The NBA’s annual Christmas slate is finally approaching. These matchups always highlight the league’s long-standing rivalries, entertaining teams, and championship contenders. This year is no different.
Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at the upcoming meeting between the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, two Eastern Conference rivals with playoff aspirations.
Which team will prevail when they meet on Christmas Day? Let’s dig in with our Celtics vs Bucks predictions and best bets.
NBA gameday odds for Celtics @ Bucks are current as of 9:45 a.m. ET on December 24.
Celtics vs Bucks Game Pick
Since crossing paths in the 2018 and 2019 NBA playoffs, Boston and Milwaukee have gone in drastically different directions. The Bucks just won the NBA title last summer and are once again challenging for the top seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Celtics are playing .500 basketball for the second year in a row.
Led by two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee is one of the most dangerous teams in the NBA. The Bucks are also among the most balanced, ranking in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive rating, per Basketball Reference. Assuming they stay healthy, they appear primed for another deep playoff run.
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As for the Celtics, they’ll be lucky just to make the postseason. They’ve been wildly inconsistent under first-year head coach Ime Udoka, running hot and cold on both ends of the court. Their offense and defense are both middle of the pack, reflecting an all-around average team.
- Read our NBA Christmas best bets.
While the Celtics have pulled off several impressive wins this year, including two already against the Bucks, they’ve also fallen flat in a number of games and can’t be trusted to beat quality opponents consistently.
Look for Milwaukee to return the favor on its home court.
Celtics vs Bucks Christmas Prediction: Bucks 108, Celtics 102
Celtics vs Bucks Christmas Betting Picks
Best Bet: Bucks -3 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
This bet was listed as Milwaukee -7 (-114) on Unibet when we first published this, so the closing line value is trending in the right direction to back the Bucks.
Given how scattershot the Celtics have been this season, it’s tough to guess which version of them will show up on Christmas.
The Bucks, on the other hand, have been much more consistent and are worthy of our money. They’re the better team on paper and are playing at home, where they’ve been dominant this season.
While the Celtics won the first two games between these teams this season, both were in Boston and Giannis didn’t play in the first one. The Celtics are just 7-10 away from home this year, so I expect them to struggle on the road against the reigning NBA champions.
Take Milwaukee to cover the points on our NBA bet of the day.
Best Bet: Under 219.5 Total Points at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
This one lines up to be a lower-scoring affair. The first meeting produced 216 points in regulation, while the second (with Giannis) yielded 220.
As mentioned, the Bucks are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA and should have a strong performance against a Celtics squad that has yet to click offensively. Meanwhile, Boston is also a solid defensive club that plays at one of the slowest paces in the NBA.
Accordingly, this game should be slower-paced and lower-scoring than the last matchup. I’d bet the Under down to 218 before pivoting to the Over.
Thankfully, if you can snag this one, you have cushion.