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Bucks vs Celtics Picks, Prediction Tonight | Best Bet for Wednesday

Bucks vs Celtics Picks, Prediction Tonight | Best Bet for Wednesday article feature image

Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics dribbles the ball against Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks in the second half at Fiserv Forum. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Bucks vs Celtics Picks, Prediction Tonight | Best Bet for Wednesday

Wednesday, Nov 22
7:30pm ET
Celtics to Cover the Spread

Here's everything you need to know about Bucks vs Celtics with our expert Bucks vs Celtics picks and prediction tonight for the best bet for Wednesday.

The most likely Eastern Conference Finals outcome, according to Vegas, gets its first matchup of the season tonight.

The Boston Celtics have again been a regular season buzzsaw, and the Milwaukee Bucks have quietly gotten to 10 wins, which you wouldn't have known based on what's being said about their play — much of it warranted, to be fair.

Find my Bucks vs. Celtics prediction and picks below.

Bucks vs Celtics Prediction

Pick: Celtics -4.5 | Play to -5.5

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Bucks Betting Preview

It's weird to label the Bucks' 10-4 record as underwhelming, but it certainly feels that way.

Through 14 games, all you can do is beat your schedule, but of their 10 wins, they've beaten just three I'd consider absolute playoff teams: The Philadelphia 76ers, the Miami Heat, and the New York Knicks. I think the Brooklyn Nets could make it, and the Dallas Mavericks got off to a great start, but it's November; we're still working through who is fraudulent and who isn't.

The Bucks now have a +3.0 net rating after being one of two 7-4 teams to have a negative net rating three games ago. They're currently on a five-game winning streak against the murderers' row of Chicago, Toronto, Charlotte, Dallas and Washington.

Again, you beat your schedule, but defensively is where the Bucks have been exposed so far. The Bucks score the fifth most points per 100 possessions (119.2) but allow the ninth most (116.2), and the eight teams who are worse are: Utah, Charlotte, San Antonio, Washington, Indiana, Dallas, Detroit and Atlanta. A couple playoff teams, couple fun teams, but none we'd consider contenders — Milwaukee has to be.

Their offense has clearly been their calling card, as they even lead the NBA in effective field goal percentage at 58.1 percent.

The Bucks defense has generated an 11.2 turnover percentage, tied for fourth worst in the league, and this comes while playing at the sixth fastest pace in the league (101.3). Too many indicators are that the Bucks aren't that good — because they're around teams you couldn't dare say have title hopes — or just haven't found it yet.

What does it look like for Milwaukee? Perhaps that's a story for another day.

Oh, and the Bucks have losses to Atlanta (by 17 at home!), Toronto, Indiana and Orlando. They're 4-3 on the road, 1-3 until recently.

Their counterparts in Boston look damn good, though, and that's an issue today.

Celtics Betting Preview

The Celtics are 11-3 but are again beloved by the nerd numbers to begin the regular season — there are jokes that tell themselves that I'll avoid in order to keep this moving.

Joey Mazz and Dem Boyz have a +10.8 net rating, first in the league by nearly two points over the Philadelphia 76ers (+9.1), who they beat in Philly last week.

They're also top six in: points per 100 possessions (118.6), fewest points allowed per 100 possessions (107.8), lowest effective field goal percentage allowed (50.7), opponent free throws per field goal attempt (.152) — meaning they don't give you many free throws, which Milwaukee tries to incorporate offensively and are tied for sixth best at doing so (.232).

The Celtics also, more than anyone in the league, have been living by the 3-ball. The Cs take a league-high 48.8 percent of their shots from three, and in turn, they hoist a league-low 51.2 percent of twos this season. From three, they're actually just 13th in percentage at 36.4 but average the second-most makes per game (15.9).

The Celtics have had real wins this season so far.

They've beaten the Knicks in New York (and blew them out in Boston), they've held off the Heat in Miami, blew out the darling Pacers by 51 points and have the aforementioned road win over Philly. Of their three losses, the only one in regulation came against the 76ers in Philly on November 8. Otherwise, they've only lost in overtime games, in which they're actually 0-2. On November 6, they lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves and on Monday, they were stunned by the Charlotte Hornets.

To date, the Celtics, who'll welcome Milwaukee in Boston tonight, are a perfect 5-0 at home and +112 in those games.

Bucks vs Celtics Picks, Odds

Wednesday, Nov 22
7:30pm ET
Bucks Odds
-110o / -110u
Celtics Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

I took the Celtics at -4.5 when the line initially dropped on Tuesday afternoon at -110. It's moving a bit, but I do like it up to -5.5 — even though I generally hate basketball spreads between -3.5 to -8.5 (it's a whole thing, I'll explain another time).

Milwaukee winning would just defy everything we know about this season one month into it, which is always entirely possible because this is a long season and **** happens. Hey, often, that's why we lose some bets — **** happens.

But based on the one month of visual evidence, the data, the actual basketball on the court, the Celtics being undefeated at home while the Bucks don't have nearly the seasonal resume yet, all signs should point to a Celtic victory. I like them at -4.5 and up to -5.5.

Pick: Celtics -4.5 | Play to -5.5

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Nick Sterling
Feb 23, 2024 UTC