Giannis ‘The Greek Freak’ Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks will be out to prove they’re the ‘Beast of the East’ when they host Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics in a huge, matchup of Eastern Conference championship favorites on Thursday night.
While the C’s entered the regular season as the prohibitive favorite to win the East this season after coming up just short of reaching the NBA Finals a year ago, it is Milwaukee that has the best record in the conference right as the post all-star break gets underway tonight. Now, let’s find out if the Bucks can get the win and cover the chalk or whether Boston is the better pick as solid road underdogs.
Celtics vs Bucks NBA Betting Lines, Game Preview & Pick
- When: Thursday February 21, 2019, 8:00 PM ET
- Where: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
- TV: TNT
- Radio: Boston / Milwaukee
- Live Stream: NBA League Pass
- NBA Odds: Milwaukee -5.5 / Total: 227
Why Bet On Boston at +5.5?
Why should you consider backing the Celtics in this one? Well, the best reasons would be because the Celtics have the slightly better defense in this matchup and Boston heated up nicely by winning seven of their last nine games before the all-star break. Not only that, but Boston will definitely be highly motivated to get the win and deliver a message to the Bucks should they meet in the postseason for the second straight season after dispatching the Bucks in seven thrilling games in the first round a year ago. Another good reason to back the C’s is because they’ll have Kyrie Irving back on the court after the all-star missed two games prior to the all-star break.
“I’m happy. My strength and conditioning coach, my own training staff that I hired myself, every single day has been communication, making sure I can play in the game,” Irving told reporters after the annual all-star game. “We understand it’s an All-Star Game, but to go up and down before Thursday comes, I’d be a lot worse if that was my first time playing in basically two weeks.”
The Celtics are averaging 113.0 points per game (12th) while limiting the opposition to just 106.6 points per game defensively (5th). The C’s won 12 of 15 before the all-star break.
- Average Score For: 113
- Field Goals: 46.50%
- Three Points: 37.18%
- Free Throws: 81.34%
- Rebounds: 45.10
- Average Score Against: 106.59
- Field Goals: 44.33%
- Three Points: 33.97%
- Free Throws: 76.16%
- Rebounds: 45.33
Why Bet On Milwaukee at -5.5?
Why should you think about betting on the Bucks in this contest? There are a bunch of good reasons. First, Milwaukee has gone a stellar 23-5 SU and 17-10 ATS at home this season. Then, there’s the fact that Milwaukee will definitely be looking to send a message to Boston that, they are going to be a lot more difficult to face this postseason than they were a year ago – when they took the C’s seven games in the first round.
Then, there’s the fact that the Bucks will have the best player on the floor (sorry Kyrie) in the still-blossoming Giannis Antetokounmpo (27.2 points, 12.7 rebounds per game). Combine all of that with the fact that the Bucks are on fire, having won eight of nine and 14 of their last 16 games prior to the all-star break including a 106-97 win over Indiana on Feb. 13 that saw The Greek Freak put up a triple-double of 33 points, 19 rebounds and 11 assists.
“There are only so many things you can do,” said Pacers forward Thaddeus Young, who spent most of the night trying to defend Antetokounmpo. “But when he’s trying to post you up in the middle and is just spinning, he’s already at the rim. It’s just a tough battle. He did what he’s supposed to do.”
Milwaukee averages 116.9 points per game to rank a stellar second in scoring while limiting the opposition to just 107.1 points per game defensively to rank eighth in points allowed.
- Average Score For: 116.91
- Field Goals: 47.95%
- Three Points: 34.85%
- Free Throws: 76.91%
- Rebounds: 48.84
- Average Score Against: 107.14
- Field Goals: 43.06%
- Three Points: 35.76%
- Free Throws: 74.17%
- Rebounds: 44.44
Celtics vs Bucks NBA Betting Trends
- Boston is 2-5-1 ATS in the last 8 games on the road
- Boston is 12-3 SU in the last 15 games
- The total went OVER in 4 of Boston’s last 6 games
- Milwaukee is 8-1 ATS in the last 9 games
- Milwaukee is 8-1 SU in the last 9 games
- The total went UNDER in 13 of Milwaukee’s last 19 games
Expert Analysis and Prediction for Celtics vs Bucks
I know Boston started to play a lot better a few weeks ago, but Milwaukee has been rock-solid for quite some time now and their addition of sweet-shooting veteran forward Nikola Mirotic is going to be a big-time boost for them as the regular season concludes and the postseason gets underway.
More importantly, I genuinely believe that Milwaukee really wants to send a message to Boston that they, and not the C’s, are now, the better team in this pairing. The Bucks have won 11 of their last 13 home games while going 9-6-2 ATS in their last 27 games against their Eastern Conference counterparts and 19-7-1 ATS in their last 27 games overall.
Despite the fact that they’ve heated up nicely in recent weeks, Boston is just 6-14 ATS in their last 20 road games against a team with a winning home record, 5-12 ATS in their last 17 road games against a team with a home winning percentage of greater than .600 and an uninspiring 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Thursday games. 18 of Milwaukee’s last 22 wins have come by at least 10 points and I believe they’re going to beat Boston by at least six to cover the chalk in this one!
NBA Betting Pick: Milwaukee 116 Boston 109