This article is part of our DraftKings Sportsbook series.
We're treated to a Heat vs. Bucks Game 2 and a Rockets vs. Thunder Game 7 on Wednesday, with defense reigning supreme across both matchups. Stopping Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden will be crucial for their opponents if an upset victory is in the cards. Let's take a look at how the odds shake out.
Heat vs. Bucks
Spread: MIL -5.0
Moneyline: MIL -215, MIA +180
The Heat were able to pull off the 115-104 Game 1 upset, only losing the first quarter. Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic were dominant, combining for 67 points on 22-of-35 (62.8%) shooting, 10 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and one block. That helped make up for relatively lackluster performances from everyone else, as the remainder of the team shot just 17-for-49 (34.6%). Despite shooting worse than Milwaukee from the field and from three, Miami went 25-of-27 (92.6%) from the free-throw line compared to Milwaukee's 14-of-26 (53.8%), while the Heat also committed three fewer turnovers and grabbed five more offensive rebounds.
Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez were the duo that carried the Bucks' offense, combining for 52 points on 20-of-34 shooting (58.8%), which also included eight made threes. Giannis Antetokounmpo was a mixed bag. He scored 18 points on 12 shots, which is technically efficient, but he went an atrocious 4-of-12 (33.3%) from the free-throw line and committed six turnovers to his nine assists. Milwaukee shot 49.3 percent from the field and 45.7 percent from three, which is great, but not sustainable.
The odds are still tilted in favor of the Bucks, which is understandable considering their legitimate title aspirations. Still, it's tough to feel confident wagering on Milwaukee when Miami controlled Game 1 so well. They kept the pace down (96.7) and won the rebounding and turnover battle, allowing them to claim a victory despite having a practically identical true shooting percentage to the Bucks (MIA at 60.0%, MIL at 60.2%). In regards to the total, both teams shot above their usual efficiency, so if you believe the pace is sticky and these teams will continue to grind it out, a wager on the under makes sense.
Thunder vs. Rockets
Spread: HOU -5.5
Moneyline: HOU -220, OKC +180
The presence of Russell Westbrook has tilted the spreads more in favor of Houston. Before he was available, the Rockets were never favored by more than three points. Since he's returned, the Rockets haven't been favored by less than five.
The reality is, however, that he's been awful.
Westbrook is shooting 39/25/25 and has committed seven turnovers to 10 assists through two games. Overall, the Rockets' offense has struggled the past four games, with the team claiming just a 103.5 offensive rating over this stretch – a number that would have been the worst in the NBA if averaged across the whole season.
OKC's offense has been terrible over the same stretch with the Thunder posting just a 99.8 offensive rating, though they've won three of the games. Game 5's offensive rating of 79.5, which was in the wake of Dennis Schroder's ejection, brings down the average significantly. Chris Paul has been excellent, averaging 21.7 points on 50/35/85 shooting, 6.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.0 combined steals-plus-blocks. Aside from Paul, it's a testament to OKC's defense and physicality that they're able to shoot 43/31/78 as a team and force a Game 7. The Thunder have a +15 offensive rebounding advantage and a +38 made free-throw advantage.
It's tough to poke holes in the odds. The Rockets have won by an average of 7.2 points and the average total is 215.8. With six games of sample size, it's not a mystery where these numbers come from. While I think rebounding and defense – advantage OKC – is more consistent in the long run than shooting, we can't ignore the ever-present possibility that Houston catches fire and makes this game a blowout. I'd be nervous with my money on any wager.
Intriguing Player Prop
Giannis Antetokounmpo: Points + Rebounds + Assists over/under 52.5
Antetokounmpo put up just 37 combined P+R+A during Game 1, and he averaged only 45.0 P+R+A against Miami during three regular-season matchups. It's clear at this point – the Heat have Giannis' number. There will be plenty of wagerers who are banking on a bounceback effort from both the Bucks and The Greek Freak, but all signs indicate it would be abnormal for him to hit the over on 52.5 P+R+A. Miami has formed a wall in front of Antetokounmpo any time he makes even a twitch toward the basket, applying the "anyone but him" mentality to their defense. He managed just 12 total shot attempts in 37 minutes in Game 1 compared to his season average of 19.7 shots in 30.4 minutes. It's his scoring where he's struggled the most, so a bet on Antetokounmpo's point total of 31.5 might be the more straightforward option.