NBA Predictions and Best Bets: Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks Picks

NBA expert Adam Taylor is here with his prediction and picks for the 2021 NBA season opener for the Miami Heat as they take on the Milwaukee Bucks. He gives his prediction for that matchup and more across tonight's NBA action.
Adam Taylor
Thu, October 21, 6:58 AM EDT

NBA Predictions and Best Bets: Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks Picks

Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks Prediction

When: Thursday, October 21, 8:00 p.m ET

Where to Watch: NBA League Pass

Spread: Bucks -2.5

Total: 223.5

Click Here For Heat vs. Bucks Odds

Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Miami looks to avenge their playoff loss to the Milwaukee Bucks

The Miami Heat will battle against the Milwaukee Bucks later this evening in a repeat of the Eastern Conference playoffs first-round match-up. The last time these two teams met, the Bucks made light work of Erik Spoelstra's men, dispatching them in a four-game sweep.

Miami's feelings were obviously hurt by their mauling at the hands of Giannis Antetokounmpo and co, as the team went big during this summer's free-agency period. The Miami Heat acquired All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry while also tying down some of their key contributors to long-term extensions, as their front office showed their faith in the Heat's ability to contend for a championship.

Throughout the preseason, the Heat looked like a team ready to take a step up in production, both offensively and defensively. Tyler Herro has shown flashes of growth within his game and had multiple head-turning performances during the Heat's march towards a 5-1 preseason record.

On the other hand, Milwaukee is coming off the back of a tantalizing victory against a fellow Eastern Conference juggernaut in the Brooklyn Nets. In addition, Giannis' jump shot looks totally revamped, which makes him an even more imposing figure for defenses to contend with, while Khris Middleton (20 points, 1-of-4 from deep) will have better shooting nights, and George Hill (1 point in 23 minutes) will undoubtedly improve as the games go on.

PJ Tucker will be facing off against his old team in this contest, having left the Bucks for the Heat during the summer, swapping one contender for another, despite only winning a championship with the Bucks a few months ago. His replacement, Semi Ojeleye, is an inconsistent shooting threat but will shore up the Bucks' second unit perimeter defense.

As these titans match up tonight, we're sure to be treated to a closely fought affair. The Bucks have a slight advantage in that they've already played a regular-season game against a stern opponent and notched a victory to boot. In contrast, the Heat haven't played since their win over the Boston Celtics on October 15th. Perhaps you could spin this the other way and say that the Heat will be more rested and have an edge in that manner, but rhythm is everything in the NBA, and the Bucks are already a step ahead in finding theirs.

When looking at last season as a whole, the Heat fell to the Bucks with a 6-1 record, including the playoffs, as the Bucks won their season series 2-1 against a Miami team who struggled with injuries and form. Kyle Lowry is undoubtedly a critical addition to the Heat roster and will add both a scoring punch and defensive presence, but opening their season against the Bucks feels like too much, too soon.

Milwaukee won five of their games against the Heat by double digits last season and will be looking to continue that tradition tonight.

Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks Pick

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors Prediction

When: 10:00 p.m. ET

Where to Watch: TNT

Clippers vs. Warriors Odds

Warriors go to battle in LA (again), this time against the Clippers.

The Golden State Warriors are fresh off their opening night victory against the Los Angeles Lakers, where Steph Curry dropped a triple-double in points, assists, and rebounds. Now, they face a different LA-based challenge, in Paul George and the Clippers.

Interestingly, Curry had an off-shooting night, going just 2-for-8 from deep. Curry having another subpar shooting performance isn't something we should expect to happen again tonight - especially since the Clippers lost their best perimeter defender in Patrick Beverley over the summer and will be without one of their superstars in Kawhi Leonard as he continues to rehab from a torn ACL.

Sure, the Warriors are still without Klay Thompson, but as they approach 900 days without the second splash brother, it's fair to say they've already adapted to life without their additional sharpshooter. Likewise, the Clippers are still learning how to swim without Leonard and will be placing a heavy scoring burden on George as they try to navigate one of the peskiest defenses in the NBA in their season opener.

Eric Bledsoe's addition to the Clippers gives them a bulldog who can create offense off the dribble and will test the Warriors' ability to guard kick-outs and protect the rim. At the same time, Nicolas Batum has been a revelation since joining the franchise last season. We can also expect to see some more Terrance Mann after he backed up his playoff performances with a solid preseason, as the Clippers stuttered to a 1-3 record.

The Warriors' pace of play, scoring ability, and defensive IQ seem to place them as slight favorites heading into tonight's game, couple that with the Clippers still adjusting to their new rotations and bedding in a few new faces, Warriors begin to look like the favorable option.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors Pick

More NBA games

Atlanta Hawks vs. Dallas Mavericks

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

Hawks vs. Mavericks Odds

Trae Young vs. Luka Doncic, oh boy, this one will be a doozy! The Hawks will be feeling confident following their playoff heroics, and with another off-season of development for De'Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish, they will feel good about their defense on the wings. Of course, whenever you're facing Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, there's no room for complacency, and the Hawks will need to stay focused on both sides of the floor if they want to get the W.

Clint Capela is arguably the best rim-runner in the NBA, and when coupled with Young's passing and scoring gravity, the duo becomes a fearsome pick-and-roll threat. At the same time, Kevin Huerter, John Collins, and Bogdan Bogdanovic will ensure the Hawks have the spacing to create the necessary driving lanes. The Hawks project to have too much firepower for the Mavericks defense to handle and should be expecting to edge out Doncic and co. in tonight's game.

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