The Miami Heat drew perhaps the toughest opening game assignment in the entire league as the NBA matched them with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Milwaukee is only the defending 2021 NBA champions and is led by Finals MVP and two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo who has the third-best odds to win the 2022 NBA MVP award. The Bucks also have a defense that is anchored by three players in the Top 15 of the Defensive Player of the Year odds boards in Antetokounmpo (+750), Jrue Holiday (+1800), and Brook Lopez (+6600). Milwaukee also has a late-game closer in All-Star Khris Middleton who is listed at +6600 to win MVP honors.
But the Heat are not to be outdone. Jimmy Butler is also listed at +6600 in the MVP odds board while Bam Adebayo is at +10000 and the newly acquired Kyle Lowry a longshot at +25000 in the same list. Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson are on the Most Improved Player board at +6600 and +7500, respectively.
The Heat and the Bucks have established a rivalry in the NBA. These teams took turns in eliminating the other in the last two postseason. The Heat were +300 underdogs when they upset the Bucks in round 2 of the Orlando bubble playoffs. Miami went on to represent the Eastern Conference in the 2020 NBA Finals. This past season, the Bucks opened as -275 betting favorites and swept the Heat in four games on their way to the NBA title.
Adding fuel to the rivalry is the transfer of Milwaukee key reserve P.J. Tucker to Miami during the recent free agency. It can be recalled that Tucker signed a two-year $15M deal to play for the Heat. Tucker’s defense and leadership were a big part of Milwaukee’s playoff success and not only did he leave the Bucks, but he also left them for a chief rival in the East.
Milwaukee’s Twitter account trolled the Heat after the sweep, posting “This ain’t the bubble”, referring to the Orlando set-up where the Heat found plenty of success. 2021 was the year for Milwaukee as they won their first NBA title in 51 years. However, with Miami’s upgrades this past offseason, they could get back in the title mix this season.
Miami’s Odds Took a Major Leap With Lowry Trade
Miami’s odds floated in the +3000 to +3500 range, depending on which of the best NBA sites you use, when the 2022 NBA Championship odds first opened. But after trading for Lowry, their odds took a major leap and shortened to +2500 to +2200. The Heat are currently priced at +2200 in the latest BetOnline App odds, tied with the Dallas Mavericks for the 8th best odds to win the championship.
The Heat is also 4th in the latest Eastern Conference odds boards at +1100. They are also the odds on favorite to win the Southeast Division at +190. The Heat’s win total is also set at 48.5 which means they are favorites to win 8.5 more games than the previous campaign. Considering only 10 playing games were added to last season’s schedule, the Heat are expected to be better this season.
But Miami’s road to the title will have to go through their rivals. The Bucks have the third-best odds to win the title at +900 and they are 2nd in the East odds boards at +425. Miami and Milwaukee will meet four times in the regular season, with each team having two home games. It’s going to be a long season, but the Heat can make an early statement with a win on opening night. If the oddsmakers are correct, it’s going to be one hell of a game.
Steve Richardson started writing content online in 2013 and has yet to slow down. Since joining our team at GamblingSites.org, he has covered sports, casino news, gambling laws, and much more! ...
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