Celtics vs. Bucks Odds
|Celtics Odds||+1.5 (-115)|
|Bucks Odds||-1.5 (-105)|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
Fans finally got the close game they were yearning for in this Celtics-Bucks series.
After two one-sided blowouts in Games 1 and 2, the Bucks snuck by the Celtics, 103-101, in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead. The line teetered between -1.5 and -3 and ultimately closed at -2.5, so the closing line mattered tremendously for bettors.
The Celtics held a one-point lead with a little over a minute left in the game. They missed a couple of good looks to put the game away, and the Bucks responded with two big baskets to take a three-point lead with 11 seconds remaining.
After getting fouled on the last play, Marcus Smart made one free throw and then intentionally missed the second, setting off a wild sequence. Smart snagged his own rebound, and the Celtics squandered a few more chances to tie the game. Al Horford finally got a shot to go in, but he didn’t get it off in time.
The Bucks prevailed, and if they win Game 4, they have a chance to return back to Boston with a commanding 3-1 lead.
Can the Celtics steal one on the road to even up the series? Let’s break down Game 4 in Milwaukee.
Who Will Step Up For Celtics?
The Celtics were glad to see young star Jaylen Brown string together two strong consecutive games after a dud in Game 1. However, this time, their other star, Jayson Tatum, went missing as he went 4-for-19 from the field and missed all six of his 3-point attempts.
Al Horford turned back the clock and put up a vintage 22-point, 16-rebound performance to compensate for Tatum’s struggles.
Robert Williams’ playing time has been limited this series. He took an elbow to the head from Bobby Portis and could still be dealing from the meniscus injury he suffered at the end of the regular season. His minutes have mostly been replaced by Grant Williams, who provides some better shooting to space the floor and help their offense.
The Celtics have scored 89, 109 and 101 this series. They only shot greater than 40% from the field in Game 2. Perhaps there could be some positive regression, but I’m counting on these two teams to continue their defensive intensity.
All three games have gone under the total comfortably. The total remains unchanged from Game 3, presumably from the increased tempo last game and some lineup changes each team has made.
However, with these teams playing extremely physical with one another, I don’t see any reason to deviate from what has worked in the first three games.
How Will Celtics Defend Antetokounmpo?
The Bucks got a dominating performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 3. He put up 42 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. He was aggressive on the offensive end and used his physicality to bully his way to the basket.
Nonetheless, they still shot just 40.4% from the field. In the three games in this series, they’ve scored 101, 86 and 103 points.
The Bucks have gone 25-15-1 (62.5%) to the under in the playoffs since the 2019-20 season, per the Sports Data Query Language at Gimme The Dog. They’ve gone 15-6 (71.4%) to the under in home games as well. To add to the trend, all eight playoff games this season have gone under the total.
With Antetokounmpo’s huge game in Game 3, I can see the Celtics’ game plan being more aggressive with double teams on him in Game 4. I don’t think Giannis will be as successful in Game 4. This should give the Bucks more open shots, but the Celtics were tied for the lowest 3-point percentage allowed this season.
Khris Middleton is still out with a left knee injury, and his presence has been sorely missed. Dating back to last season, the Bucks are 13-13 straight up and 11-15 against the spread in games without Middleton, per the SDQL at Gimme The Dog.
Milwaukee missed his contributions on offense the most. The on/off numbers show that the Bucks’ offensive rating dips from 117.3 to 113.4 when Middleton is off the court, per Basketball-Reference.
This series has been extremely physical, and defensive intensity has been high. Even with an increased pace in Game 3, the under still hit comfortably.
All games have gone under this series, and I expect Game 4 to be the same. My pick is on this game to go under the total of 212.5.
Pick: Under 212.5