- Two of the Eastern Conference’s best teams will meet in their first game each of the NBA restart
- Milwaukee sits comfortably in first place in the East, while the Celtics are currently in third
- Get the odds, preview, and best bet for Friday’s contest below
With the NBA restart in full swing as of Thursday, we have a heavyweight contest in the East with the Boston Celtics facing the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, July 31st, tip-off 6:30 PM EST.
Both teams have looked relatively sharp in scrimmages leading up to their first game as they look to pick up where they left off before the league was postponed back in March.
As for the season series between Milwaukee and the C’s, they’ve each won a game apiece. However, in the last nine meetings, the Bucks have won seven times.
Boston Celtics vs Milwaukee Bucks Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Total at DraftKings|
|Boston Celtics||+5 (-109)||+160||Ov 218.5 (-112)|
|Milwaukee Bucks||-5 (-110)||-195||Un 218.5 (-109)|
Odds taken July 31st
Bucks Looking to Continue Dominance
Milwaukee is a heavy NBA favorite this season and for good reason, currently boasting the finest record in the association at 53-12. However, before the league came to a halt in March, the Bucks lost four of their last five contests.
Given the long break though, that shouldn’t be an issue in the bubble – as evidenced by their listing as a 5-point favorite in the Bucks vs Celtics odds.
Giannis Antetokounmpo seems to be a likely favorite to win this year’s MVP after the NBA announced that none of these games will be considered in the running for the award. The Greek Freak is averaging 29.6 points, 13.7 boards, and 5.8 assists this season. Khris Middleton is also doing his share, dropping 21.1 points per night.
After this matchup with Boston, Mike Budenholzer’s team has a couple of tough contests ahead against the likes of Miami, Toronto, and Houston. Given their clear dominance this season though, the Eastern Conference powerhouse shouldn’t have any problem winning most of these games.
As for absences in regards to this contest against Boston, the Bucks will be without guards Eric Bledsoe and Pat Connaughton. Both players tested positive for COVID-19 over a week ago, and are back to practicing, but won’t return to game action quite yet.
Can Celtics Grab #2 Seed in the East?
Boston went 6-6 before the hiatus and is three games back of Toronto for the second seed as of today.
Kemba Walker missed nine of Boston’s last 17 games due to a knee injury, but it looks like he will be ready to go on Friday. The elite play of youngsters Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown really made up for the absence of Walker though.
Tatum, who was named to his first All-Star team this season, averaged 28.6 points post-All-Star break in 17 contests while shooting over 40 percent from the field and three-point range. The former Duke star also grabbed 7.5 boards in that span.
On the season, Tatum is leading Brad Steven’s team in scoring, posting 23.6 points per game. Just behind him are Walker and Brown at 21.2 and 20.4. The Celtics have an electric trio in these three players who account for a lot of this team’s offensive production. With all of them healthy, it’s going to be exciting to watch Boston in these eight games in Orlando before the postseason. They’re a fundamentally sound team on both sides of the ball, sitting sixth in offensive rating, and fourth in defensive.
Boston’s three toughest meetings come against Milwaukee, Toronto, and Miami. Other than that, they have the opportunity to win the majority of their remaining games in the bubble as they look to put themselves in prime position for the playoffs.
Both contests between Milwaukee and Boston this season were won by less than a ten-point margin. I expect Friday’s game to be yet another close finish, but I’m giving Milwaukee the upper hand here. Antetokounmpo will come out firing, proving to be the deciding factor in this contest. The Bucks are a safe bet here over their Eastern Conference rivals.
Pick: Bucks -5 (-110)
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