Al Horford

May 9, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; jBoston Celtics center Al Horford (42) shouts out after being fouled in the second half during game four of the second round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

  • The Boston Celtics put in another epic fourth-quarter performance to win Game 4
  • Boston has regained homecourt advantage and become a -190 series favorite
  • Where’s the betting value lie for the remainder of this series?

Inspired by a massive night from Al Horford, the Boston Celtics defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 4 on Monday to tie up their Eastern Conference second-round series. The series returns to Boston on Wednesday with the Celtics once again owning homecourt advantage.

The Celtics’ price to win the series has moved to -190 at FanDuel. Milwaukee has slipped to +160.

Books are now expecting this series to go seven, with a price of -120 on this going to a decider compared with -105 on a six-game series. What has already been a thrilling matchup took several more twists and turns on Monday night, including Robert Williams sitting out the game due to knee soreness.

Celtics vs Bucks Series Odds

Matchup Moneyline
Boston Celtics -190
Milwaukee Bucks +160

Odds as of May 10 at FanDuel Sportsbook

Celtics Fight Back

Boston overturned a second-half deficit to claim Game 4. The series was all but over if the Bucks had gone up 3-1, but the Cs managed to dominate the final period, scoring 43 points while holding the Bucks to 28. Al Horford and Jayson Tatum combined for 60 on the night, while Milwaukee’s fourth-quarter offense was lost at times in Khris Middleton’s absence.

A Bucks win on Monday night would have shortened their NBA Championship odds. Instead, Mike Budenholzer is left searching for further adjustments after his team shot 41.5% from the field in Game 4.

Horford was spectacular at both ends, nailing jumpers and attacking off the bounce when required. His defense was once again stellar regardless of the assignment. Tatum nailed several big shots down the stretch. Without Middleton, Milwaukee is short on firepower to keep pace with Boston. Jrue Holiday scoring 16 points in 41 minutes is rarely going to be a winning formula for the defending champions.

Looking Ahead to Game 5

The Bucks need more from Holiday in Bucks vs Celtics Game 5 if they are to win this series. He has averaged 25 in their two wins, and not reached the 20-point mark in either of their losses. While that is a reductive way to look at his contributions, it’s a sign of his importance to their offense. There is going to be a degree of three-point shooting variance from Grayson Allen, Wes Matthews and Pat Connaughton — Milwaukee needs more reliable production from Holiday.

Boston is obviously going to be the happier team as the series heads east. They took Game 4 with Jaylen Brown scoring only 18 points and with Grant Williams being held to 25 minutes due to some foul trouble. They are unlikely to get another 30-point night from Horford, but his Monday performance has ultimately swung this series back in their favor.

The Celtics’ defense hit another level down the stretch. Giannis Antetokounmpo was made to work hard for his points, and they held him to several jump shots. We saw in Game 1 that Milwaukee’s defense can be just as dominant on the road, but it’s a big ask to repeat that.

Celtics Represent Better Value

Milwaukee’s 108 points in their Game 4 loss was the most they’ve scored in a game this series. It’s been a matchup dominated by elite defense thus far, and that pattern is unlikely to alter. With Horford, Tatum, Brown and a sprinkling of Marcus Smart, Boston’s offense has the advantage with the Bucks still missing Middleton.

Boston taking Game 4 clearly gives them the edge. The -190 price is fair. They are the better overall team at this stage, and Middleton’s absence is likely to become a bigger factor the longer this series goes on. His ability to create his own shot has been, and will continue to be, sorely missed, particularly in halfcourt situations late in games.

Still, the presence of Antetokounmpo and the ceiling of this Bucks defense makes it easy enough to talk yourself into the Bucks. Would anyone be surprised to see the two-time MVP dominate the next two games and carry Milwaukee to the next round?

The Celtics are marginally better value ahead of Game 5 with homecourt and what we saw in Game 4, but anything is possible with the best player in the world in the postseason.

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