Milwaukee Bucks @ Boston Celtics | NBA Playoffs Predictions and Betting Tips
The Milwaukee Bucks appear to have recovered from losing Game One and now lead their Eastern Conference Semifinals series with the Boston Celtics 2-1. But now comes the tough part. Will they be able to hold off a Celtics team that desperately needs to win Game Four and take command of the series? Or will the Celtics get a much-needed win before the series goes back to Milwaukee?
Spread: Celtics by 1.5
Money Line: Celtics -120; Bucks +100
*Odds via BetOnline.ag
Giannis Antetokounmpo knew he needed to step up in Game Three, and so he did with 32 points and 13 rebounds on the night. The Celtics knew he was going to try to dominate the game, so they did what they could to contain—by fouling him whenever they could whether it was intentional or not. As a result, he took only 13 shots in the game, but he also went to the line 22 times and made 16 of those shots. So, fouling him wasn’t an effective strategy. But if the Celtics want to use it, Antetokounmpo is okay with it. “I’m just gonna keep being aggressive. That’s what my teammates want me to do,” he said, after Game Three. “If I have to take it all the way, I’ll take it all the way.” He didn’t have to do it all alone in Game Three. Khris Middleton chipped in 20 points, Nikola Mirotic had 13, and the bench added 42. If the Bucks are going to win Game Four (and eventually the series), they are going to need other players to step up and make meaningful contributions—as they did in Games Two and Three. Malcolm Brogdon has been ruled out for Game Four, but according to media reports, he is close to making a return.
If the Celtics were intentionally trying to foul Giannis Antetokounmpo, the strategy didn’t work at all, so it will be back to the drawing board for Game Four. If they can’t figure out a way to slow down Antetokounmpo, they are going to have a hard time winning. It certainly doesn’t help that Antetokounmpo has thrived when playing in Boston. He has scored at least 30 points in all three games Milwaukee has played in Boston this year. Some have tried to blame the officiating for the loss in Game Three, but Celtics head coach Brad Stevens is not one of those people: “I don’t complain about officials. We’ve got a lot of stuff we have to do better, and they have a hard job. And we focus on us and the controllables, and that’s the bottom line.” It certainly doesn’t help when one of the team’s stars, Kyrie Irving, expends as much energy as he did yelling at the officials, his teammates, and coaches as he did. While he admitted after the game that the team could have done many things better, his actions didn’t help anything during the game. There is a chance that Marcus Smart could return in Game Four.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Boston Celtics 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. But 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 37 postseason games; Boston leads that series as well, 21-16. This will be the seventh time the two have faced off in a postseason series. Boston has won five series while Milwaukee just one. The Bucks lead the current series, 2-1.
Odds and Predictions
With each passing game, it looks more and more like the Celtics just caught the Bucks napping in Game One. Since then, Antetokounmpo has amped up his game as has the rest of the roster. While the Celtics did manage to slow down Antetokounmpo in Game One, they haven’t come close in the last two. Unless the Celtics discover some new (legal) strategy for defending Antetokounmpo, the Celtics are going to have a tough time winning whether the game is in Boston or Milwaukee. Take the Bucks to win (+100), straight up and against the spread, in what will likely be the last time they are not favored this year. As for the over/under (221), go with the over. Milwaukee’s offense has come alive, and the Celtics will score enough.
Expert Betting Tip
It is almost baffling that the Celtics are favored in this game. Do not hesitate to take the Bucks to win, against the spread and straight up.