 13 attempts, that’s 5.3 makes on average. Take the over here.
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