Milwaukee at Boston
Time: 6:30 PM CST, ESPN
Spread: BOS -3.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Milwaukee Bucks are 2-1 after wins over the Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers, with a loss to the Miami Heat sandwiched between.
The Bucks are 1-0 SU on the road where it encounters the Boston Celtics in Wednesday night ESPN action as 3.5-point underdogs.
The point total is set at 223.5 total points according to NBA oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
The Boston Celtics will still be without Enes Kanter in tonight’s game due to lingering soreness in his left knee. Backup center Daniel Theis is also questionable with a sprained ankle. That leaves Boston short-manned in its frontcourt where it presumably will start third-stringer Robert Williams III if Theis is unable to go. The C’s will likely go small a lot with Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum both essentially seeing time at the 4-spot. Marcus Smart will moonlight at power forward, too.
Until Kanter is ready, Boston will use a lot of small lineups, and those might fare well against the Bucks in tonight’s matchup. Boston is 3.5-point favorites with Jaylen Brown also listed day-to-day. Romeo Langford is day-to-day, but he may not see too much court time for a while as a project rookie guard.
Tatum and Kemba Walker are both off to great starts. Tatum is averaging 20.3 points and 9.3 rebounds while Walker is averaging a team-best 22.0 points per game and 4.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.3 steals. Tatum is averaging 2.7 steals and 0.7 blocks per game, and both of them have kept their turnovers at 2.0 or less (1.7 for Walker). The Celtics are getting a lot more from Hayward this season, too. He is averaging 16.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.
The return of Kanter should help this lineup, as he provides a lot more scoring punch from the center position than the likes of Theis and Williams. Marcus Smart is really a four-position player, and he is a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year. While much like Draymond Green, he does not post gaudy stat lines, he has made valuable contributions from the second unit, with his lockdown defensive abilities and overall toughness.
The Milwaukee Bucks starting five consists of Eric Bledsoe, Wes Matthews, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Brook Lopez. The second unit is loaded with smart veterans like George Hill, Ersan Ilyasova, and Robin Lopez, Brook’s twin.
The Bucks are also getting good production out of Pat Connaughton, a tremendous athlete with high energy who is providing a good spark off the bench. Kyle Korver adds much-needed shooting and depth, and a smart veteran who will often close out games. The Bucks are a team built around Antetokounmpo, but some wonder if it is built up enough around him.
Middleton is the second option and a borderline All-Star, but it still feels like Milwaukee is one big scorer away from where it should be. Perhaps losing the never-was that is Jabari Parker did not really help. Parker is thriving in Atlanta this season and still could have been a useful frontcourt scorer in the mold of a Tobias Harris type role. The Bucks are so strong defensively that it has to be regarded as a top-three team in the Eastern Conference, but its work is still fairly cut out for it, evidenced by being 3.5-point dogs to the Celtics tonight in early 2019-20 NBA action.