The No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks find themselves with their backs squarely against the wall against the No. 5 seed Miami Heat in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Friday at 6:40 p.m. ET.
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Rob Dauster breaks down the Friday NBA Playoff odds for Bucks-Heat and Lakers-Rockets, including moneyline, spread, over/under, and player props. BetRivers.com is proud to provide over 150 live betting options per game throughout the entirety of the 2020 NBA Playoffs.
Friday NBA Playoff Odds: MILWAUKEE BUCKS vs. MIAMI HEAT
- Game 3: 6:40 p.m. ET, TNT
- LINE: Milwaukee (-5)
- TOTAL: 223.5
- IMPLIED SCORE: Milwaukee 114.25, Miami 109.25
Before we dive into Game 3 between Milwaukee vs. Miami on Friday night, we first need to talk about the fact that the Heat, who are sitting up 2-0 in a series that is being played on a neutral court without any fans in attendance, are still -167 to advance.
That means Miami is getting 3/5 odds, which is to say that Milwaukee is priced in at a 37.5 percent chance to win this series. That number seems high to me, but it makes sense. Milwaukee, by the metrics, is the best team in the NBA.
If you were to say that Milwaukee had a 20 percent chance to win this series, their odds would skyrocket from (+135) to (+400). At 25 percent, the number is (+300). At 33 percent, the number is (+200).
There’s quite a bit of risk for a book exposing themselves to those numbers, which then means that there is quite a bit of value on the underdog with a 2-0 lead.
Anyway, on to the game itself and more on the Friday NBA Playoff Odds.
After watching Jimmy Butler completely take over in a win in Game 1, the Heat were able to survive blowing a double-digit first-half lead in Game 2 despite the fact that Butler mostly struggled.
The difference — to date — has been two-fold: On the one hand, Miami’s role players have been awesome. Goran Dragic went for 23 points on Wednesday despite the fact that Eric Bledsoe was back while Jae Crowder, Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro and Kelly Olynyk combined for 57 on 13-32 shooting from three. Meanwhile, the lines of Wesley Matthews, Marvin Williams, Pat Connaughton and Kyle Korver finished 5-20 from the floor and combined for 16 points. Donte DiVincenzo barely got off the bench.
But the other part of it is that Mike Budenholzer seemed to refuse to play his stars. Giannis and Khris Middleton both sat for long stretches of the fourth quarter, and Bud was heavily criticized for it. Middleton, specifically, was +18 in just 33 minutes. I would not be surprised to see them play more than 40 minutes each tonight. The Bucks play at the fastest pace in the NBA, and in a must-win game, I fully expect the best team in the NBA to be able to impose their will.
I expect there to be a lot of scoring.
Friday NBA Playoff Odds: LOS ANGELES LAKERS vs. HOUSTON ROCKETS
- Game 1: 9:10 p.m. ET (TNT)
- LINE: Lakers (-6.5)
- TOTAL: 225
- IMPLIED SCORE: Lakers 115.75, Houston 109.25
In theory, the logic here will be no different than the logic in last night’s Clippers-Nuggets game.
Houston is coming off of an emotional, draining, hard-fought seven-game series against former Rocket Chris Paul and James Harden-stopper Luguentz Dort. It featured technical fouls, shoving matches and at least three shots below the belt. It ended just 46 hours before tonight’s game tips off.
The reward for that one?
A date with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who have played just once since August 25th.
But here’s the thing: the Rockets went 2-1 against the Lakers this season, and in both of those wins, they went all-in with their small-ball lineup, the one where the likes of P.J. Tucker and Robert Covington get matched up with the two bigs the Lakers like to roll out. This is the matchup where the loss of players like Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo shows up, where Dion Waiters and J.R. Smith may be asked to actually, you know, play meaningful minutes.
I tend to lean towards the narrative here — that the Rockets will be gassed, that this is a let-down spot, that LeBron is the GOAT as long as it’s not the finals — but this is a really tough matchup.