Jimmy Butler's Heat are making a killing for their backers

Butler’s Heat Have Been Cash Cows In The Playoffs

The Miami Heat seemed to be dead in the water after dropping their first play-in game to the Atlanta Hawks as 5-point favorites.

A second-chance win over the sub-.500 Chicago Bulls appeared to give them the privilege of losing to the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, but Jimmy Butler and co. had other plans en route to a very profitable run for bettors.

Round 1 vs the Bucks

Perennial MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo and his no. 1 seed squad were priced at a lopsided -1200 to take the series.

As the playoff picture became clear, the Bucks overtook the season-long favorite Celtics as the chalk to win the title. Milwaukee was poised to face the Heat and either the Knicks or Cavs, a perceived easier path through the postseason.

Odds Prior to Round 1
Team To Make NBA Finals To Win NBA Championship
Milwaukee +115 +275
Boston +150 +350
Philadelphia +500 +1000
Cleveland +1800 +4000
New York +5000 +10000
Miami +6000 +12500
Atlanta +10000 +20000
Brooklyn +20000 +50000


The eight-seeded Heat’s status as a heavy underdog, combined with the fact that they lost just one game vs the Bucks, made for an extremely lucrative series for their backers.

Giannis Antetokounmpo suffered a back injury just 10 minutes into Game 1, forcing him to miss Games 2 and 3. This allowed Miami to gain a 2-1 series lead, taking advantage of the depleted defense to average 124 points per game.

Miami’s biggest win was in Game 5, when it was bet all the way up to a +550 dog as fans doubted its ability to close out the series on the road. Jimmy Butler dropped 42 points, following up his 56-point gem in Game 4, as the Heat forced OT, eventually winning 128-126 as 15-point underdogs. 



This win, marking just the fifth time an eight-seed has ever upset a one-seed, capped a +10.2-unit series for bettors who wagered a unit on Heat moneyline in each contest, plus an additional 7.5 units for those who took their series price.

Round 2 vs the Knicks

Miami’s improbable first-round victory forced the sportsbooks to treat it with more respect, but New York was coming off of its own upset series win at +170 over Cleveland. The Knicks’ homecourt advantage gave them the edge as favorites at -160.

Kicking off the round with a +152 road win, the Heat never trailed in the series as they finished the Knicks in six at home as a sizeable -255 favorite.

Round 1 against the Bucks was a high-flying offensive affair, and the Bucks’ 99-point performance in Game 3 was the only instance where a team in that first-round series recorded less than 114 points. Round 2 was the polar opposite, as Miami won the series without exceeding 109 points in a single contest, showcasing its versatility.

The books quickly adjusted to Miami’s strength, meaning that its moneyline backers went up just 1.9 units in the series in addition to the payout on its +140 series price. This brings their total playoff profit to a whopping +20.2 units for bettors backing them in each game and series through two rounds.


Miami Heat Playoff Betting Tracker
Game ML Odds Result Profit
1 +195 W 1.95u
2 +195 L 0.95u
3 +105 W 2u
4 +270 W 4.7u
5 +550 W 10.2u
Round 1 +750 W 17.7u
1 +152 W 19.2u
2 +425 L 18.2u
3 -160 W 18.8u
4 -170 W 19.4u
5 +139 L 18.4u
6 -255 W 18.8u
Round 2 +140 W 20.2u


Round 3 vs the Celtics

Miami has shown that it can play any style of game through two series, and the favor it has gained from Vegas throughout these playoffs is significant. That being said, the Heat are still long underdogs to advance to the NBA Finals at +425 against a strong Boston lineup.

The Game 1 price (+300) on the road certainly indicates that this will be a historically profitable Finals run if Miami can pull off yet another unlikely upset.