Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks Game 3 odds, picks and predictions

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The No. 2 seed Boston Celtics (1-1) meet the No. 3 seed Milwaukee Bucks (1-1) Saturday for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series at Fiserv Forum. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC). Below, we look at the Celtics vs. Bucks odds and lines, and make our expert NBA picks, predictions and bets.

Boston bounced back from a double-digit Game 1 loss (101-89) to even the series with a 109-86 blowout victory in Game 2 Tuesday. The Celtics outperformed the Bucks in three of the “four factors” and made a franchise-playoff record 20 3-pointers.

Celtics All-Star wings Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are averaging a combined 46.0 points in this series on 44.9% shooting and 47.4% from 3-point land.

Milwaukee’s 2-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has struggled to find his groove offensively in this series. Giannis has a 39.4% effective field-goal shooting rate (38.5% from the field and 16.7% behind the arc).

The Celtics are 8-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last 9 meetings with the Bucks. The Over/Under is 6-3 in those contests.

Also seeBet Slippin’ Podcast: NBA conference semifinals Game 3 betting previews

Celtics at Bucks odds and lines

  • Money line (ML): Celtics +105 (bet $100 to win $105) | Bucks -130 (bet $130 to win $100)
  • Against the spread: Celtics +1.5 (-107) | Bucks -1.5 (-115)
  • Over/Under: 212.5 (O: -110 | U: -110)

Celtics at Bucks key injuries

Celtics

  • PG Marcus Smart (thigh) probable

Bucks

  • PG George Hill (abdominal) probable
  • SF Khris Middleton (knee) out

Celtics at Bucks picks and predictions

Prediction

Bucks 111, Celtics 106

Money line

GIMME the BUCKS (-130).

They generally respond well to losses and the Celtics are surprisingly bad in tight games.

Milwaukee has the second-best winning rate following losses since the beginning of last season at 118-66 straight up (SU) with a plus-4.8 margin of victory – the Phoenix Suns are first at 135-49 with a plus-6.3 margin.

Boston was 13-22 SU in the “clutch” during the regular season with a minus-9.5 net rating (ranked 26th). “Clutch” is defined by games within a 5-point margin inside of five minutes to play.

On the other hand, the Bucks are 24-17 SU in the “clutch” with a plus-15.9 net rating, ranked 2nd in the NBA during the regular season.

The gap between both teams’ tight-game execution is due to Milwaukee’s 3rd-ranked eFG% in the “clutch” vs. Boston’s 24th-ranked eFG%. A major reason for this is that the Celtics rely on predictable iso-ball with Tatum and Brown down the stretch.

Furthermore, Boston’s supporting players should cool off now that the series is in Milwaukee and the Bucks should get more out of their role players such as C Brook Lopez, C Bobby Portis and SG Wesley Matthews.

Between Milwaukee’s defense, late-game execution and home-court advantage, MILWAUKEE (-130) is my bet to win Game 3.