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Celtics vs. Bucks Game 6 NBA Picks: Expect Giannis To Shine in Closeout Contest

Celtics vs. Bucks Game 6 NBA Picks: Expect Giannis To Shine in Closeout Contest
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks looks to the bench during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Boston Celtics at Fiserv Forum on May 09, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Celtics defeated the Bucks 116 - 108. Photo Stacy Revere/Getty Images via AFP.

Milwaukee is back home with a closeout opportunity and a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals on the line. Can the Bucks move on with a win, or will the Celtics play spoiler and send the series back to Boston for Game 7? Find out with our Celtics-Bucks picks.

After electric Games 3 and 4, it didn’t seem possible that this series could get more interesting. That is, however, until Game 5 came along. 

Boston looked like the superior team through three quarters and built a 93-79 lead with 10:16 remaining in the fourth quarter. However, the Bucks willed their way back into it with hustle plays and key offensive rebounds. Down 107-106, Bobby Portis then grabbed Giannis Antetokounmpo’s second free-throw miss and put it back in for the go-ahead bucket. Boston was then thwarted by Jrue Holiday on its next two possessions when he blocked and stole the ball from Marcus Smart.

After snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in Game 5, can Boston steal a game on the road to bring the series back to Boston for Game 7? Or will Giannis and the Bucks close out in front of their home crowd to advance to a second straight Eastern Conference Finals? 

Here are my picks and predictions for Friday’s NBA matchup between the Celtics and Bucks (odds via FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Celtics vs. Bucks Game Info

Date/Time: Friday, May 13, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI

Celtics vs. Bucks Odds Analysis

At this point in the series, the oddsmakers have a good idea about what to expect between these two teams, so we haven’t seen any line movement on the spread since the line opened. Milwaukee is favored by 1.5, but 57% of the tickets and 7-% of the cash are on the underdog Celtics.

The point total is down 3.5 points from the 214.5 we got in Game 5 and is up 1.5-points from the opening of 211 for Game 6. 60% of the tickets and 68% of the cash are on the Under.

Celtics vs. Bucks Picks

  • Bucks -1 (-110 via DraftKings) ★★★★★
  • Under 212.5 (-110 via FanDuel) ★★★★★
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo Over 35 points (+110 via FanDuel) ★★★★★

Celtics vs. Bucks Predictions

Bucks -1 (-110)

This has been a back-and-forth series for the first five games. But when the game was on the line, Milwaukee delivered and Boston fell a bit flat.

In Games 2-4, Boston hammered Milwaukee in the fourth quarter, yet the Bucks won by two in Game 3 thanks to heroic efforts from Holiday and Giannis. It was a similar story in Game 5 as Holiday and Bobby Portis delivered late in another contest that could have gone either way.

Boston has outplayed Milwaukee for much of this series, but the Bucks have the best player on the floor. Giannis has willed his team to victory even when Milwaukee looked like it didn’t have a chance. In his playoff career, Giannis is 7-1 in games in which his team was up 3-0, 3-1, or 3-2 in a series, meaning he almost always closes out at the earliest possible time without giving the opposing team hope for a comeback.

That Game 5 loss felt series-altering, so I expect Boston to fall to Milwaukee tonight in another close contest. The Bucks are 2-3 against the Celtics in Boston but 3-1 against them in Milwaukee with an average margin of victory of four points. The reigning Finals MVP will deliver another stellar performance to lead his team to victory while covering this meager spread.

Under 212.5 (-110)

The point total is pretty paltry considering these two teams combined for 224 and 227 points over their last two contests.

I’d feel better about this pick if Robert Williams plays because of his impact on defense and on the glass. Milwaukee won the offensive rebound battle 17-5 in Game 5 and gave up five points in the final minute off of Bobby Portis's offensive boards. Second-chance opportunities for Milwaukee could be limited if Time Lord makes his return.

Late-series games typically favor the Under, as the teams have had five games to feel each other out and settle into a rhythm. After two chaotic finishes in the last three games, I expect both defenses to be at their best in a low-scoring nail-biter.

Antetokounmpo 35+ points (+110)

It’s closeout time for one of the best players in the world, and I’m betting on a huge game. Giannis is fourth in NBA history in points per game in closeout games with 31.8. He’s averaged 41 points over his last three, including 50 in Game 6 of the Finals, 40 in Game 7 of last year’s Eastern Conference semis, and 33 in the first round against the Bulls.

Antetokounmpo leads the NBA in 30-point games this postseason with seven, and over his last nine games, he has games of 42, 40, 34, 33, 33, and 32. He’s only scored Over 35 twice, but he’s come within one basket on four other occasions. The total is set at 32.5, so we’re only going up by 2.5 more points to get the plus-money odds.

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Celtics-Bucks picks made on 5/13/2022 at 1:06 p.m. ET