The Milwaukee Bucks were dominant in their first round playoff series against the Chicago Bulls. But they enter the second round as underdogs against the Boston Celtics, who enjoyed a sweep against the Brooklyn Nets in round one. In our NBA betting picks for Sunday, we look at Bucks vs Celtics Game 1 as the defending champions look to prove that they are not going anywhere in the Eastern Conference.
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Bucks vs Celtics Game 1 Betting Pick
This game will be played at TD Garden at 1:00 PM ET on Sunday, May 1, 2022.
Why Bet The Celtics:
✅ The Boston Celtics have won five straight Game 1s on their home floor over the last few seasons. This is the best version of the Celtics that we have seen over that span, and the Bucks are not currently at their best. As a result, we should see the Celtics come away with another Game 1 win on their home floor.
✅ Milwaukee is without its second best player in Khris Middleton, which is going to be a big difference maker early in this series. Without Middleton, the Bucks are going to have to rely more heavily on perimeter shooting to go with the scoring of Giannis Antetokounmpo. Against a team as defensively gifted as the Celtics, that is going to be tough to accomplish.
✅ Milwaukee punched above its weight a little bit in the first round against a Chicago Bulls team that was clearly not ready for the spotlight of the playoffs. The Bucks were a middling defensive team all year long, but they held the Bulls to just over 95 points per game. That may have been more of a product of bad Chicago offense than good Milwaukee defense, though.
The Milwaukee Bucks had a positive start to their championship defense, winning their first round playoff series against the Chicago Bulls in five games. The Bucks never felt like they were in any danger in that series, dominating both games in Chicago in Games 3 and 4 to pull away once and for all. In Game 1 against the Celtics, the Bucks will need to bring the same defense that got them through Chicago.
Specifically, the Bucks will need to find a way to slow down Jayson Tatum in this series opener. Tatum averaged just under 30 points per game in the first round against the Brooklyn Nets in the first round. Milwaukee will not be able to afford to give up similar numbers to Tatum if they want to win this series.
It was a perfect first round for the Boston Celtics, who found a way to sweep the Brooklyn Nets and get themselves plenty of rest prior to the start of the second round. Boston was clearly superior to the Nets on both ends of the floor, but it was their defense on Kevin Durant that really set them apart. In the second round, the Celtics will look for a similar defensive performance against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the rest of the Bucks.
Boston will look for a more straightforward Game 1 win than they had in the first round against the Nets, where they needed a Jayson Tatum layup at the buzzer to escape with a win. Against a Bucks team that got nearly 29 points per game from Giannis Antetokounmpo in the first round, Boston knows exactly what they need to zero in on to make that happen.