MILWAUKEE BUCKS (26-38)
at BOSTON CELTICS (46-17)
Tip-off: Sunday, 6:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Boston -9.5, Total: 180.5
The Celtics have hit a mini-slump, but they have a great chance to break out of it Sunday evening when they host Milwaukee.
Boston has dropped back-to-back games (and four straight ATS defeats), a stunning home loss to the Clippers and a road loss in Philadelphia. However, the Celtics will be hosting a Bucks team that’s not only banged up, but also has less than 21 hours of recovery time after hosting the 76ers Saturday night. Three key players in their frontcourt didn’t play in Saturday night’s win — Ersan Ilyasova (concussion), Drew Gooden (foot) and Corey Maggette (knee) — meaning they’re all questionable at best for Sunday. Odds.
The Bucks have impressed with their shorter roster though. They’ve rung off three SU wins in a row, and four straight ATS. While their three SU wins haven’t been over elite competition, they have been in blowout fashion. They beat Washington on the road by 19, Cleveland at home by 20, and Philadelphia at home Saturday night by 28. They continue to do it with outstanding defense. Since the All-Star break, they’re allowing just 89.6 PPG.
These teams met in Milwaukee on March 6 and played a tight one. It was tied with less than three minutes to go before the Bucks went ice cold down the stretch. However, they played that game without Andrew Bogut, who led them with 17 points and nine rebounds against Philly on Saturday night. And despite the Bucks being 7-10 SU with zero days rest, they’re 11-6 ATS playing the tail end of back-to-backs this season. Scores.
Considering these teams like to keep the tempo low, and the Celtics just haven’t been playing particularly well of late, that spread is too big for my liking. I’m picking Milwaukee, which is 7-1-1 ATS in the past nine meetings between these teams, including 4-0 ATS in Boston. The FoxSheets have some numbers that go against the Celtics, including:
Play On – Any team (MILWAUKEE) – double revenge – 2 straight losses vs. opponent, off 2 consecutive home wins by 10 points or more. (45-17 over the last 5 seasons.) (72.6%, +26.3 units. Rating = 3*).
Play Against – Home favorites of 3.5 to 9.5 points (BOSTON) – after being beaten by the spread by 18 or more points total in their last three games against opponent after going under the total by 48 or more points total in their last ten games. (55-28 over the last 5 seasons, 66.3%, +24.2 units. Rating = 2*).
Because Boston ranks second in the NBA in scoring defense (91.8 PPG) and Milwaukee is third, at 92.3 PPG, it’s tempting to take the Under in Sunday’s matchup, but this FoxSheets trend sides with the Over. Las Vegas odds.
Play Over – Road teams where the total is between 180 and 189.5 points (MILWAUKEE) – after successfully covering the spread in 2 or more consecutive games, with a losing record. (77-45 over the last 5 seasons.) (63.1%, +27.5 units. Rating = 2*).