NBA Betting: Milwaukee Bucks at Miami Heat

NBA Betting:  Milwaukee Bucks at Miami Heat

The Miami Heat begin their defense of the NBA title on Sunday night as they host the Milwaukee Bucks at American Airlines Arena in Miami. On paper this series looks like a complete mismatch–Miami finished with the best record in the league at 66-16 while the Bucks are the only playoff team in either conference to finish with a sub .500 winning percentage. Of course the pointspread is the great equalizer in otherwise lopsided matchups and that’s where we’ll focus our analysis.

It’s very easy to assume that the way to play this game is to lay the points with Miami. No matter how you slice this game statistically the Heat are the superior team. Miami is a whopping -20000 favorite to win this series. Some sports books have prop bets where you can bet that the Heat will win this opening round series in a four game sweep–and you still have to lay a price to take Miami. But the pointspread makes this a tricky handicap. A good place to start any pointspread evaluation in the playoffs is to look at how the same matchup was priced in the regular season. We’ll forget about the April game between the teams at Miami since the Heat played without Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade. Instead we’ll go back to November when the Bucks covered at Miami as +9.5 underdogs. That’s significant since they’re +13.5 underdogs today.

So how to explain the extra three point ‘shade’ toward Miami? There are definitely some logical explanations–Miami is obviously a much better team now than they were at the start of the season and you can make a case that the higher pointspread reflects that. Of course you can just as easily make the argument that the *public perception* of the Heat is so much more favorable now that the pointspread inflation is reflective of this instead of any intrinsic improvement. There’s a number of reasons that the Heat aren’t a particularly attractive pointspread play here–not the least of which being the Bucks are (correctly perhaps) perceived as an ‘easy out’ and Miami knows they have ‘bigger fish to fry’. Miami should win this game and win this series with ease, but we’d rather have this huge pointspread working for us instead of working against us.