NBA Picks: Bucks vs. Heat Game 1

Steven Suarez

Saturday, April 20, 2013 1:19 AM GMT

The Heat begin their quest for a repeat on Sunday as they start their series with the Milwaukee Bucks. The NBA odds are steep for Game 1 – can Miami still cover the huge number?

Odds Overview

Those of you that jumped on the Heat at the opening line of 11.5 have to be thrilled now that the spread has been quickly bet up to 13. There's still time for the NBA odds to move even more.

The total has been installed at 199 and, unlike the spread, there hasn't been any movement on the number.

[gameodds]5/226778/43/us[/gameodds]

Miami Heat

Forget about that 66-16 overall record and the 27-game winning streak during the regular season. The real competition begins now.

The Heat were certainly very impressive throughout the season and, thanks to their dominance, were able to give some rest to key players down the stretch.

It didn't even matter that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh were given some nights off: the Heat still closed out the regular season winning eight straight games, with five of those coming by double figures.

During that eight-game winning streak, Miami went an extremely profitable 7-1 ATS mark. That gave them a 46-36-0 ATS overall record for the season.

Not only are the Heat stacked with three All-Star caliber players, they also have a seemingly perfect combination of complementary players. With an experienced crew, including the likes of Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Mike Miller, and Chris Andersen, Miami has all the pieces necessary to repeat as champions.

Milwaukee Bucks

Credit Milwaukee for getting into the playoffs, but they hardly set the world on fire with their performances to close out the regular season. 

A road win in their season finale over an Oklahoma City team resting their important pieces can't hide the fact they went 1-5 SU over their last six and 2-7 SU over their final nine. Included in there are a couple unforgivable losses to Minnesota (107-98) and Charlotte (95-85). 

The Bucks aren't short on talent out on the perimeter, that's for sure. They've got Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, and J.J. Redick, but have found it hard to have all three playing well at the same time.

Jennings has even come out and said that he expects Milwaukee to win the series in six. While he's right that there's no pressure on the Bucks, we find it difficult to believe they'll last longer than five games themselves.

Milwaukee ended the season having gone 2-8 ATS over their last 10 road games and are going to have to play lights out ball to avoid a beatdown in Game 1 in South Beach. 

Find out where we thing the value lies when it comes to placing your picks on the Heat/Bucks series price.

NBA Pick

The Heat won three of four regular season meetings, including a 94-83 win in South Beach just over 10 days ago. 

As for our our NBA picks for Game 1, we can't help but think the Heat are the right side, regardless of how confident the Bucks may be (so they say) coming into the series.

It sure would have been nice to get that 11.5 number for a Miami cover, but we still see the Heat taking charge from the opening tip regardless. We like them to come out with a sense of urgency at all times, knowing how important it can be to wrap up these types of series as soon as possible.

The playoffs are all about the cream rising to the crop, and with a roster loaded to the brim with experience and talent, LeBron and company should take care of business here.

NBA Pick: Miami Heat -13