Boston Celtics @ Milwaukee Bucks | NBA Playoffs Predictions and Betting Tips
Fans that were expecting the Milwaukee Bucks to dominate this series or maybe even sweep it was sorely disappointed after watching Game One. The Bucks may very well go on to win the series, but the Celtics made one thing clear—they came to play. This will not be an easy series for either team.
Spread: Bucks by 7
Money Line: Celtics +255; Bucks -305
*Odds via SportsInteraction
The Celtics did precisely what they needed to do in Game One. They played great defence and effectively took Milwaukee’s best player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, out of the game. Since no one could make a shot for the Bucks, they just had to make sure he didn’t get a chance to heat up. They also needed the offence to step up, and it did. Kyrie Irving recorded a double-double with 26 points and 11 assists. Al Horford recorded one as well (20 points and 11 rebounds). As a team, the Celtics shot 54 percent from the floor and 41.9 percent from the three-point line (13-31)—against the No. 1 rated defence during the regular season. Heading into Game Two, head coach Brad Steven is going to have to figure out how to get the team to play with an even higher level of intensity. It will be necessary if they are going to take down the Bucks for the second time in Milwaukee.
The Bucks have a lot of talented players on their roster, but the fate of the team depends on the performance of one player– Giannis Antetokounmpo. If he can play his game, the Bucks are going to win more often than not. But if he has a bad game, then—well, they may still win, but the odds are certainly not in their favor. Boston knew this going into Game One, hence their strategy whenever Antetokounmpo touched the ball—swarm him and make it very hard for him to get off a clean shot. It worked in Game One. While he did score 22 points, he only shot seven of 21. Antetokounmpo knows he has to play better going forward: “Whenever I got in the paint and I (spun) or tried to change direction, a second guy was right there. I’ve just got to go watch tape. If they’re going to play like this the whole series, I’ve got to be able to make the right pass and trust my teammates to knock down shots.” The Bucks will not have Malcolm Brogdon back for Game Two, but he is expected to return when the series heads to Boston.
Boston Celtics @ Milwaukee Bucks Head-to-Head
The Celtics and Bucks played three times during the regular season with Boston winning the first and Milwaukee taking the last two. Just four points decided Boston’s win while Milwaukee won by 13 points and by a single point. From a historical perspective, the all-time series between them has been close. Of the 213 regular season games they have played, the Celtics have won 109 to 104 for the Bucks. They have also played in 34 postseason games; Boston leads that series as well, 20-14. This will be the seventh time the two have faced off in a postseason series. Boston has won five while Milwaukee just one. The Celtics lead the current series, 1-0.
Odds and Predictions
The version of the Celtics that appeared in Game One is the version that they were expected to be all season, a stifling defence with enough offence to win the game. So, the hard part heading into Game Two is figuring out if that is who they now are. After all, they did play really well against a tough Pacers team and swept the series. Maybe Game One is proof that they can play just as well against a tougher team, like the Bucks. Or maybe the Bucks came out flat and unprepared in Game One and made the Celtics look better than they are. One thing is for sure—Antetokounmpo is not going to let his team lose by 22-points again. Expect a much tougher, more competitive game this time. While Boston’s domination in Game One would make it easy to pick them, go with the Bucks (-305) straight up and the Celtics against the spread (-7). As for the over/under (220), it is tempting to say go with the over because Antetokounmpo and the Bucks are going to go off. But with two excellent defensive teams facing off, go with the under.
Expert Betting Tip
This is going to be a much more competitive game but one that will see the Bucks emerge victorious in the end.