Game 1 between the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and the second-seeded Boston Celtics tips off at TD Garden on Sunday afternoon. With that said, it’s a good time to check out our NBA odds series, which includes our Bucks-Celtics prediction, odds, and pick we have laid out below.


This series should be a fun one between the reigning champs and the best team in the NBA since the turn of the calendar year. Milwaukee took care of its first-round series, manhandling the Chicago Bulls in five games. Giannis Antetokounmpo was up to his usual tricks for the Bucks, averaging 28.6 points, 13.4 rebounds, and 6.2 assists in that series. The big story for Milwaukee, however, is the loss of All-Star Khris Middleton, who went down in Game 2 after suffering a sprained MCL.

Meanwhile, the Celtics took down the Brooklyn Nets in an impressive sweep. Jayson Tatum was the best player in a series that included Kevin Durant. He averaged 29.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 7.3 assists through four games. As impressive as the sweep was Boston's defense on Durant. They held the Nets star to just 38.6 percent shooting from the field and 33.3 percent shooting from three.

Here is how FanDuel has set the Bucks-Celtics NBA odds for Sunday's Game 1 and the series. 

NBA odds: Bucks-Celtics Odds

Milwaukee Bucks: +4.5 (-108) for Game 1, +168 for series

Boston Celtics: -4.5 (-112) for Game 1, -200 for series

Over: 217.5 (-112)

Under: 217.5 (-108)

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Why the Bucks could cover the spread

It's not often you see the defending champions open the series as underdogs. Nonetheless, it's easy to see why considering just how good the Celtics have been playing basketball over the last four months. But with someone like Giannis Antetokounmpo on the team, the Bucks are capable of overcoming.

Antetokounmpo is already in peak form in these playoffs, making his damage inside the paint per usual. Against the Bulls, he attempted 12 shots per game from within 10 feet and made them at a 73.3 percent clip. The Celtics will need to find a way to contain his dominance inside.

In connection, Antetokounmpo is also knocking down 68.3 percent of his free throws, making over eight foul shots per game. Antetokounmpo draining his freebies is key for Milwaukee as the Celtics will surely try to make life as tough as possible for the two-time MVP.

Milwaukee's supporting cast also stepped up after Middleton got injured in Game 2. Grayson Allen made 14 3-pointers through the last three games of the series. Bobby Portis stepped into the starting unit and averaged a double-double in five games. Pat Connaughton had a huge 20-point night in the series-clinching Game 5 win, drilling six 3-pointers in the process. If these guys continue to play well to support Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, and Brook Lopez, the Bucks could steal Game 1.

Why the Celtics could cover the spread

The series opens with a 4.5-point spread favoring the No. 2 Celtics. Boston has been wrecking havoc on the entire league over these last four months. They finished the regular season with the best defense in the NBA.

Celtics coach Ime Udoka will certainly draw up a game plan to minimize Antetokounmpo's impact on the floor. While containing The Greek Freak is a tall task, Boston just put together a defensive masterclass on Kevin Durant and will look to do the same thing again, though defending Giannis and KD is different.

While Antetokounmpo is the best player in this series, Jayson Tatum will have something to say about that. Everyone thought Durant had that claim in the Nets-Celtics matchup, but Tatum easily took the title with his magnificent play on both sides of the floor. He scored when the C's needed him to and put the clamps on Durant on the other end. If Tatum builds off this confidence and shows much of the same against Antetokounmpo, the Celtics have a good chance of covering the spread and taking Game 1.

Obviously, the injury to Khris Middleton plays to Boston's advantage. He is Milwaukee's No. 2 scorer and is also one of the team's top playmakers. That will make the Celtics' job easier on defense against Giannis.

Final Bucks-Celtics prediction and pick

I think the Celtics take Game 1 and cover the spread as well. The Celtics have been playing great and consistent winning basketball since January, and that should show on Sunday.

In addition, Milwaukee doesn't seem to start series well. Dating back to last season, they lost the first two games versus the Nets, went down 1-0 against the Hawks, and trailed 2-0 to the Suns in the NBA Finals. They also started slow in Games 1 and 2 versus the Bulls in the previous round before blowing them out in the last three games.

But even despite this, the Bucks won't be able to do enough to actually win this series. It will be a dogfight and will go down to the wire, but the loss of Khris Middleton and the Celtics' home-court advantage will win out in the end in an epic seven-game series.

Final Bucks-Celtics Prediction & Pick: Celtics -4.5 (-112) in Game 1 and Celtics -200 for the series.