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Bucks vs. Celtics Odds & Expert Picks: Best Bets for NBA Christmas (December 25)

Bucks vs. Celtics Odds & Expert Picks: Best Bets for NBA Christmas (December 25) article feature image
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Stacy Revere/Getty Images. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks, Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics.

  • The Celtics are home favorites on Christmas day against the Bucks.
  • With the Bucks struggling to score on the road, Austin Wang is targeting Milwaukee's team total.
  • Check out his best bet and analysis below.

Bucks vs. Celtics Odds

Bucks Odds +4.5
Celtics Odds -4.5
Over/Under 224
Time 5 p.m. ET
TV ABC
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The last time these two teams met was in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Boston Celtics were expected to cruise past the Milwaukee Bucks with ease as -210 favorites before the series started, especially because the Bucks were without star forward Khris Middleton.

These teams ended up trading haymakers in an entertaining back-and-forth series. The Celtics ended up dominating that game seven and moving on to face the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Despite each team missing key players due to injury, both sit atop the Eastern Conference standings. The Celtics are the number-one seed at 23-10 and the Milwaukee Bucks are number-two at 22-10. In my opinion, this is easily the most anticipated game of the day as these two powerhouses collide.

The Celtics are currently -4.5-point favorites at home and total is sitting at 225. Both numbers have moved in favor of the Celtics and the over from the time of open. Can the Bucks exact revenge from the playoffs last season, or will the Celtics prevail again at home?

Let’s break down this matchup to see if there are any betting angles to exploit.

Bucks in Bad Matchup Spot 

Khris Middleton has missed four consecutive games and is listed as questionable for Christmas day. If Middleton suits up, I am usually bearish on bringing back a player of his caliber and usage rate back into the lineup. I think it takes time for their team chemistry to gel.

In such cases when Middleton plays in a game in which he missed the prior game, the Bucks have gone 4-14 ATS since the 2018-19 season, per the Sports Data Query Language at Gimme the Dog.

This will be the fourth game of a five-game road trip for the Bucks. They’ve lost two in a row and have faced an extremely tough schedule recently. Beginning on Dec. 13, they’ve played the Warriors, Grizzlies, Jazz, Pelicans, Cavaliers and now face the top team in the East.

Their historically efficient offense has regressed this season. They rank 18th in Offensive Rating (111.7), per NBA Advanced Stats. They have been banking on their stifling defense, which ranks third in the league (108.5) and first in opponent’s Effective Field Goal Percentage (51.5%).

One glaring weakness to point out is their splits on the road. They are fourth in Net Rating at home (+9.8) and 21st in Net Rating on the road (-4.3), per NBA Advanced Stats. They are 29th in points scored per game at 106.0 and dead last in Offensive Rating (104.7). Their team total on the road has gone 12-3 to the under and 9-1 to the under in their last 10 games, per EV Analytics.

I don’t see many advantages for the Bucks on offense, especially if Robert Williams is in for the Celtics. The Celts have bodies to build a wall against Antetokounmpo and I’m not sure they have enough firepower on offense to compete.


Will the Celtics Shake Their Recent Slump

Robert Williams did not suit up on Friday night and is listed as questionable for Christmas Day. I’m expecting him to play in this high-profile game, but he has been on a minute restriction.

Overall, the Celtics have been dominating this season. They rank first in Offensive Rating (116.6), seventh in Defensive Rating (110.6) and first in Net Rating (6.0). However, they have lost five of their previous seven games, including two to the scrappy Orlando Magic. They are 29th in Offensive Rating in their previous five games and desperately needed that win against the Timberwolves.

Jayson Tatum is having an MVP-caliber season and is averaging 30.5 points per game. Malcolm Brogdon has provided some much-needed depth and scoring off of the bench. This has allowed them to start a backcourt of Derrick White and Marcus Smart to terrorize opposing teams’ guards.

The concept of revenge for a postseason loss hasn’t really applied in this situation. Home favorites where their previous matchup was a game seven win, they have gone 10-3-1 ATS since the 2012-13 season, per the SDQL.

In Christmas Day games, home favorites off a win in their previous matchup are 11-6 ATS (64.7%) since the 2010-11 season, per the SDQL. The chalk has been prevailing on Christmas.

Bucks-Celtics Pick

I love backing unders when the elite teams face off against one another – I expect a high intensity defensive battle between two of top teams in the NBA where this game could have implications on ultimate playoff seeding.

Also, if Williams III plays, I think that will help this case even further. Christmas Day unders are historically an angle, although that tide seems have shifted with four of the five games last Christmas going over.

I am playing the Milwaukee Team Total Under at 110.5. As mentioned above, they are only averaging 106 points per game on the road. They’ve only been able to crack that number in three of their 15 road games.

It is unfair to compare the playoff series to a regular season game, but I also figure it is worth noting that Milwaukee didn’t score higher than 110 in any of their seven games in the playoff series last season.

My numbers make this a five-point spread, so I think the line is about right you are not getting much value in that number. However, with the Bucks’ track record on the road and the trends favoring the Celtics, they appear to be the right side here.

Pick: Milwaukee Bucks Team Total Under 110.5 | Lean: Celtics -4.5

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