The Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat will meet in the 2023 NBA playoffs in the first round as the 1-8 pairing in the Eastern Conference. This is the third meeting in the last four postseasons between these teams, and there’s a nice rivalry brewing here. The Heat eliminated the Bucks in the Orlando bubble, and Milwaukee retuned the favor the following season with a series sweet.
Here’s a look at how the teams matched up this season, along with odds to win the series courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Bucks vs. Heat predictions
Odds to win series: Bucks -1000, Heat +650
Regular season record: Bucks 58-24, Heat 44-38
Head-to-head record: Tied 2-2
Even though the Bucks are heavily favored, the regular season series was split. The Heat have been able to match up well against Milwaukee, largely due to a veteran core led by Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry. Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo will need to step up in this series for Miami.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton headline Milwaukee’s championship rotation. Middleton’s knee has been bothering him entering this series, but he’s expected to suit up. Grayson Allen and Pat Connaughton were also dealing with injuries heading into this series, but the Bucks can survive without them for a few games. Milwaukee has had trouble with Miami before but the odds suggest a quick series.
Pick: Bucks in 5 games
The talent gap isn’t as significant for a 1-8 matchup, but Milwaukee’s consistency is much more bankable. The Heat have no answer for Antetokounmpo, who has emerged as one of the best if not the best player in the league. Even if Butler, Herro and Adebayo have strong series, it’s hard to see Miami push the Bucks past five games. Look for Milwaukee to close things out on its home floor for a relatively painless opening series in the 2023 postseason.