There’s tremendous pressure on the Boston Celtics to avoid a 2-0 hole against the Milwaukee Bucks in their Eastern Conference semifinals matchup. After getting stifled in Game 1–Jaylen Brown scored 12 points on 4/13 shooting, Marcus Smart had 10 points on 3/11 shooting, and Jayson Tatum volume-shot (6/18) his way to 21 points–the Cs need to avoid heading back to the ‘Cream City’ having been creamed twice.
The Cs took constant metaphorical and literal shots in the series’ first contest, with Smart injuring his right shoulder stinger and suffering a right quad contusion in the first half, and Robert Williams getting kicked in the groin in the second half.
The final score (101-89) was a similarly inappropriately located punch to any confident Celtics bettor (guilty) and makes one wonder if Giannis Antetokounmpo is simply the C’s kryptonite in the same fashion LeBron James was throughout the 2010s.
Can Boston find redemption against a Bucks squad missing its best long-range shooter and notorious Celtics-killer Khris Middleton? Or will Game 3 become a true do-or-die scenario for Ime Udoka’s squad?
Hardwood Houdini has your odds and lays a prediction for the TNT-televised Eastern Conference postseason tilt:
Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks odds, spread, over/under
According to WynnBet, the Celtics are a 4-point favorite against the Bucks at home. Milwaukee is a +152 road underdog, with the Cs moneyline set at -185. The over/under for the game has been placed at 214.5 points.
Celtics vs. Bucks prediction
The over/under has moved down four points from Game 1, but the spread and MLs are nearly identical this time around and last. Vegas is still confident in Ime Udoka’s squad winning at home after accumulating the hottest conference record this calendar year.
Jrue Holiday was a worthy co-star to the ‘Greek Freak’, but there’s still not enough offensive firepower to truly scare the Cs. It’s the defensive pressure that Ime Udoka and co. need to figure out how to navigate.
Brook Lopez did well to handle the pick-and-roll, and Bobby Portis was constantly harassing Celtics ball-handlers on the perimeter after a switch. Combined with the stylistic trappings from Jrue Holiday, Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton, and of course, Antetokounmpo, a high-scoring affair doesn’t seem likely.
Game 2 is a huge test the Houdini can’t quite determine is passable for Boston, but the under is something we fully expect, win or loss.