Bucks vs Celtics Christmas Day Prediction, Picks & Props: Top two NBA title contenders tangle at TD Garden
All five of this year’s Christmas Day NBA games are worth tuning in to, but the standout matchup of the day sees the Milwaukee Bucks visit the Boston Celtics in a showdown between the top two NBA title contenders.
Entering today, the Celtics (23-10, 12-5 home) and Bucks (22-10, 8-7 away) occupy the top two spots in the Eastern Conference and the top two spots in the latest NBA title odds, with Boston holding the edge over Milwaukee in both.
This is the first meeting of the season between the two teams, with two more to come in Milwaukee on Valentine’s Day and March 30. When last they met, the Celtics blew out the Bucks in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals last season.
Will we see a much closer game today? Who will come out on top at TD Garden? Read on for our Bucks vs Celtics prediction, as well as all of our favorite Milwaukee vs Boston betting picks.
Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics Odds
- Milwaukee Bucks +5 (-114)
- Boston Celtics -5 (-106)
- Over 224 (-110)
- Under 224 (-110)
- Milwaukee Bucks +166
- Boston Celtics -198
Will Home Court Continue to Be Key?
This is the second straight year that Milwaukee and Boston are meeting on Christmas Day.
At Fiserv Forum last year, the Celtics led by 15 at halftime, but the Bucks rallied for a 117-113 win thanks to 70 second-half points.
It took an epic comeback and 36 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists from Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the home team came out on top in that matchup, as has been the case in most of their regular season matchups in recent seasons.
In fact, the home team has won 12 out of the last 14 regular season matchups between Milwaukee and Boston, with both teams having won six of seven at their respective home venues. The Bucks won 120-107 at TD Garden on December 21, 2018, and the Celtics won 122-114 at Fiserv Forum on March 26, 2021.
This season, in addition to winning 14 of 17 at home, Boston is 10-7 ATS at home, including a 6-6 mark against Eastern Conference opposition. By comparison, they are 8-7-1 ATS on the road.
While Milwaukee is over .500 on the road this season, the Bucks are only 5-8-2 ATS in their road games, including a 2-5-1 mark against Eastern Conference opposition.
Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics Prediction and Picks
Bucks vs Celtics Prediction: Celtics to win
Bucks vs Celtics Pick: Celtics to cover (Best Value: Celtics -4.5 @ -120 at BetMGM)
There’s a good chance that, between the time of writing and tip-off, that BetMGM falls in line with our other recommended sportsbooks (or they fall in line with BetMGM), but as it stands, this is the place to find the spread at -4.5 instead of -5.
After losing at Cleveland on Wednesday and at Brooklyn on Friday, the Bucks will be attempting to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season.
But the odds and trends are certainly not in their favor. Some of the ATS numbers can be taken with a grain of salt, because of how often both of these teams are favored by large margins.
If you dive a little deeper, Milwaukee is 11-7-1 ATS against teams that are currently over .500, but the Bucks are only 3-5-1 ATS on the road against such teams.
On the other side, Boston is 9-4 ATS against teams that are currently over .500, and the Celtics are 4-1 ATS at home against such teams.
The Bucks have done very well with bouncing back from losses so far this season, with Friday’s loss to the Nets only the second time this season that they failed to rebound from a loss with a win.
But along with the odds not being in their favor, trends for this season and recent head-to-head matchups with the Celtics are not in their favor as well.
Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics Player Props
- Jayson Tatum over 29.5 points
- Tatum over 7.5 rebounds
- Tatum over 36.5 points + rebounds
Offensively, Tatum is a more prolific scorer and shots better from the field:
- at home (32.3 PPG and 49.4 percent) than he does on the road (28.9 and 45.0 percent),
- against Eastern Conference teams (31.2 PPG and 48.7 percent) than he does against Western Conference teams (29.4 PPG and 44.4 percent),
- and in wins (32.3 PPG and 49.1 percent) than he does in losses (26.2 PPG and 42.0 percent).
Tatum, who is averaging 8.1 rebounds per game, also has more 8+ rebounds nine times in 15 home games. Six of those times, he has had 30+ points in addition to his 8+ rebounds.
By comparison, he has also had 8+ rebounds nine times on the road (in 16 road games), but he has also had 30+ points in addition to his 8+ rebounds only four times on the road.
If you want to bet all of those props in one place, the best place to do so is BetMGM, as with the spread pick. But wherever you bet, you are going to get good value for three bets that have a high percentage chance of cashing.
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Eddie Griffin has been writing about and Betting on sports for over a decade. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on Twitter.