Celtics vs. Bucks NBA Xmas Preview and Best Bet

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Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics. Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images/AFP

Christmas day has arrived and we have the best matchups in the NBA featured all holiday long. The Boston Celtics will take on the reigning defending NBA champions Milwaukee Bucks. After looking at the NBA odds, which team should we pick at the best sportsbooks for a present that is a Christmas winner?

Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks 

Saturday, December 25, 2021 – 02:30 PM EST at Fiserv Forum

Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics are 16-16 on the year. The Celtics are coming off of a 111-101 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers at home on Wednesday night. They now travel to Milwaukee to take on the defending champs. The Boston Celtics are led by Jayson Tatum. Tatum leads the team in scoring, averaging 26 points and 9 rebounds per game.

Tatum's partner in leading the team is Jaylen Brown, who is averaging 23 points and 5 rebounds this season. Brown is an excellent defender and helps the Celtics in many ways besides scoring the basketball.

Dennis Schröder has stepped in as the point guard for the Boston Celtics. Schröder is an excellent scorer and defender, but sometimes he can look for his own shot rather than create for his teammates. Yet Schröder is a great guy to have with the ball in his hands when you absolutely need a bucket.

Schröder's partner in the backcourt is one of the best defenders in the league, Marcus Smart. Smart also leads the team in assists and is good at setting up his teammates. The backcourt of Schröder and Smart is versatile and Coach Ime Udoka is still learning how to deploy them correctly.

Al Horford will be out so that means that Robert Williams III needs to have a good game-playing center. Williams is a versatile defender that can protect the rim but is also able to switch and defend forwards on the perimeter. Williams is an excellent rebounder and is quick to outlet the ball to get the fast break going after a defensive stop. The Celtics will be relying on Williams to have a big game against the Bucks.

Milwaukee Bucks

With Giannis Antetokounmpo questionable, the stage could be set for Khris Middleton to have a big game on Christmas. Middleton is vastly underrated. He is deadly from the mid-range and can create his own shot. Middleton's clutch shooting helped Milwaukee win the title last year, and he could be thrust into a prominent role for the team here.

Middleton's partner in leading the team will be Jrue Holiday. Holiday’s role on this championship team is to play elite defense, but in times when it is needed, he can also be an effective scorer. If Giannis were to miss the game, Holiday and Middleton will be key for the Bucks offense.

DeMarcus Cousins didn't even start the season on an NBA team, and now he is thrust into a big role on the Milwaukee Bucks after being signed in November. With Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis both out, Cousins has assumed the starting center role. It shows how wild the league has been this season that a player who is not even on a roster at the beginning of the season could be starting at center for the defending champions.

Cousins still has strong ability on the offensive end, but he can kind of be slow and targeted on defense. It will be interesting to see if the Celtics attack Cousins in the pick-and-roll using their excellent shot creators.

Key Matchup

Jaylen Brown vs. Khris Middleton. Khris Middleton will be key to the Bucks offense and Jaylen Brown is the Celtics’ best defensive forward. Middleton will give Brown a tough matchup because he can score against even the best defense. Middleton also plays strong defense.

If he can make Brown inefficient, the Celtics can become too reliant on Tatum. Brown will not be able to shut Middleton down completely but, if he can make them work and make them less efficient than usual, the Celtics will have a good chance to win.

If Middleton is able to have an efficient night against one of the best defenders in the league, the Bucks will have a great chance to have a merry Christmas. Should we add them to our NBA picks?

Best Bet

At first glance, I thought this line was way too steep. The market agreed with me as the opening of +7 has been pounded down to +3. This is too far an overcorrection. I lined this at +4.5. At the new widely available number, the value is on the Milwaukee Bucks. Even without Giannis, the Bucks have the ability to defend and have more team chemistry and identity. The Bucks all know their roles, while the Celtics are still establishing their identity. The Christmas Play of the Day is the Milwaukee Bucks -3.

NBA Pick: Milwaukee Bucks -3 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Milwaukee Bucks -3 (-110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.