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NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Bucks vs. Celtics, Warriors vs. Grizzlies (May 1)

NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Bucks vs. Celtics, Warriors vs. Grizzlies (May 1) article feature image
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Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Poole #3 of the Golden State Warriors.

Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs is in the books. Sunday marks the start of Conference semifinals with a pair of awesome matchups on the slate: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors vs. Memphis Grizzlies.

Each team on today’s slate is elite in its own right and our crew of NBA analysts betting tonight’s double-header in four different ways. Check out our Sunday best bets below.

NBA Odds & Picks

Click on a pick to skip ahead
Bucks vs. Celtics Spread
1 p.m. ET
Bucks vs. Celtics Team Total
1 p.m. ET
Bucks vs. Celtics Player Prop
1 p.m. ET
Warriors vs. Grizzlies Spread
3:30 p.m. ET
Warriors vs. Grizzlies Spread
3:30 p.m. ET

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics

Pick
Celtics -4.5
Book
Caesars
Tipoff
1 p.m. ET
TV
ABC

Austin Wang: After completing a first round sweep of the Brooklyn Nets, the Boston Celtics look dangerous and poised to make a push for the championship. The road continues on Sunday against the defending champions, Milwaukee Bucks.

They completed the sweep on Monday evening, so they’ve had an opportunity to get an extra few days of rest. This is crucial as Robert Williams III is still recovering from a torn meniscus and Jaylen Brown is nursing a hamstring injury.

The big news on the Bucks’ front is Khris Middleton will likely be absent this entire series with a Grade 2 sprained MCL. Middleton is a beast on both sides of the ball. The Bucks may still have been able to squeak by the Bulls in Round 1, but this is a huge step in class from the Bulls to the Celtics.

The Celtics are the top-rated defensive team in the league, and have found their touch on the offensive side of the ball, finishing the season eighth in Offensive Rating. The Bucks have struggled with their defense and I don’t anticipate they will have the same success as they did vs. Chicago.

The Celtics have been very good against the spread versus the Bucks in recent seasons. They are 9-1 ATS in this matchup dating back to the 2019-2020 season, per our Bet Labs tool. In addition, the Celtics won and covered in all four games at home during this same timeframe.

The Bucks are 2-5 straight up and 0-7 ATS in their last seven Game 1s, dating back to the 2019-2020 season. They have struggled in this spot and I see this trend continuing.

The Celtics are the healthier, more well-rested team with the better defense. I’m taking Boston to come out and assert their dominance against the defending champs. I’m playing this at -4.5 and would play it up to -5.


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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics

Pick
Bucks Under 106.5
Book
BetMGM
Tipoff
1 p.m. ET
TV
ABC

Matt Moore: The Bucks always start slow. It’s bizarre, but true. In Game 1s under Mike Budenholzer, the Bucks team total has gone under in nine of out of 10 games. Milwaukee has shot five percentage points below expectation in all those games. They quite simply miss the looks they should hit in these games. It even extends to unimpressive teams like Chicago in the first round. The only time they went over their team total was against the Pistons in the first round back in 2019.

Meanwhile, the Celtics are the best defense in the league with a switch-heavy scheme that will make life difficult for the the Bucks without Khris Middleton.

In the range of outcomes, the Bucks can win a grind-it-out defensive battle and can lose something similar or in a blowout but it’s very unlikely they put up a big number on the Boston defense, in Boston, in this Game 1.


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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics

Pick
Grayson Allen Over 10.5 Points
Book
BetMGM
Tipoff
1 p.m. ET
TV
ABC

Joe Dellera: Grayson Allen has been an absolute savage without Khris Middleton this year and has continued to thrive during the playoffs.

On the season he sees a significant uptick in his usage and scoring without Middleton. He jumps from 9.3 PPG with him to 17.9 PPG without him and he’s coming off of 13, 27, 22 against the Bulls in the three games Middleton missed.

This Celtics’ defense is much better than the Bulls’ but they still allow 3-point attempts at about a league average rate, and he will have Giannis and Jrue Holiday taking the attention off of him.

His points prop is currently at 10.5 after being immediately bet up from 9.5. He has cleared this line in 13-of-16 games without Middleton, and it’s simply too low for this game against the Celtics. Trust him to do so even against Boston’s league leading defense.

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Golden State Warriors vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Pick
Warriors -2
Book
Caesars
Tipoff
3:30 p.m. ET
TV
ABC

Brandon Anderson: The Grizzlies were the last team to survive Round 1, and that may be telling. Memphis struggled to put Minnesota away and looked the inferior team much of the series. Credit the Grizzlies for three double-digit comebacks, but Memphis also dug itself that deep hole repeatedly and that part matters too.

It also matters that Memphis just gutted out a win late Friday night before a Sunday afternoon tip. The Warriors are rested and have had time to prepare for this matchup, while the Grizz had very little time to recover or look ahead. Golden State’s offense is especially good early in series, before teams have a chance to adjust to all the movement and cutting. This is not the team you want to face on short rest or preparation.

Golden State turnovers will be a problem this series, no doubt. But I’m not sure where else Memphis has a real advantage. The Grizzlies really struggled to score against the Wolves when it wasn’t in transition or second chance. Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks shot 42% on a combined 24 2-point attempts per game. That is bad offense. If Memphis couldn’t score on Minnesota, how in the world will the Grizzlies score on this elite Warriors defense?

The numbers are not kind to teams on short rest on Game 1, at home or not. If this game were in San Francisco, the Warriors would be huge favorites and a threat to run away in front of a home crowd. Memphis doesn’t have to travel and gets the home advantage, but that swing might just be buying us value on the Warriors since we get this under a bucket.

Going from Minnesota to Golden State will be jarring, and multiple steps up the ladder for Memphis. I like the Warriors to get the job done in Game 1 and take control of the series early. I’m also looking to play the Warriors on the series. You can parlay a Game 1 and series win for +115 at DraftKings. I also like playing both Warriors to win in five (+450) and six (+280). Memphis is good to to get swept but I’m not sure they get this to seven either.

If the Warriors use this rest advantage to grab Game 1, they control the series going forward with Games 3, 4, and 6 coming with that huge Oracle home court advantage. If you like Golden State here, you have to like them in the series too.


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Golden State Warriors vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Pick
Warriors -2
Book
Caesars
Tipoff
3:30 p.m. ET
TV
ABC

Moore: Despite Memphis significantly more money than the ticket count, which indicates big money coming in on the Grizzlies, the line has moved a full point at some books from -1.5 to -2.5, indicating that the money that matters, sharp money, is moving it towards Golden State.

That’s probably in part because of how Golden State has looked fully healthy. the way the Grizzlies underperformed vs. the Wolves, and the tactical problems that the Warriors’ switch-all defense will provide.

But a bigger issue might simply be rest. According to Bet Labs, underdogs in Game 1 coming off two days between games are 17-21 (44%) ATS. Dogs are also 13-39 straight up in those Game 1’s, though this does mark just the third time since 2003 that the home team in a Game 1 with two days off has been a dog.

Steve Kerr is 13-10 ATS all-time in Game 1s. Ja Morant openly said after Game 6 Friday night that he and the team were tired. This is a choice spot for the Warriors to jump on Memphis and take home-court right from the start of the series.


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