The Milwaukee Bucks currently hold a 3-2 lead over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals. If they can win one of the next two games, they will take on either the Miami Heat or Philadelphia 76ers for a chance to advance to the NBA Finals and defend their world championship.
The Bucks were flying under the radar despite their recent triumph over the Phoenix Suns, capped off by a 50-point, 17-rebound closeout game from Giannis Antetokounmpo. However, now that they are up 3-2 and clearly in the driver’s seat against either Miami or Phili, it seems inevitable that they will be around for at least a few more weeks.
Follow this basic sports betting strategy and tips for Milwaukee bettors for the remainder of the postseason.
Betting on the Milwaukee Bucks and their stars
The Bucks can be frustrating to bet on as a team because they can win big or lose big; however, they normally do not lose small. This means that the Bucks, when made to be underdogs on a small spread, are a terrible bet— either bet on them to win for a chance at big positive odds or take the favorite to cover. It may sound counterintuitive, but Milwaukee is 6-2 in games decided by three points or less this season, second only to the Suns.
As far as the stars go, Antetokounmpo will always have a mammoth-sized workload as he is the out-and-out star. Here’s a fun fact: the Greek Freak is averaging 28.2 field goal attempts per game through five games in the Celtics series compared to his regular-season average of 18.6, during which he averaged 29.9 points per game. If we use this same rate of scouring for his current attempts per game, he would be projected to average 45.3 points per game— this has not quite happened, as would be expected in the playoffs and against an incredible defensive team, but he has still boosted his scoring average and figures to keep shooting at a high volume.
Khris Middleton is an interesting prospect when he comes back since he will have missed a decent chunk of time with injury, and his normal clutch-time shots have gone to Jrue Holiday. Middleton will likely be a little timid and not want to throw off his team’s rhythm, so betting the over on his assist total in his first few games would be a great move.
The afore-mentioned Holiday has been extremely inefficient shooting the ball, but he too is handling a high workload. Common sense would dictate his attempts per game will drop when Middleton returns, but he has become the go-to guy late in the fourth quarter and will be unlikely to relinquish this privilege. Holiday has been best shooting threes late in games, so both his three-point and points totals are solid investments.
The role players
Bobby Portis was the hero of Game Five despite not featuring in the fourth quarter in Game Four; he almost certainly would have cemented his spot in the rotation, and with Brook Lopez spending more time on the bench, Portis has great value in rebound totals.
Pat Connaughton has been shooting the ball effectively from outside even when his team has struggled, and his experience and consistency will always make him a decent prospect in three-point totals. The Notre Dame product is also a sneaky offensive rebounder who could provide an opportunity to cash out if the total is low enough.
Finally, Grayson Allen has been hot from the outside— he does not always get a ton of opportunities, but when he does, he usually makes good use of them. Look to him on a matchup-dependent basis and after gauging how the series is going and what coverages the opposing team is running.