The desperate Boston Celtics will look to pull off the confidence-boosting upset when they visit the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.
Losers in four of their last five games, the C’s are entering “desperation mode” as they look to right a ship gone horribly off-course. Boston is suddenly in eighth place in the crowded Eastern Conference, just 1.5 games ahead of Chicago and Indiana.
While things are a mess in Beantown, that’s not the case in Milwaukee. The Bucks are the hottest team in the league heading into Tuesday night as winners of seven straight. Milwaukee is in third place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game back of second-place Brooklyn Nets, and 1.5 games behind the Philadelphia 76ers.
Do the Celtics have a real shot to get the sportsbook betting upset? Are the Bucks the easy pick to cash in against the ATS spread? The NBA odds for all 11 Wednesday night matchups will go live following Tuesday’s six-game slate of action.
Team Meeting Won’t Help C’s Solve Their Problems
The Celtics had a team meeting after losing their third straight game on Friday night. Boston beat the Orlando Magic 112-96 on Sunday, but their team meeting didn’t help in Monday’s 132-126 overtime loss against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Jaylen Brown scored a team-high 27 points and Jeff Teague finished with a season-high 26 points. Boston was without starters Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum and the Celtics couldn’t contain Memphis superstar point guard Ja Morant.
“We had this one,” Brown said, later adding: “It’s definitely one we want back. We played hard to get back into the game. There’s still a lot of stuff we’ve got to clean up.”
“When you are missing guys like Jayson and Kemba, you have to win with a better defense,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “I think that’s what we’ve been able to do in the past.”
Boston’s once perennially powerful defense is now ranked a modest 14th in points allowed (111.3 ppg). Offensively, the Celtics are ranked a modest 17th in scoring (112.0 ppg). Boston has gone a dismal 8-15 SU and 7-16 ATS on the road this season.
Bucks Have Familiar Look Again
Following some early-season struggles, Milwaukee is playing its best basketball of the season right now. The Bucks are riding a seven-game winning streak into this contest that includes a stunning 140-113 blowout win over Indiana on Monday – without Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Jrue Holiday had 28 points and 14 assists to lead the way and the Bucks shot an incendiary 61.5% from 3-point range and 56.4% overall.
“When somebody like our best player is not playing that night, we kind of lock-in,” Holiday said. “Everybody has to do a little bit more. It’s a testament to the team we have.”
Milwaukee is ranked an uninspiring 19th in points allowed (112.5 ppg), but the Bucks are putting up a healthy 120.0 points per game to rank second in scoring. Milwaukee is an identical fourth in field goal shooting percentage (48.7%) and three-point shooting percentage (39.1%).
Celtics (21-22) vs Bucks (29-14) Game Information
- When: Wednesday, March 24, 2021, at 7:30 p.m. ET
- Where: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
- Celtics vs Bucks Live Stream: NBA Game Pass
Don’t Trust The C’s
Antetokounmpo might not be available for this matchup, but I still don’t trust Boston. Yes, the Celtics got past the Bucks 122-121 at home on Dec. 23 as a 4.5-point underdog, but Milwaukee has won seven of the last 10 meetings. The Bucks are 5-3 ATS in the last eight meetings and 13-9 ATS at home this season.
With or without the Greek Freak, Milwaukee gets it done to send a message to the struggling C’s should they meet in the playoffs.