Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks Picks
Boston Celtics (37-21 SU, 30-28 ATS) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (43-14 SU, 34-20-3 ATS)
When: Thursday, February 21st, 2019 – 8:00 PM ET
Where: Fiserv Forum – Milwaukee, WI
By: Keith Franks, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: BOS +5.5 / MIL -5.5
Power Rankings: Milwaukee -10
Takeaways From Boston and Milwaukee’s Most Recent Games
The Celtics went into the All-Star break on a two-game winning streak, capped off by a win at home against the Detroit Pistons on February 13th. The Celtics defeated the Pistons 118-110 to generate their second consecutive cover overall as a 3.5-point favorite.
The Milwaukee Bucks remain the best team in the league in terms of wins and losses. Milwaukee has won eight of their last nine contests overall. The Bucks went into the All-Star break on a high note when as a 4.5-point favorite they polished divisional rival Indiana by a score of 106-97 to extend their cover streak to two games.
How the Public is Betting the Boston-Milwaukee Game
Presently, 58% of the consensus like the Bucks here spotting the points. As a result, the market has risen by half of a point from its opening number of Milwaukee -5 to its current position of the Bucks laying 5.5 points.
The two teams last met in Boston in December where the Deer galloped to an impressive road win defeating the Celtics 120-117 to cover easy as a 1.5-point favorite.
On February 8th, the Bucks acquired Power Forward Nikola Mirotic from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for draft picks and reserve Center Jason Smith. Due to a strained right calf, Mirotic’s debut for the Bucks remains a question mark as he continues to recover.
Rest Advantages and Concerns
This will be both teams’ first game back from the All-Star Break and both should be well rested and recuperated as a result.
How Will Milwaukee’s Home Court Presence Affect Boston?
Boston owns advantages in turnovers and their bench gives them a significant edge as it produces 8.6 more points per game compared to Milwaukee. Boston’s bench averages 39.7 points per game while the Bucks’ bench produces 31.1 points per contest. In addition, the Celtics will be able to take advantage of free points as they sit third in the NBA in free throw shooting (81.3%) compared to Milwaukee who hit just 76.9% (16th in the NBA) from the charity stripe. However, the Bucks are the best team in the league in opponent free throw percentage as they allow opponents to hit just 74.2% of their free throws. Chances are Boston won’t find any refuge in one of the NBA’s most notoriously unwelcoming settings, the Fiserv Forum. The Bucks are an incredible 23-5 SU this season in Milwaukee.
Will The Bucks Intangibles Bully Boston Out of Town?
The Deer are one of the best shooting teams as they sit second in the NBA hitting 48% of their shots. On the flip-side, the Bucks are the best team in the NBA in limiting opponent field goal efficiency as the opposition shoots just 43% against them. As a result, this takes away one of Boston’s calling cards as the Celtics actually sit second in the league behind the Bucks in opponent field goal percentage (44.3%). The most prevalent concern for Boston is how they will handle the physical play of the Bucks. Boston is a team that is known for liking to roll up its sleeves but that won’t work against the Deer. Milwaukee stands as the best rebounding team in the NBA as they generate 48.8 boards per game. This is a haunting news for Boston who sits 17th in the NBA in opponents rebounding as they give up 45.4 boards to opponents. As a result, Milwaukee’s NBA second-best scoring offense (116.9 points per game) will get more opportunities to produce and potentially light up the scoreboard.
Between the two teams, two noteworthy trends have emerged, the Home Team has won nine of the last ten meetings between these two opponents. The Over is 8-2 ATS in the last ten meetings between these two clubs.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Milwaukee -5.5
My play here will actually be a parlay bet with my Lakers moneyline play at +125. According to other betting sites, the Bucks are supremely under-priced as they could be justified spotting double-digit points to the Celtics in this spot. After all, Milwaukee plays at an elite level on its own court while the Celtics own a 14-13 SU record outside Boston. Moreover, Milwaukee plays well against premium basketball teams as they are 17-7 against teams with a .500 record or better. Contrarily, Boston plays losing basketball against those same teams as they are 11-12 against clubs that are better than .500. Given how there is a potentially significant margin to find the favorites sold cheap, we urge bettors take advantage of the NBA’s top team in the standings offered at a true value price.