Jayson Tatum clapping

Apr 25, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) claps from the bench during the fourth quarter of game four of the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. The Celtics defeated the Nets 116-112 to win the best of seven series 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

  • The Milwaukee Bucks open Round 2 of the NBA Playoffs on the road against the Boston Celtics (May 1)
  • Milwaukee ousted the Chicago Bulls in five games, while Boston swept Brooklyn
  • See the Bucks vs Celtics Game 1 odds, preview and prediction below

It’s the juggernauts vs the defending champs, in easily the best matchup in Round 2 of the NBA Playoffs.

The 2-seed Boston Celtics will host the 3rd-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of their best-of-7 series, with a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals on the line.

It all gets underway Sunday (May 1) from TD Garden in Beantown at 1pm ET. The game will be seen live on ABC.

The visiting Bucks are 5-point underdogs in Game 1.

Bucks vs Celtics Game 1 Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
Milwaukee Bucks +175 +5.0 (-110) Ov 218 (-110)
Boston Celtics -210 -5.0 (-110) Un 218 (-110)

Odds as of April 27th at DraftKings

Injury Report

The biggest question mark is the availability of Bucks’ all-star forward Khris Middleton, who suffered a sprained MCL in Game 2 of the first round. The only update so far is that he’ll be re-evaluated the first week of May.

Veteran backup point guard George Hill is dealing with an abdomen injury, and will likely be a game-time decision for Game 1.

The Celtics have no players on their injury report.

Bucks Betting Analysis

After a Game 2 loss to the Bulls to even their series 1-1, and Middleton out for the series, it looked as though Milwaukee could be on the ropes. Instead, they eviscerated the Bulls in three straight games.

The went on the road and crushed Chicago in Games 3 and 4, winning by a combined 54 points, before coming home and wrapping things up Wednesday night in a 116-100 win.

Giannis Antetokounmpo looked every bit the reigning Finals MVP in the opening-round series, finishing with 33 points and nine rebounds to close out the Bulls.

Middleton’s lost production in the series was supplied by guard Grayson Allen. After totalling just three points across the first two games of the series, he couldn’t miss in Chicago.

In Game 3, he went 5-for-7 from downtown en route to 22 points and six rebounds. Allen upped that mark in Game 3, hitting 6-for-7 from downtown for 27 points.

Jrue Holiday, Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis made it five Bucks players to average double digits in the series. They’re going to need to continue to diversify the offense, as Boston’s defense will definitely center around not letting Giannis beat them.

Celtics Betting Analysis

Make no mistake, Boston is a real threat to the throne, as evidenced by their current 2nd-best 2022 NBA Championship odds.

A 31-10 run to finish of the regular season was nice, and no one really knew how much weight to put on their league-best rank defensive rating, while holding teams to an NBA-best 104.5 points per game.

Boston flexed big time in Round 1 after sweeping the Brooklyn Nets out of the playoffs.

Don’t let the Nets’ series stats confuse you: they shot 50.3% from the field, 42.3% from downtown and lost four games by a combined 18 points. Watching the series, however, and minus a close Game 1, it was total domination.

Boston limited all-world Kevin Durant to 19-for-52 shooting with 17 turnovers through the first three games of the series. After Kyrie Irving lit them up for 39 in Game 1, he was held to 46 over the next three games on 37.2% shooting.

Irving also shot just 2-for-11 from three point range, not hitting a single triple in Games 2 and 3.

On the offensive end, Boston is powered by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, easily the two best players in their series. Tatum averaged 29.5 points, 7.3 assists and 4.5 rebounds while shooting a crisp 41.9% from deep. Brown chipped in 22.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists, while shooting 49.3% from the field.

They also have a fully locked-in Marcus Smart. The freshly minted Defensive Player of the Year, Smart also posted 16.5 points, four rebounds and seven assists against the Nets.

Bucks vs Celtics Pick

Milwaukee played at the third highest pace in the regular season, and that’s the spot they currently occupy in the playoffs too.

Boston will try to slow them down in the halfcourt, where they have the decided advantage, and we’ll see if their defense can turn the Bucks over like they did against BK.

The Celtics used that smothering defense to force Brooklyn into 15.3 turnovers a game, which helped them score 21.3 points off turnovers (third in the playoffs) and 18 fast-break points (1st).

Giannis is at the peak of his powers, and should be able to find his groove against the Celtics. He’s a career 7-5 in the postseason against Boston, averaging 26.8 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals.

This is going to be dynamite to watch. Even without Middleton, there’s a lot of firepower on these rosters, so look for the scoreboard to light up in Game 1.

The pick: OVER 218 (-110)

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