The Miami Heat are the obvious choice for Wednesday’s game unless you put some arbitrage in your NBA pick
Wednesday, December 8, 2021 – 7:30 PM EST at FTX Arena
It’s pretty much a slam-dunk that the Miami Heat (14-11 SU and ATS) should go in your NBA picks for Wednesday’s home game against the Milwaukee Bucks (16-9 SU, 11-14 ATS). As we go to press, the Heat are available as 4.5-point underdogs at FanDuel, but this contest looks more like a virtual coin-flip on paper – even with Jimmy Butler (tailbone) and Bam Adebayo (thumb) not suiting up for Miami.
The question is whether or not to bet on Milwaukee as well. They’re priced at –3.5 on the NBA odds board at BetMGM, which leaves a narrow “middle” opportunity against the spread. Is it worth betting on both sides and hoping Milwaukee wins by exactly four? Just barely, if I’m doing the math right.
Arbing for Dollars
Any time you’re trying to middle your NBA pick, the worst you can possibly do is lose the juice on both sides, which will happen most of the time as one side covers and the other doesn’t. That means we need a difference of at least 20 cents of value between the two sides in order to recoup that loss and break-even with our arbitrage play. And we might have it. According to Wizard of Odds, there’s a 30-cent difference in value between spreads of 3.5 and 4.5, judging by their equivalent “fair” money line odds.
This play would have been much better at the open, though, when the Heat was priced at +5. And there might not be any arbitrage available by the time you read this. Normally we’d recommend waiting until shoot-around before placing your best bets, but when there’s free money on the board, take it before it disappears.
Aside from the arbitrage, Miami has the betting value in this matchup because they’re more than just Butler and Adebayo. Kyle Lowry has been a steady hand on the tiller since arriving from the Toronto Raptors during the offseason. P.J. Tucker, a former teammate of Lowry’s in Toronto and more recently a member of the Bucks, has also played solid basketball for his latest employers in his familiar 3-and-D role. The Bucks, meanwhile, are also at less than 100 percent.
Brook Lopez (back) is out indefinitely, prompting Milwaukee to sign free agent DeMarcus Cousins as a stop-gap measure – to limited effect. They’re 3-0 SU and 1-2 ATS in the games Cousins has played, although that included a 124-102 win over the Heat last Saturday as 6.5-point home faves.
Milwaukee could also be without George Hill (knee) and Semi Ojeleye (calf), both considered day-to-day at press time. Neither was on the court last Saturday nor was Giannis Antetokounmpo, who missed two games with a calf injury before returning on Monday. The result from their previous meeting is scary enough to warrant a smaller bet size, but the Heat is still the right choice at +4.5 – and maybe the Bucks are at –3.5 as well, so let’s try to shoot the moon with our bet.
NBA Pick: Heat +4.5 (-110) with FanDuel
NBA Pick: Bucks -3.5 (-110) with BetMGM