The Boston Celtics (43-21) and Milwaukee Bucks (53-12) are due to battle in night two of the NBA regular season on Friday, July 31st, at the Walt Disney World Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. Friday will be the second day since the league halted for almost four months after the coronavirus pandemic shook America. Tipoff for this matchup is scheduled for 6:30 pm EST and can be viewed on ESPN. The Bucks (-4.5) are the favorites, according to oddsmakers.
What to Know – Boston Celtics
Boston enters the restart with a roster that will be at full strength for Friday’s contest. The Celtics sit three games behind the Toronto Raptors for second place in the Eastern Conference with eight regular-season games to play. Before the pause in play, the Celtics were 5-5 over their last ten games.
The Celtics showcase an offense that features five players that average in double-figures. Jayson Tatum (23.6 ppg), Kemba Walker (21.2 ppg), and Jaylen Brown (20.4 ppg) lead the Boston offense that’s 11th in the league in scoring. On the defensive end, the Celtics are second in the league in points allowed (106.8 ppg).
Walker poured in a team-high 40 points the last time these two teams met up mid-January. The total was Walker’s second-highest output of the season. Marcus Smart also added 24 points in the loss.
Oddsmakers peg Boston as the fourth-favorite team to win the NBA Finals this year. Brad Stevens’ squad offers excellent value in the +1200 area at most sportsbook locations.
What to Know – Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks come to Orlando sitting in first-place in the Eastern Conference with a comfortable 6.5 game cushion over the Raptors. Before the pandemic, the Bucks were on a three-game losing streak, so the Bucks’ time off may have been helpful.
Athletic point guard Eric Bledsoe was a late arrival to Orlando after a positive COVID-19 test. Bledsoe was cleared to return to practice five days ago, but his availability is unclear.
All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo (29.6 ppg) paces a Bucks team that leads the league in scoring. He is third in the league in scoring and rebounds (13.7 RPG).
He leads the team in each of these categories as well as assists per game. Forward Khris Middleton (21.1 ppg) and Eric Bledsoe (15.4 ppg) provide additional scoring for the league’s best offense.
Milwaukee is second behind the Los Angeles Lakers as favorites to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of the season. Oddsmakers have the Bucks at +280 to win it all.
The Pick is In
These two teams split their meetings earlier in the season, but Milwaukee is out to make a statement leading into the playoffs. Antetokounmpo should have his way with the Celtics bigs, providing enough firepower to lead the Bucks to a comfortable victory. We like the Bucks (-4.5) in the Friday night showdown.