The Boston Celtics will take on the Milwaukee Bucks for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference best-of-seven series. With that said, it’s a good time to check out our NBA odds series, which includes our Celtics-Bucks prediction, odds, and pick we have laid out below.
This series definitely had the makings of a classic. But even though it’s tied at 1-1, both games haven’t been close, with Boston and Milwaukee both blowing each other out. The defending champion Bucks looked nothing like the team that dominated Game 1 to steal homecourt advantage. Credit the Celtics for their incredible defense, holding Milwaukee to just 86 points. Jaylen Brown led Boston with 30 points, 25 of which came in the first half where he made 9-of-10 shots. He also had six three-pointers, six rebounds, and six assists. Jayson Tatum, meanwhile, added 29 points, five triples, and eight assists. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 28 points for the reigning champs but shot just 11-of-27 from the field. His struggles mostly came in the first half, where he shot just 2-of-12 from the field.
Here are the Celtics-Bucks Game 2 odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
NBA odds: Celtics-Bucks Odds
Boston Celtics: +2 (-108)
Milwaukee Bucks: -2 (-112)
Over: 213 (-110)
Under: 213 (-110)
Why the Celtics could cover the spread
Boston’s defense locked up the Bucks in Game 2, holding them to just 86 points, Milwaukee’s lowest point tally in the 2022 playoffs so far. The Celtics’ defense also held the Bucks to shoot just 3-of-18 from beyond the arc. More specifically, they clamped up on Giannis Antetokounmpo through the first 24 minutes of play — forcing him to just a 2-of-12 half.
Milwaukee actually shot better overall in Game 2 than in Game 1. The Celtics really did their damage on the offensive end, especially from long distance. Boston had a 51-point advantage from downtown, making 20-of-43 triples. Brown and Tatum combined for 11 of those 20 three-pointers.
The Celtics also have the advantage health-wise, as Milwaukee’s no. 2 leading scorer Khris Middleton is still out due to an MCL sprain. Without Middleton, Milwaukee misses a 20-point scorer who can create his own shot and make plays for others as well.
Boston could also get Marcus Smart back as he is listed as probable ahead of Saturday. The 2021-22 Defensive Player of the Year sat out Game 2 with a right thigh contusion. Boston didn’t seem to miss his presence much in Game 2, but they’d obviously want the 6-foot-3 guard back to help contain the likes of Jrue Holiday and Grayson Allen on the perimeter, and to an extent, the 6-foot-11 Antetokounmpo.
Why the Bucks could cover the spread
The Bucks showed their dominance defensively in Game 1, holding Boston to just 33.3 percent field goal shooting in the series opener. They obviously weren’t able to replicate that in Game 2 with the Celtics going off from long distance. With the series shifting to Milwaukee, look for the defending champs to feed off the energy at Fiserv Forum. The Bucks went 27-14 at home and won both games at home versus the Celtics during the regular season.
Despite the loss, Milwaukee still asserted its dominance in the paint, outscoring the Celtics inside, 54-24. The Bucks should continue pounding the rock inside the paint. Giannis Antetokounmpo may have struggled from the field early on in Game 2, but he did find his groove in the second half with 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting. If he continues to find a way to get to the rim, this should open up the lanes for Milwaukee’s shooters to get cleaner looks from beyond the arc.
The Bucks also likely won’t shoot as horribly as they did in Game 1. In the same way, Boston likely won’t shoot as good as they did on Tuesday. Should the three-point shooting even out, Milwaukee has a good chance to take a 2-1 series lead given their edge inside through two games so far.
The Bucks could also get a veteran boost off the bench with George Hill listed as probable for Saturday. Hill has yet to suit up in the postseason and has been out since the regular season finale due to an abdominal strain.
Final Celtics-Bucks prediction and pick
The Bucks should take this one. They were able to show some life in the second half of Game 2, particularly Giannis Antetokounmpo. The home-court edge should also come into play for this one.
Final Celtics-Bucks Prediction & Pick: Bucks: -2 (-110)