The Milwaukee Bucks committed 20 turnovers, watched five Celtics score at least 19 points and still nearly won Game 1 on Sunday, falling 113-107 in overtime. Game 2 from TD Garden tips off at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday.
Sportsbooks list Boston as a 2.5-point home favorite in this 2018 NBA playoffs game, down a half-point from the opening line. The over-under, or total points Vegas thinks will be scored, is down 1.5 points to 197.5.
Before you bet this game, you need to read what SportsLine hoops expert Larry Hartstein — who has nailed 15 of his past 20 picks involving the Bucks — has to say.
On Wednesday, the final day of the regular season, Hartstein faded the Bucks as 6.5-point underdogs at Philly, noting Milwaukee actually would benefit by losing, thus avoiding Cleveland in the first round. The result: The Bucks lost by 35, the easiest cash you’ll ever see.
In Game 1, Hartstein rode Boston (-4), telling readers home-court advantage would be pivotal. The Celts covered for the sixth time in their past seven at TD Garden.
Now Hartstein, who has a strong analytical background, has examined every matchup, every player and every trend for Bucks-Celtics Game 2 and locked in his pick. We can tell you he’s leaning over, but what about the spread, which he has excelled picking?
Hartstein knows Milwaukee likely will get another huge performance from the “Greek Freak,” Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had 35 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and three steals Sunday. But if the seventh-seeded Bucks expect to win — or at least cover the spread — they’ll need more from point guard Eric Bledsoe.
Bledsoe scored nine points on 4-of-12 shooting Sunday, committing five turnovers with no steals. It was only the fourth time since the start of February that he didn’t score in double digits.
The Celtics will cover for the sixth time in seven meetings if Al Horford (24 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, three blocks, two steals) controls the game again and Terry Rozier (4 of 9) stays hot from 3-point range.
Youngsters like Jayson Tatum (19 points, 10 rebounds) and Jaylen Brown (20 points) must show the same poise they displayed Sunday.
Hartstein has his pulse on the Bucks, as evidenced by his insane 75 percent cash rate. He says there’s one overlooked angle that will decide the point-spread winner.
So what side of Milwaukee-Boston do you need to be all over Tuesday? Visit SportsLine now to see the strong point-spread pick by Hartstein, who’s 15-5 picking Bucks games, and find out.