MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – MAY 13: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics celebrates a basket against … [+]
The Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks are gearing up for Game 7 of what has been a riveting Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series.
After Boston staved off elimination with a road win behind a 46-point outing from star Jayson Tatum, the second-seeded Celtics return to Beantown to host the decisive Game 7. The defending champion Bucks will be looking to bounce back from that 108-95 defeat by securing their third road “W” of the series.
Read on to find out how you can watch the thrilling Game 7 action between the Celtics and Bucks, plus check out the latest 2022 NBA Playoff bracket and standings:
2022 NBA Playoffs Bracket
2022 NBA Playoff odds courtesy of FanDuel
Oddsmakers are giving an edge to the C’s, who now have momentum and homecourt advantage on their side. The squad opened as a five-point favorite and the betting line has steadily remained at that number since first going up on the board on Friday evening.
Boston won Game 6 as a 1.5-point underdog but struggled as a five-point favorite in both Game 1 and Game 5. Only one game in this back-and-forth 2022 NBA Playoffs series has gone chalk—the Celtics beat the four-point spread in a 109-86 Game 2 victory in Game 2—and the favorite has outright won just twice.
The public is leaning towards another underdog cover in Game 7. Nearly 70 percent of all bets against the spread and 64 percent of the money wagered is on the Bucks with the points.
Moneyline bettors like the Celtics a bit more, evidenced by 46 percent of wagers and 61 percent of the handle coming in for the home side to win by any amount tonight.
The total, now set at 205.5 points after being bet down rather significantly from an opening mark of 206, has been divisive amongst the betting public. Only a third of the total bets are on the over to hit, but nearly half (49 percent) of the cash is rooting for a high-scoring affair.
The Celtics have relied heavily on their trio of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart to carry the offensive load in this series. The three combined for a whopping 89 points in Game 6 and will need to be on point again to help Boston clinch its fourth Eastern Conference Finals berth in the last six years.
A key reason for the Celtics’ offensive explosion was red-hot three-point shooting by their stars. While the team collectively shot a respectable 39.5 percent from deep (17-of-43), Tatum, Brown and Smart connected on over half (16-of-31) of their long-range attempts.
Milwaukee defended the three-point line at an average level during the 2021-22 NBA season, allowing opponents to make 35.4 percent of their treys. The Bucks ramped up their perimeter defense in their opening round matchup with the Chicago Bulls, conceding a three-point make rate of just 28.3 percent in the series.
That defense has been much more vulnerable against the Celtics, who are making 37.1 percent of their three-pointers in the Eastern Conference semifinals. That’s a worse showing than the Brooklyn Nets, who the Celtics swept while making 35.5 percent of their threes.
The Bucks have done well when their up-and-down three-point defense is locked in. In their three victories they have held the C’s to a 32.5 percent three-point percentage, allowing a series-low nine-of-33 threes to fall in a critical 103-101 victory in Game 3.
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – MAY 13: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks takes a moment prior … [+]
Conversely, Milwaukee has struggled when Boston is locked in from beyond the arc. The Celtics have shot 37.8 percent or better on threes in each of their three wins, including a scorching 46.5 percent in a blowout Game 2 win.
Expect the C’s to try and dial it in from deep to close out the Bucks tonight. One way they can do this is by executing on offense and continue to put pressure on Milwaukee superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Boston has been steadily wearing down the two-time MVP and stretching him thin on both ends of the court. Although Antetokounmpo has averaged 35.3 points in the series, the Celtics’ top-ranked defense has made him work for most of those buckets and will force him to shoulder a herculean load tonight to pull off an upset.
Although Antetokounmpo has shown he’s up to the task while leading his side to a championship last year, he’s carrying a tremendous weight on his shoulders and could run out of gas as the Celtics crank up the pressure at home in Game 7.
Pick: Celtics -5
Prediction: Celtics 103 – Bucks 97