The Bucks and Celtics played seven games in a playoff series last season and meet again in this year’s playoffs, beginning with Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinals affair Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee (1 pm ET, ABC). The Bucks are the betting favorites for Game 1, but by too much? And which way are we going here with our free NBA playoffs pick?
Game 1 Betting Odds
NBA playoff betting odds opened the Bucks at -7.5 for Game 1, with an over/under of 224. Early betting action then dipped that total to 223.
Game 1 Set-Up
Boston finished 49-33 during the regular season, then just swept Indiana in four games in the first round of these playoffs, three wins coming by single digits. On the whole the Celtics are 8-1 straight up, 6-2-1 against the spread over their last nine games.
Milwaukee, meanwhile, finished with the best record in the NBA this season at 60-22. The Bucks then swept Detroit in four games, by margins of 36, 21, 16 and 23 points, in the first round of these playoffs. So Milwaukee is 7-2 SU, 6-3 ATS over its last nine games.
The Celtics clinched their series victory last Sunday, while the Bucks clinched theirs Monday. So both teams are plenty rested for the opener of this series.
Celtics-Bucks Recent History
Milwaukee took the season series from Boston this year two games to one, winning the most recent meeting back in February 98-97. The Bucks out-shot the Celtics from the floor in those three games combined 47 percent to 40 percent, and won the rebounding battle all three games.
Last April Boston beat the Bucks in seven games in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The home team finished 7-0 SU, 6-1 ATS in that series.
NBA Playoffs Betting Trends
Boston finished 21-20 SU, 19-21 ATS on the road during the regular season, then won and covered two games at Indiana during that first-round sweep.
Milwaukee finished 33-8 SU, 23-16 ATS at home this season, and won and covered both games at home during that first-round sweep of the Pistons.
Through Friday home teams are 21-19 SU, 20-19-1 ATS in these NBA playoffs.
The Bucks went 27-22 ATS this season when favored by single digits.
The Celtics went 8-9 ATS this season as underdogs.
The overs finished 47-35 in Boston games during the regular season, but the unders went 3-1 in that first-round series against the Pacers.
The overs finished 42-40 in Milwaukee games during the regular season, then went 3-1 in the first round against Detroit.
The overs are 2-1 in Celtics-Bucks games this season.
Free NBA Pick
Of three meetings between these teams this season two were close. And while Milwaukee didn’t miss Malcolm Brogdon in the first round against the Pistons they might here. Boston might not win this Game 1 but we’re siding with the Celtics plus the points.