Bucks vs Celtics NBA Odds, Picks and Predictions Tonight

Milwaukee heads to Boston on Christmas Day for the first meeting since the postseason. The Bucks are underdogs looking for revenge and our NBA picks expect them to get just that against the Celtics.

With arguably the best player in the world in Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks (22-10) are expected to be Finals contenders every year. While the start to the season has certainly been fruitful, they have not held control of the Eastern Conference this season.

That distinction goes to the Boston Celtics (23-10), who have sat atop both the East and the entire NBA for the vast majority of the season behind MVP-caliber play from Jayson Tatum.

Continue reading for free NBA picks for the Bucks vs Celtics Christmas day matchup on Sunday, December 25th.

Bucks vs Celtics best odds

Bucks vs Celtics picks and predictions

Ever since Giannis Antentokounmpo ascended to superstardom, the Bucks have been one of the league’s best at avoiding even moderate stretches of poor play. With Milwaukee heading into Christmas on a two-game losing streak, that could spell trouble for the Celtics.

The Bucks have yet to lose three games in a row this season, and they did it just once last year despite missing 15+ games from each of their big three and while only getting 11 games from this year’s current odds-on favorite for Defensive Player of the Year Brook Lopez. They also lost three straight just three times in 2020 and 2019 as well.

Not only do they find ways to cut losing short, but they are also on high alert after a stretch of slow starts as of late. After trailing by double digits at half in three of the last five games, Antetokounmpo was unshy about the Bucks’ need to come out of the gate with more gas.

That will have to be the case against a Celtics team that leads the NBA in first-half scoring with 61.2 points on average (Milwaukee ranks 23rd with 56.3). Boston also leads in average first-half margin (+3.8) but Milwaukee is closer in that regard (ninth with +1.5).

Defending the perimeter will be arguably Milwaukee’s biggest need, with the Celtics ranking sixth in 3-point percentage (37.6%) and third in 3-point frequency (47.7%). Only the Warriors shoot at a higher clip and higher frequency (38.0% and 47.9%, respectively).

As vulnerable as the Bucks have looked in the last two games, the Celtics have looked even more so in the last two weeks. They have lost five of their last seven and their two wins came against the Lakers in overtime and against the Timberwolves, one of the most disappointing teams to start the 2022 season.

Unlike the Bucks, the Celtics have had their fair share of extended struggles. In fact, it was exactly this time last year the Celtics had a 15-game stretch during which they went 5-10 and looked like one of the NBA’s least cohesive teams. Granted, they very clearly turned things around eventually and this year’s losing stretch is no indication that they can’t do the same later.

But the point remains: the Bucks’ have historically cut losing stretches extremely short and their recent first-half play has made them too self-aware for the Celtics to capitalize on arguably the Bucks’ biggest weakness as of late.

My best bet: Bucks moneyline (+162 at Caesars)

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Bucks vs Celtics spread analysis

The spread opened with the Celtics as -4.5 favorites and it has stayed at that number across all markets.

Milwaukee is 17-13-2 against the spread this year, good for the ninth-best record in the league. The Bucks have notably struggled on the road, going 5-8-2 against the spread in that split. They aren’t underdogs often, but they are 2-4 against the spread in such situations.

Boston is 19-14 against the spread, which is the fifth-best cover rate on the season.

The Celtics are tied for the best net rating on the season (+6.0), and Milwaukee ranks seventh (+3.2). However, in the month of December, the script has been flipped: Boston ranks 14th (+0.1) and Milwaukee ranks 11th (+0.5).

Bucks vs Celtics Over/Under analysis

The total opened at 225 and has since moved just a touch up to 225.5.

Despite having this year’s DPOY favorite in Brook Lopez and nine All-Defense selections between Giannis and Jrue Holiday, the Bucks are surprisingly even 16-16 on totals this year. On the road they are much better at limiting the scoring, going 10-5 to the Under in that split.

Boston also has a widespread reputation as a stout defensive team, but that reputation similarly does not outplace market valuation as the Celtics are 16-15-2 to the Over this season. Things have played much more favorably to the Under as of late, going 7-2-1 that way in the last ten.

Both Boston and Milwaukee rank around league average in pace. Points off of turnovers are an easy way for a total to get run-up, and Milwaukee’s 20th-ranked turnover rate is cornering in that regard. However, the Bucks are one of the league’s best at getting back on defense, allowing the seventh-lowest points off turnovers.

The other easy way to run up totals is free throw attempts, and both teams are disciplined in that regard. The Celtics send opposing players to the charity stripe and the fifth-lowest rate (21.4 FTA per game) and Milwaukee does so at the second-lowest (20.5).

Bucks vs Celtics betting trend to know

The Celtics are 7-2-1 to the Under in their last 10 (they were 14-8-1 to the Over prior to that) and the Bucks are 10-5 to the Under as road underdogs. Find more NBA betting trends for Bucks vs. Celtics.

Bucks vs Celtics game info

Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Date: Sunday, December 25, 2022
Tip off: 5:00 pm ET
TV: ABC, ESPN, Sportsnet

Bucks vs Celtics key injuries

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