The Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics will start their seasons off with a showdown at TD Garden on Wednesday evening which will see two of the Eastern Conference’s top players in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jayson Tatum going toe-to-toe. While the new-look Bucks surrounding Antetokounmpo make for a bit of a murky betting outlook, Tatum and the Celtics are offering a lot more clarity and value.
Free Picks: Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Jayson Tatum To Come Up Big In Season Opener
The Bucks fell as flat as an old beer in last year’s playoffs, losing to the eventual Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat in just five games in the second round. To convince their franchise player, Antetokounmpo, to stay in Milwaukee, they signed newcomers such as Jrue Holiday, DJ Augustin, Torrey Craig, and Bryn Forbes. If that list of new additions felt a little bit underwhelming to you, you’re not alone.
Many were surprised to see Antetokounmpo re-up with Milwaukee after that run of uninspiring free agent signings was kicked off by their complete and utter mishandling of a sign-and-trade that would have netted them burgeoning sharpshooter Bogdan Bogdanovic, who instead signed with the Atlanta Hawks. Because of all of this roster turnover, we feel it would be wise to avoid making any wagers on the Bucks until we can see whether or not this roster is gelling.
On the flip side, we’ve got two young guns in Tatum and Jaylen Brown looking to start their season off with a big upset despite the absence of Kemba Walker, who will be out yet some time with a knee injury. The one we want to focus on here is Tatum, who, at just 22 years old, looks like he should be entering the MVP conversation this season. Tatum had clearly made huge steps in his game when he showed up for the NBA bubble in July, and we expect his star to continue rising, starting with the season opener on Wednesday.
In 13 games where Brown and Tatum were in the lineup and Walker was not last season, Tatum put up 27.2 points per contest, nearly four more than his season average. Considering he’s continued to make strides since last season and his points prop is sitting at just 25.5, we consider the OVER here (though it does come at less-than-ideal –137 odds on 22Bet) against the Bucks to be a pretty safe bet.
Considering all of the movement, drama, and stress that has been surrounding the Bucks since their unceremonious playoff exit, the Celtics could be an interesting bet to win the game straight up at +124 odds on 22Bet. They’re playing at home, they will surely have more chemistry and rhythm than the Bucks (who have had the shortest offseason in history to get their new additions acclimated), and in Brown, Tatum, and resident pest Marcus Smart the C’s have exactly the kind of quick and long defenders that can swipe Giannis in the lane and force him and Milwaukee into a long, frustrating night.
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The Los Angeles Clippers will renew hostilities with the Dallas Mavericks, who they dispatched in the first round of last season’s playoffs.
The Denver Nuggets and the league’s presumptive NBA MVP will look to get off to a strong start against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1.
The Golden State Warriors will host the Memphis Grizzlies in the final play-in game, which will determine the Western Conference’s eighth seed.
The Washington Wizards will host the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night with the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference on the line.
Alex is an alumnus of Ryerson University's RTA Sport Media program, a contributing NHL, NBA, and MLB writer in the BetPicks.ca team. He has been writing on sports, betting, and fantasy contests for several years, including pitstops as an NFL Editor for theScore and as one of the lead NBA news writers for fantasy sports site FantasyPros. As a lifelong athlete, bettor, and sports fan, Alex is uniquely qualified to help you reach the sports betting success that you've always dreamed of and your wife never believed you could achieve.