Bucks vs Celtics Game 5 Picks and Predictions: Is Milwaukee Running Out Of Gas?

Back inside TD Garden, Boston has a golden opportunity to put Giannis and the Bucks on the brink of elimination. With Middleton still sidelined, we're leaning on the Celtics against the spread — but it's the Under that highlights our NBA betting picks.

Jason Logan: Senior Betting Analyst at Covers
Jason Logan • Senior Betting Analyst
May 11, 2022 • 16:02 ET • 4 min read
Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks NBA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

With the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics trading road wins, this conference semifinal series is now a best-of-three set with Game 5 back in Beantown tonight.

The Celtics stole Game 4 in Milwaukee thanks to a fourth-quarter surge and carry that momentum into Wednesday, with the NBA odds pegging Boston as 5.5-point home favorites.

Milwaukee hasn’t won against the spread since Game 1 (0-2-1 ATS) and is just 8-18 ATS in its last 26 as a road pup. Can it “buck” that trend tonight?

Here are our free NBA picks and predictions for Bucks at Celtics on May 11.

Bucks vs Celtics odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

Boston opened as a 5.5-point home favorite and has stayed there for the most part, outside of minor adjustments to the vig. The total hit the board at 214.5 points and is also stable at that number.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right until tip-off and be sure to check out the full NBA odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.

Bucks vs Celtics predictions

Predictions made on 5/10/2022 at 10:00 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Bucks vs Celtics game info

Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Date: Wednesday, May 11, 2022
Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. ET

Bucks vs Celtics series odds

Bucks: +170
Celtics: -200

Bucks vs Celtics betting preview

Key injuries

Bucks: George Hill G (Probable), Khris Middleton G (Out).
Celtics: Robert Williams C (Questionable), Sam Hauser F (Out).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Under is 11-4 in the Bucks' last 15 games as underdogs. Find more NBA betting trends for Bucks vs. Celtics.

Bucks vs Celtics picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Spread analysis

Boston’s physical approach to Game 4 stole a postseason philosophy from their Garden roommates, the Boston Bruins. In playoff hockey, the saying is “every hit is an investment”, much like a boxer working the body early on knowing that those energy-sapping punches will pay dividends in the championship rounds. 

That’s just what happened to the Bucks, who absorbed all they could for 36 minutes but broke in the final frame and allowed the Celtics to outscore them 43-28 in the fourth quarter, pulling away with extended runs for a 116-108 victory. 

That bruising style from Boston compounded a few issues for the Bucks. Milwaukee has been able to cover for missing All-Star guard Khris Middleton up until this point, but it was obvious Milwaukee needed another scorer in Game 4. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday were running on fumes and shot a combined 3-for-12 in the fourth quarter. 

On top of missing Middleton, the tax last year’s NBA title run took on this team is starting to come to the surface. The Bucks tried to catch their breath in Game 2 – after stealing a win in Boston in the opener – but a long regular season and last year’s postseason grind could have Milwaukee tapped out against a deep and versatile Celtics squad.

Boston has been able to nullify the Bucks’ size advantage thanks to that versatility - namely the hot hand of Al Horford. He was 5-for-7 from beyond the arc in Game 4 and is a scorching 14-for-28 for the series and shooting 53% from deep in the playoffs. Milwaukee has to respect Horford’s touch and that is stretching the Bucks' interior defense and allowing the Celtics to find seams to the basket, with bigger defenders pulled to the wing.

Tack on travel to that adversity in Game 5, as the Bucks will likely face another hard-nosed approach from Ime Udoka’s group tonight. Boston will continue to throw body shots on both ends and while you never want to count out Antetokounmpo, even his infinite engine seems to be puttering.

Prediction: Celtics -5.5 (-110 at PointsBet)

Over/Under analysis

Before Boston’s fourth-quarter quasar, Game 4’s production was trending Under the number when given the scoring pace of the first three frames. 

Boston put up a 16-for-19 burst in the fourth after making just 40% of its shots through the opening 36 minutes. Take away Horford’s 5-for-7 night from distance and the rest of the Celtics shot just 9-for-30 from beyond the arc.

The Game 5 total opened at 214.5 points – just above the closing number of 213.5 from Game 4 which was actually bet up from an opener of 210. Given that the Bucks and Celtics were on pace for only 204 points until that freakish fourth, this taller total feels wrong, especially considering the physical turn the series took last time out.

Milwaukee is very much missing an outside shooter, going 9-for-27 from outside in Game 4 and reaching just 29% success from 3-point range in the series. The return of George Hill could spark some offense if Hill wasn’t still working his way into shape and fighting through an abdominal injury.

As proven in Game 4, he’s more of a liability on defense and coach Mike Budenholzer may have to lean into guards like Jevon Carter to patch those matchup mistakes.

Prediction: Under 214.5 (-110 at bet365)

Best bet

The intensity and aggressiveness of the series lend themselves to two stellar defensive teams and I do expect Milwaukee to focus on closing out on the Celtics’ wing shooters with an emphasis on “turn and sprint” hard recoveries to the inside on help.

Neither team is lighting it up from downtown – firing a collective 35% with Boston doing the bulk of that scoring – and Milwaukee has managed to slow down Boston’s superstar Jayson Tatum for the most part. Tatum was shooting 26-for-75 through the first three and three-quarter games (34.7%) before exploiting a hobbled George Hill in the fourth quarter (5-for-6) of Game 4. 

Books had sliced the Over/Under number in each game of this series as the Bucks and Celtics played Under in the opening three outings, trimming from a closer of 218.5 points in Game 1 to 212 in Game 3. But the Over result in Game 4 is a freak total topper and we’re gladly going Under in Game 5 as bookies have padded the total with more points. 

PickUnder 214.5 (-110 at bet365)

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