NBA Playoffs: #1 Miami Heat vs #8 Milwaukee Bucks

2013 NBA Playoffs – Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
#1 Miami Heat vs #8 Milwaukee Bucks
Best of Seven Series format: 2-2-1-1-1
Series Price: (odds courtesy of Bookmaker) Heat -18000 / Bucks +6000
Game #1, Sunday, April 21, 2013, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
American Airlines Arena – Miami, Florida
Game #1 Opening Line: Miami -12
Current Line: Miami -13
Opening Total: 199
Current Total: 198 1/2
Opening Money Line: Heat -1800 / Bucks +1100
Current Money Line: Heat -2000 / Bucks +1200

Heat 76ers NBA Playoff Series Preview
The heat are heavy favorites to beat the Bucks in the Eastern Conference Quarters.

The Miami Heat begin their quest for a second straight NBA title as they take on the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. The Heat finished with the best record in the league at 66-16. Miami has gone 37-2 in the last 39 games including the second longest winning streak in NBA history at 27 games. Miami won 8 straight games to close out the season including 105-93 at home against the Magic Wednesday in the last game of the regular season.  This was despite resting their stars for a large portion of those games. It is amazing that the Heat really haven’t played a meaningful game in April as they clinched everything in March. 

The #8 Milwaukee Bucks finished 38-44 and finished 4 games ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors for the last spot in the East. Milwaukee has gone 3-7 in their last 10 games, but has also rested their starters because they were locked into the #8 seed. The Bucks did upset the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road Wednesday night 95-89 in the season finale for both teams. Take it with grain of salt as OKC didn’t play Kevin Durant, and the rest of the starters played very limited minutes.

Miami won 3 of the 4 meetings against Milwaukee in the regular season. The Heat won 113-106 in overtime in Miami November 21, 107-94 March 15 in Milwaukee, and 94-83 April 9 in Miami. The Bucks won 104-85 December 29 in Milwaukee. Milwaukee guard Brandon Jennings averaged 23.8 points per game against the Heat this season. He made headlines when he said the Bucks match up well against the Heat and predicted Milwaukee would win the series in six games.

Milwaukee is coached by interim coach Jim Boylan, who took over for Scott Skiles after Skiles was fired in mid-season. The Bucks are 37-45 ATS and the total is 39-41-2 this season. Milwaukee is being outscored 100-99 this season. The Bucks are shooting 43.5% from the field and 36% from 3 point range. The Bucks are #28 in field goal percentage. Milwaukee makes 73.6% of their free throws. The Bucks are #5 in rebounding at 44 per game but last in rebounds allowed at 46.1. Milwaukee opponents are shooting 45.4% from the field and 34.8% from 3 point range. The Bucks are #8 in 3 point defense. Milwaukee averages 22.9 assists, 8.4 steals, 6.7 blocks, and 13.6 turnovers per game.

Point guard Monta Ellis averages 19.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2.1 steals per game. Jennings averages 17.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 1.6 steals a game. He is probable with an ankle injury. Forward Ersan Ilyasova averages 13.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. He is probable with a wrist injury. Guard J.J. Redick was acquired in trade from the Orlando Magic. He averages 12.3 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists. Forward Mike Dunleavy averages 10.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists. Center Larry Sanders averages 9.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 2.8 blocks per game. He is probable with a back injury.

Miami is coached by Eric Spoelstra. The Heat are 46-36 ATS this season and the total is 42-39-1. Miami is outscoring teams 103-95 this season. The Heat are #5 in scoring and in points allowed. Miami is shooting 49.6% from the field and 39.6% from 3 point range. The Heat lead the league in field goal shooting and are #2 in 3 point shooting. Miami makes 75.4% of their free throws. The Heat are last in the league in rebounding at 38.6 per game, and fourth in rebounds allowed with 40.1. Miami opponents are shooting 44% from the field and 35% from 3 point range. Miami is 11th or better in both categories. The Heat average  23 assists, 8.7 steals, 5.4 blocks, and 13.3 turnovers per game.

Forward LeBron James is averaging 26.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. He is the prohibitive favorite to win his fourth MVP award. Guard Dwyane Wade averages 21.2 points, 5 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. Forward/center Chris Bosh averages 16.6 points, 6.8 rebounds,  1.7 assists, and 1.4 blocks per game. Guard Ray Allen averages 10.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists. Point guard Mario Chalmers averages 8.6 points, 2.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Forward Shane Battier averages 6.6 points and 2.3 rebounds. Norris Cole, Rashard Lewis,  Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, and Chris Andersen make up the rest of the rotation.

Milwaukee is 7-2 ATS in Sunday games, 19-41 against teams with winning records, 4-10-1 in conference quarterfinal games, 2-5 against teams with winning home records, 6-20 against Eastern Conference teams, 2-8 in road games, 2-11 against Southeast Division teams, 1-6 after a cover and 0-4 after a win. The Bucks have covered in 5 of the last 7 trips to Miami.

Miami is 9-0 ATS against teams with losing records, 6-0 in Sunday games, 4-0 after a straight up win of 10 points or more, 7-1 overall, and against Eastern Conference teams, 6-1 after a straight up win, 5-1 after a cover, 4-1 at home, in conference quarterfinal games, against teams with losing road records, and after scoring 100 points or more, and 9-3 on 3 or more days rest. The under is 11-5 in this series recently, including 8-2 in Miami.

Despite Brandon Jennings’ assertions, the only question about this series is if Milwaukee even wins one game. The Bucks have no one that can guard either James or Wade. Milwaukee is only in the playoffs because frankly, there has to be 8 teams from each conference. If Miami is properly motivated, they should sweep this series and win each game by double digits. They might nod off in game #3 or #4 in Milwaukee but not at home. Heat win the series in 5 games.

Our NBA handicappers are red hot as the playoffs are underway. We are releasing winners every day.

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