Bucks vs. Celtics NBA Betting Odds & Pick: Giannis, Milwaukee Primed for Quick Start in Boston
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jayson Tatum
- Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks open their season on the road Wednesday agains the Boston Celtics.
- Antetokounmpo, last season's NBA Most Valuable Player, and his team are one of the league's top title contenders.
- Joe Dellera explains why you should lay the points with the Bucks in Boston below.
Bucks vs. Celtics Odds
|Bucks Odds||-3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Celtics Odds||+3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-160/+135 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||225.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
The Bucks and Celtics kick off their seasons after both teams were unceremoniously ousted from the bubble by the eventual Eastern Conference-champion Miami Heat.
Both of these teams have title aspirations this season but while the Bucks have undeniably bolstered their roster, the Celtics will be without one of their big stars to start the season.
The Bucks went all out to secure their future around Giannis Antetokounmpo when they acquired Jrue Holiday in a four-team trade. In the process, Milwaukee moved Eric Bledsoe and George Hill along with a significant amount of draft compensation.
While Holiday is at least as good as Bledsoe defensively, he’s a significant upgrade for the Bucks’ offense. Losing Hill hurts Milwaukee’s depth but when you’re this good, I don’t think it matters, especially in the season opener.
The Bucks will start a big three of Antetokounmpo, Holiday, Khris Middleton. Wow.
I think this offense will be rolling from the get go. Holiday creates offense not just for himself, but for his teammates. Last season, he was in the 84th percentile for assist percentage and the 75th percentile for assists relative to usage (Cleaning the Glass).
He is a floor general on the court and even with the short offseason, I expect his basketball acumen to shine through and make this a seamless transition for the Bucks.
The Celtics will be without Kemba Walker (knee) until at least January, and newly acquired big man, Tristan Thompson (hamstring), is listed as questionable.
Per our Labs Insiders tool, coach Brad Stevens indicated he is still uncertain whether Thompson will play, but even if he is cleared he would be on a minutes limit.
The Celtics will enter this season without Gordon Hayward, who left for the Hornets in free agency, Brad Wanamaker (Warriors) and Enes Kanter (Blazers). Boston’s big additions in the offseason were Thompson and Jeff Teague.
I’ve been a huge proponent of Hayward’s impact for this team and his on/off splits during last regular season was a difference of -5 points per 100 possessions when he was off the court (Cleaning the Glass). When you subtract Walker from lineups, the Celtics were just +1.3 points per 100 possessions due to a paltry 106.7 points scored in those possessions (20th percentile).
Both Walker and Hayward are All-Star-caliber ball handlers and without them, I think this Celtics’ offense will stall. This is a massive hole that Boston is presumably asking Teague to fill unless Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum will be taking over more ball handling duties.
So what do the Celtics have? Well, Brown and Tatum. Both of these players are stars in their own right who have improved each year since they were drafted in 2016 and 2017.
Brown should make a push for an All-Star spot this season, while Tatum looks to improve on his third-team All-NBA honors. Both can provide instant offense and while neither is exactly “pass first,” Tatum has proven to be an efficient passer from the forward position.
Last season, the Bucks took the season series, 2-1. Of note, Brown only played one of those games and Walker was the high scorer in two of the three. Additionally, Tatum averaged just 15.6 points in the season series.
This is a bad matchup for the Celtics. The Bucks have seemingly endless amounts of length to throw at Boston’s wings. And without Hayward and Walker to facilitate this offense, I see Boston struggling to effectively move the ball.
On the other hand, the Bucks are coming off a disappointing playoff exit and will be on an absolute mission to once again dominate the East. They’ve improved on an already dominant regular-season roster and look poised to stifle a shorthanded Celtics squad.
This spread opened at Bucks -2. Considering the lack of fans, I don’t think there’s any real home-court advantage, and this spread indicates that the Bucks are just 2 points better than the Celtics?
I don’t think so. Not given the Celtics’ losses vs the Bucks’ additions. I like this up to -4 but would grab this as soon as possible because it should only trend higher.
Pick: Bucks -3.5