Tip-off: 0105, 17/01/2020
Stadium: Fiserv Forum
TV: Sky Sports
The Eastern Conference leaders pit their wits against their third-placed rivals as the 2019-20 NBA season enters the second half of the campaign.
Milwaukee Bucks sit seven games clear at the top of the table, with Miami Heat’s young stars their closest rivals and Boston Celtics not far behind.
Boston have lost their last two road trips, at the Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers respectively, and face an uphill battle to improve a poor record at the Fiserv Forum.
The Bucks are 19-2 at home and have won 21 of their 24 matches against Eastern Conference opponents this season, as they look to secure a seventh successive victory at this venue.
Their head-to-head record here reads even better, with seven wins from their last eight meetings in Milwaukee.
We expect Mike Budenholzer’s team to come out on top once again, this time by a margin of over 9.5 points at 91/100, for our first Bucks v Celtics prediction.
A Look At Milwaukee Bucks’ Betting Odds
Milwaukee have been dominant this season due to the superb form of reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The ‘Greek Freak’ is the second-highest points scorer in the NBA, averaging 30.0 per game – second only to scoring machine James Harden.
But it is not just that department in which he is posting big scores, as the 25-year-old has excelled all-round on the court, with 12.7 rebounds (sixth), 5.5 assists (26th), 1.2 blocks (29th) and 1.1 steals (41st) on average.
Antetokounmpo has been supported by a strong roster at the Bucks, with Donte DiVincenzo, George Hill and Kyle Korver performing well off the bench, or from the start if standing in during injury lay-offs.
However, Milwaukee are back to full strength, with the return of Eric Bledsoe and Wesley Matthews in the guard positions and Khris Middleton up front alongside Brook Lopez, and that will cause plenty of problems for Boston.
Middleton has begun 2020 with a bang, hitting 20.4 points per game in his seven matches since the New Year, so 4/5 he scores over 18.5 against Boston stands out from the Bucks v Celtics odds.
A Look At Boston Celtics’ Betting Odds
Boston will be boosted by the return of 2018 All-Rookie First Team star Jayson Tatum for the trip to Milwaukee.
The 21-year-old played in all 38 games for the Celtics before missing the surprise 116-103 home defeat to Detroit due to knee tendinitis.
Tatum will travel to face the Bucks and is expected to take up his place in the starting line-up, with the Celtics desperate for the return of a player who averages 21.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per match this campaign.
Gordon Hayward remains inconsistent since coming back from his serious ankle injury but the 2017 All-Star has hit 18, 19 and 25 points in three of his last five matches for Boston, hinting that he is heading towards a belated return to top form.
With Kemba Walker pulling the strings, Brad Stevens’ side are capable of posting high totals, although they are not as prolific on the road as they are at TD Garden.
Their points-average drops from 114.5 at home to 107.8 on their travels and this comes into play for the last of our Bucks v Celtics betting tips.
We’re backing the visitors at 87/100 to score under 107.5 points – which has happened on eight of their last nine trips to Milwaukee.
MILWAUKEE 128-102 New York
BOSTON 103-116 Detroit
Head-to-head: Boston 116-105 Milwaukee, Milwaukee 116-91 Boston, Boston 101-113 Milwaukee, Boston 116-123 Milwaukee
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