Celtics vs. Bucks Preview: Bucks Trending In Wrong Direction

The Celtics return home after an impressive Game 4 road win at Milwaukee. Can Boston push the defending champions to the brink of elimination?

The Bucks-Celtics series has been incredibly exciting, with each team earning a victory on the opponents home floor. Both teams now return to Boston for a crucial Game 5, where the winner has a historic advantage. Since 2000, the winner of Game 5 goes on to win the series over 71% of the time.

After losing a hotly-contested 103-101 game on Friday Night, Boston responded with a 116-108 victory on Monday, behind 30 points from both Jayson Tatum and Al Horford. The Celtics switch-heavy defense held Milwaukee to just 33.3% (9 of 27) from deep and just 41.5% (39 of 94) from the field overall.

The defending champions need a big road win tonight, while Boston will bring their best effort to avoid going down 3-2 with a Game 6 at Fiserv Forum.

Here are my two picks for a crucial Game 5 in the most compelling second round matchup.

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Celtics vs. Bucks Betting Odds

Celtics Bucks
Spread -6 +6
Moneyline -220 +180
Over/Under 214

*Lines accurate at the time of publication.

Celtics vs. Bucks Wednesday Night Picks

Celtics -5.5 (-110, DraftKings)

Is laying 5.5 points against the defending NBA champions really a good idea?

Yes, it is.

Despite a dominant Bucks victory in Game 1, the Celtics have been the better team throughout this series. Boston has been able to limit the Bucks supporting cast, while overcoming the superior production from Giannis Antetokounmpo. In the four games, Antetokounmpo is averaging 32 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists per game. However, with second-leading scorer Khris Middleton unavailable due to injury, Milwaukee has struggled to find consistency beyond their MVP forward. Point guard Jrue Holiday is shooting just 33.6% from the field and 30.9% from deep in the series, and is coming off a brutal 5 of 22 (22.7%) shooting night at home in Game 4.

The Celtics had a big bounceback effort from forward Jayson Tatum, who suffered through the worst playoff performance of his career in Game 3. After a 4 of 19 FG, 10 point outing, Tatum responded with 30 points and 13 rebounds in Sunday’s win. With teammate Jaylen Brown looking more healthy each game, the Celtics should feel confident their versatile scoring duo is back to their elite level.

Boston’s win in Game 4 came without center Robert Williams, who was a late scratch with knee soreness. Williams is likely to play tonight at home, which would provide even more resistance on the interior against Antetokounmpo.

If this game was in Milwaukee, I would feel more confident in a Bucks cover or win. But playing at TD Garden, against the best defensive team in the NBA, without Middleton, is a very heavy task in a pivotal Game 5.

This line feels very high, and over 60% of the public is grabbing the 5.5 points with Milwaukee. I’m going the opposite direction, with a comfortable Celtics win on the horizon.

Risk: 1.10 units on DraftKings to win 1 unit. (Bet up to -120)

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Grayson Allen Under 12.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists (-110, BetMGM)

The Bucks inserted Allen into the starting lineup, needing more scoring to offset the loss of Khris Middleton. Allen hasn’t been able to produce, averaging just 5.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game despite playing 27.8 minutes per contest.

Allen was a huge weapon in Milwaukee’s opening round win over Chicago, posting 13 PPG while shooting 41.4% from 3P range. However, Boston’s aggressive, switching defense is a different challenge, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Allen return to the bench in Game 5 in favor of Bobby Portis or George Hill.

Allen generated 64.6% of his points from deep, but the Celtics defense is not allowing open 3P attempts. I’m backing the under again on Allen at 12.5 PRA on BetMGM.

Risk: 1.10 units on BetMGM to win 1 unit. (Bet up to -120)

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