Free NBA Series Pick: Bucks vs Celtics NBA Odds
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(44-38) Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics (55-27)
NBA Series schedule:
- Game 1: Sunday, at Boston, 1 p.m., TNT
- Game 2: Tuesday, at Boston, 8 p.m., TNT
- Game 3: April 20, at Milwaukee, 9:30 p.m., ESPN
- Game 4: April 22, at Milwaukee, 1 p.m., ABC
- Game 5 (if necessary): April 24, at Boston, TBD
- Game 6 (if necessary): April 26, at Milwaukee, TBD
- Game 7 (if necessary): April 28, at Boston, TBD
This series begins in Boston, where the Celtics lost 14 times this season. Milwaukee was almost as good as that in their own building but sub-.500 on the road, where Boston was even better than it was at home.
It wasn’t until the final game of the regular season that the Bucks were completely healthy, with Giannis in the lineup along with Kris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, Jabari Parker and Malcolm Brogdon. Even then, the Bucks were dismantled by the 76ers.
Matthew Dellavedova also played in that finale and he will be an important piece, one of Milwaukee’s few players with significant playoff experience and a winning pedigree.
Milwaukee can match up with Boston on the perimeter and might even have some deeper talent, given all of Boston’s injuries. But the Bucks have a glaring weakness inside.
John Henson is the team’s only true big, well, besides former Celtic Tyler Zeller. Thon Maker isn’t ready to play against Boston’s bigs in this series and I doubt he sees a lot of floor time.
So how will Henson contain Al Horford, who is leaps and bounds better than he is? Can Milwaukee go small and force Aron Baynes off the floor? Or will Boston’s bigs handle the Bucks and then take advantage of their own size in the reverse mismatch?
Those are the biggest questions for me. Plus, will Giannis’ knee hold up? He was off and on for the last few weeks, and really months of the regular season. To me, he doesn’t look fine and I’m not sure he will be able to be the superhero he is in a series like this one.
The Celtics have the man to slow the Greek Freak down, too, in Jaylen Brown. They can also use Jayson Tatum on him, as well as Marcus Morris. Boston is well-equipped to keep Milwaukee’s main weapon at bay in this series.
Otherwise, the Celtics have the most valuable piece in this series, which is Brad Stevens. He’s had his team playing good basketball all season (for the last four seasons), no matter who is available and in the lineup. He has a huge edge over Milwaukee’s staff.
Then there’s Horford down low, who has to be the center piece of Boston’s offense. He should be able to have his way in the paint around the basket, as well as in the pick-and-pop game, where he has become so good in recent years.
Free Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics NBA Series Prediction: Boston in 7
The Bucks are the hot pick but sometimes there isn’t just a switch to flip. Milwaukee has been inconsistent all season and underachievers.
I’m not so sure they’ve underachieved so much as the expectations have just been too high, which they can’t control. This team isn’t that good! When Giannis isn’t a superhero, there just isn’t enough ball movement, isn’t enough body movement and isn’t enough three-point shooting to stay competitive. There just isn’t a whole lot of offense and the lack of rim protection really limits the defense.
If the Bucks win this series, it will be because the Greek Freak plays better than I’m expecting, and/or because Delly and Brogdon have real good games.
4* Free NBA Series Betting Pick: Celtics (-165)
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