DraftKings NBA Playoffs

Boston Celtics vs Milwaukee Bucks Preview, Prediction, & Odds (2022 NBA Playoffs)

Two Eastern Conference heavyweights clash in the second round of the NBA playoffs as the second-seeded Boston Celtics face the third-seeded Milwaukee Bucks.  Boston looks as good as any team right now following its impressive four-game sweep of the Brooklyn Nets.  The Bucks looked great in the first round as well, taking care of the Chicago Bulls in five games – even without Khris Middleton for much of the series.  However, Middleton is likely out for the entirety of this upcoming series.  Will the Celtics take advantage?  Or will the defending champion Bucks overcome the injury to their all-star and reach the conference finals for the second straight season?  Let’s break down this matchup and find out.

DraftKings NBA Playoffs

DraftKings Odds 

Bucks in 7 (+700) Celtics in 7 (+300)
Bucks in 6 (+500) Celtics in 6 (+425)
Bucks in 5 (+1400) Celtics in 5 (+360)
Bucks in 4 (+2200) Celtics in 4 (+750)

Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks pummeled the Bulls by an average of 23 points in three straight games after losing game two.  Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the NBA in DARKO’s DPM metric (daily plus-minus, 7.1) and is arguably the best player in basketball at this point.  The reigning finals MVP averaged over 28 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists in the Chicago series.  In these playoffs, Giannis leads the NBA in BPM (box plus-minus, 11.2) and in win shares per 48 minutes (.327).  The Greek Freak was dominant inside against Chicago but shot just two of 13 from the outside, which is a bit concerning.  He’ll need to shoot better from deep and from mid-range in this series.

It is going to come down to how Giannis’s supporting cast plays in this matchup.  Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday are still one of the league’s elite tandem of stars.  Holiday averaged over 18 points and nearly seven assists per game in the regular season.  He ranked in the NBA’s top 30 in VORP (value over replacement player, 2.9) and BPM (3.2) as well.  Holiday is an elite defender and will likely look to shut down Boston’s Marcus Smart.  Holiday is second in the NBA in these playoffs in defensive win shares with 0.5 – right behind Antetokonmpo who has 0.6.  Brook Lopez, Grayson Allen, and Bobby Portis all averaged double-figure points in both the regular season and the first-round playoff series.  They will probably need to do so again if the Bucks are going to win this series.  Boston’s defense is superb, and Milwaukee is going to have to compensate for having its second-leading scorer out.

It will be interesting to see how the Bucks defend Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.  It is nice to have a defensive player of the year on your side if you’re Milwaukee.  The Bucks can always revert to throwing Giannis on Tatum or Brown if need be.  Bobby Portis and Pat Connaughton are solid defenders and will need to perform at the top of their games defensively.  The Bucks did a terrific job on Demar Derozan and Zach LaVine, holding them each to under 21 points per game in the series.  In these playoffs, Milwaukee is number one in the league by a substantial margin in defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions, 94.9).

Boston Celtics

Some might argue that Boston is the team to beat in the East following its sweep of Kevin Durant and the Nets.  Jayson Tatum was phenomenal in the series, averaging 29.5 points and over seven assists per game.  He has established himself as a top ten player in the league and will be relied on to pour in around 30 points per game again in this series.  Jaylen Brown averaged over 22 points in both the regular season and the Nets series.  He is stellar defensively as well.  Marcus Smart won the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award this season and figures to shadow Jure Holiday throughout this series.  Smart also averaged 16.5 points and 7.0 assists per game in the Brooklyn series.  If he can duplicate that performance in this series, Milwaukee is going to be in trouble.

In addition to its star talent, Boston’s defense is what makes this team special.  The Celtics led the league in defensive efficiency in the regular season (107.0) and also allowed the fewest points per game (104.5).  Boston held Kevin Durant to a 39.4% clip from the field and Kyrie Irving to a 43.1% mark in the first round.  Giannis Antetokounmpo presents a much different challenge defensively, however.  Look for Boston to throw a combination of players at the Greek Freak.  Jayson Tatum, Robert Williams, and Al Horford ranked in the top ten in defensive win shares in the regular season.  They will have their work cut out for them with Giannis, though.

Prediction and Betting Analysis

This is going to be a dog fight.  You have two of the league’s best players going up against two of the league’s best defenses.  I like Boston’s role players a little bit more than Milwaukee’s.  Smart is an elite defender and was fabulous offensively against the Nets.  Robert Williams is another stud on defense and you know what you are going to get from Al Horford.  However, the Bucks do have the best player in basketball.  Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are outstanding, but I’ll take the Greek Freak and Jure Holiday over them by a slight margin.

I think this series goes seven games.  This is such an even matchup.  Ultimately, I think the Celtics’ home court might prevail in a game seven, but I cannot see the Bucks losing a game six on their home floor if that opportunity presents itself.  I think we have a solid opportunity to hit a middle here in a potential game seven in Boston.

How to back the Celtics: Celtics in 7 (+300 at DraftKings) 

How to back the Bucks: Bucks +1.5 games (-125 at DraftKings)


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The post Boston Celtics vs Milwaukee Bucks Preview, Prediction, & Odds (2022 NBA Playoffs) appeared first on BettingPros.

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Author: Micheal May