NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions: Your Guide To Betting Celtics vs. Bucks, Grizzlies vs. Warriors On Friday
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Stephen Curry (front), Klay Thompson (middle), and Jordan Poole (rear) of the Golden State Warriors.
NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions
It’s officially gut-check time for both No. 2 seeds in the 2022 NBA Playoffs.
The Boston Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies find themselves trailing in their respective series and on the road entering their Game 6 matchups on Friday night. While the Grizzlies are riding the momentum of a dominant win, the Celtics are reeling after losing a winnable game at home.
So how should you approach betting these crucial matchups? Our NBA betting experts dig into the need-to-knows for Friday night’s doubleheader, outlining their best bets for both Game 6s.
Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Raheem Palmer: The NBA Playoffs are a war of attrition. As teams battle for the chance to win an NBA title, they wear down, they get tired and in the worst case scenarios, they often get hurt as we saw from Bucks swingman Khris Middleton who injured his knee in Round 1.
We’ve reached Game 6 of this series and the adjustments are all but done. These teams know each others moves and plays and the only thing left to do is out-execute one another — far from easy when you’re looking at a matchup between two of the league’s best defenses.
The Bucks have the NBA’s best playoff defense, holding opposing teams to 1.02 points per possession while the Celtics were the league’s best defense during the regular season holding teams to 1.06 points per possession. This hasn’t been a high-scoring series and we should expect that to low scoring to continue in Game 6 given how well these teams know each other.
Unders have been historically profitable in the NBA postseason as they’ve gone 81-63 (56.3%) since 2003 which gives you a big enough edge to break the 52.38% threshold needed to make a profit.
I’ll take a the under 212 in what should be a low-scoring war as the Bucks look to close out the series and the Celtics look to keep their season alive.
Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Brandon Anderson: The Celtics may have played their best game of the series in Game 5.
And even that still wasn’t enough to put the Bucks away. Milwaukee’s floor is just higher than Boston’s, and it’s close enough to Boston’s limited offensive ceiling against this great Bucks defense that even when the Celtics are playing great ball against a team not even playing that well, Boston just can’t pull away.
The Celtics should’ve been up 15 or 20 points much of that game. Instead, they floated around 10 far too long, and that left the door cracked for Milwaukee to get just hot enough for just long enough to squeeze through.
It feels like bad news if Boston’s A game isn’t good enough to put away Milwaukee’s C- effort. That’s especially true with the venue change, since Boston’s role players are unlikely to play and shoot as well on the road, and since Milwaukee is likely to get a much kinder whistle at home, leading to the more physical game it wants.
Boston could absolutely still take this game, and the Celtics could win the series and more. They’re still live for the title.
But for one game, we’re getting the defending champs returning home with all the home court advantages we’ve seen so prevalent in these playoffs, we’re getting the best player in the world at the top of his game, and we’re getting it all at nearly even odds. That’s just too much for me to walk away from. Milwaukee has had the physicality edge.
It has by far the best player, a man who Boston seems to have run out of answers for other than just hoping he gets tired. The Bucks even found an answer to Boston’s scoring by switching defensively late in the game, stagnating the Celtics ball movement and forcing them into iso jumpers.
I pushed my chips into the middle on Milwaukee before Game 5, playing Bucks to cover, win, win the series in six at +400, and win the title at +800. It was ugly, and it never should’ve happened, but the Bucks were good enough to hang around and give themselves a shot, and that’s why they should’ve never been nearly 2-1 underdogs.
Boston is arguably just as good, but the books are not giving us that number, instead letting us take the home team with the momentum, the physical edge, and the best player at near even odds. I have to take it and expect the champs to put Boston away for good this time.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Golden State Warriors
Anderson: Sooo, Game 5 happened. It certainly happened.
The Grizzlies absolutely thrashed the Warriors in front of a raucous home crowd. You might even say they whooped that trick. The game was already over at the half at 77-50. At that point, Memphis had 13 more rebounds and 18 more shots, and the Warriors already had 14 turnovers. The Grizzlies finished with 37 assists and shot 44% on 3s, but this wasn’t just shot variance. One team showed up and the other one took the day off mentally.
Does that really surprise you, though? We’ve seen this from the Warriors before. This is a super high-variance team. When things go right, they look unbeatable, but things can get really ugly too. I’m not sure we learned much from Game 5 other than Otto Porter’s injury possibly being meaningful here and down the road and the Warriors blowing a big rest opportunity before next round.
Still, it’s hard not to see a team with this much of a talent advantage finding some answers and figuring things out in this very winnable home spot. Expect Draymond Green to have the team mentally ready, much more than they apparently were last game, and able to hang physically.
The Grizzlies will show up too, though, Ja Morant or not. We know this team will fight hard, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see them hang around for awhile. And that’s why I’m just going back to Old Faithful on this bet: Warriors third-quarter dominance at home.
The Warriors had the league’s second-best home record all season and have been outstanding in the third quarter, especially at home. The role players have been far better at home too, especially X factor Jordan Poole. Maybe the Grizzlies hang around for awhile, but that Warriors home avalanche is always coming.
I’ll bet on the Warriors either coming back or putting it away in the third quarter and put away the undermanned Grizzlies for good.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Golden State Warriors
Munaf Manji: The Warriors will look to avenge their embarrassing 39-point loss in Memphis on Wednesday night, while the Grizzlies hope to build on the momentum on the road. As good as the Grizzlies were in Game 5, there is player who is struggling to say the least during this postseason and that is Dillon Brooks.
Thus far in this series against the Warriors, Brooks has played significant minutes in three games. Brooks, of course, missed Game 4 due to a one game suspension for the flagrant foul on Gary Payton II. However, his struggles go beyond that.
Brooks has not scored more than 12 points in a single game against the Warriors this series. His woeful shooting numbers (22% from the floor, 18.1% from deep) tell the story of how difficult this matchup has been for him.
Even if you exclude the game where Brooks was ejected after playing just two minutes, he is still averaging just 14.5 points per game for the playoffs and he hasn’t made more than five field goals in any of the games against the Warriors in this series.
Tonight, I am expecting much of the same from Brooks as the Warriors’ defense to be locked in. I will continue to fade Brooks tonight.
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