The No. 2 seed boston celtics (1-1) meet the No. 3 seed milwaukee bucks (1-1) Saturday for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series at Fiserv Forum. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:30 pm ET (ABC). Below, we look at the Celtics vs. Bucks odds and linesand make our expert NBA picks, predictions and bets.
Boston bounced back from a double-digit Game 1 loss (101-89) to even the series with a 109-86 blowout victory in Game 2 Tuesday. The Celtics outperformed the Bucks in three of the “four factors” and made a franchise-playoff record 20 3-pointers.
Celtics All-Star wings Jayson Tatum and Jaylene Brown are averaging a combined 46.0 points in this series on 44.9% shooting and 47.4% from 3-point land.
Milwaukee’s 2-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has struggled to find his groove offensively in this series. Giannis has a 39.4% effective field-goal shooting rate (38.5% from the field and 16.7% behind the arc).
The Celtics are 8-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last 9 meetings with the Bucks. The Over/Under is 6-3 in those contests.
Celtics at Bucks odds and lines
Odds provided by Typical Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports Scores and Sports Betting Odds hub for a full list. Lines last updated at Friday at 11:04 pm ET.
Moneyline(ML): Celtics +105 (bet $100 to win $105) | Bucks -130 (bet $130 to win $100)
Against the spread: Celtics +1.5 (-107) | Bucks -1.5 (-115)
Over/Under: 212.5 (O: -110 | U: -110)
Celtics at Bucks key injuries
PG Marcus Smart likely
PG George Hill (abdominal) likely SF Chris Middleton (knee)out
Celtics at Bucks picks and predictions
Bucks 111, Celtics 106
gimme the BUCKS (-130).
They generally respond well to losses and the Celtics are surprisingly bad in tight games.
Milwaukee has the second-best winning rate following losses since the beginning of last season at 118-66 straight up (SU) with a plus-4.8 margin of victory – the Phoenix Suns are first at 135-49 with a plus-6.3 margin.
Boston was 13-22 SU in the “clutch” during the regular season with a minus-9.5 net rating (ranked 26th). “Clutch” is defined by games within a 5-point margin inside of five minutes to play.
On the other hand, the Bucks are 24-17 SU in the “clutch” with a plus-15.9 net rating, ranked 2nd in the NBA during the regular season.
The gap between both teams’ tight-game execution is due to Milwaukee’s 3rd-ranked eFG% in the “clutch” vs. Boston’s 24th-ranked eFG%. A major reason for this is that the Celtics rely on predictable iso-ball with Tatum and Brown down the stretch.
Furthermore, Boston’s supporting players should cool off now that the series is in Milwaukee and the Bucks should get more out of their role players such as C brooklyn lopezC bobby portis and SG wesley matthews.
Between Milwaukee’s defense, late-game execution and home-court advantage, MILWAUKEE (-130) is my bet to win Game 3.
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PASS since Milwaukee’s ML is only 15 cents on the dollar more expensive than the Bucks -1.5 (-115). So, there’s no reason to sweat a cover here, but I’d bet Milwaukee up to -3 if late money comes in on the Bucks.
LEAN OVER 212.5 (-110).
The first 2 games of this series went Under the total by an average of 24.5 points, so Celtics-Bucks are due for an Over.
Also, the Over has cashed in 7 of the last 10 head-to-head meetings, Boston is 11-8-1 O/U as a road underdog with a plus-5.4 total margin and Milwaukee is 21-19 O/U as a home favourite.
However, more money is on the Under in the betting market, whereas more bets have been placed on the Over, per Pregame.com. Typically, the cash column of the betting splits is the sharp side of the market since professional bettors put up a lot more dough than your average Joe.
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