The Boston Celtics will try to shake off a 2-4 straight-up run over their final six regular season contests when they open their first-round playoff series with the visiting Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday as 4-point favorites on the NBA odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
A season that opened with great promise closed out on a sour note for the Celtics. A 22-4 SU start quickly lifted Boston to both the top of the NBA standings and a short +700 on the NBA championship odds.
However, a shaky second half, compounded by a season-ending injury to superstar point guard Kyrie Irving, has severely eroded confidence in the club, which trails at a distant +7000 on those NBA futures going into Sunday afternoon’s Game 1 matchup at TD Garden.
Concerns linger about Irving’s future following surgery to address a knee injury he reportedly aggravated in a 123-120 loss in Houston on March 3. However, Irving has had plenty of company in the Celtics’ clinic this season, including Gordon Hayward, who suffered a season-ending injury on the first night of the campaign, and guard Marcus Smart, who hopes to return in late April from a serious thumb injury he suffered in a 99-97 loss to Indiana on March 11.
Starting with that loss to the Pacers as 4.5-point home chalk, the Celtics are just 9-7 SU in their past 16 outings overall and have been wildly inconsistent during a 9-9 SU run on home court, but they have managed to cover in six of their past eight dates at TD Garden, according to the OddsShark NBA Database.
The Celtics also have produced mixed results in recent dates with Milwaukee, splitting the four-game season series with the Bucks, while going 3-3 SU in six meetings overall, and are pegged as slim -135 favorites on the NBA playoff series prices.
The Bucks bring issues of their own into the postseason. Milwaukee covered on just nine occasions during an 11-13 SU stretch run, including a 5-7 SU record in its past 12 games, and has regularly surrendered big point totals of late, allowing 121.1 points per game over its past eight defeats.
Milwaukee has enjoyed some success in recent road dates with the Celtics, going 2-2 SU in its past four visits to Boston, including a decisive 108-100 win as a 1.5-point underdog on Oct. 18.
The Bucks sport +115 odds on the NBA series prices but remain haunted by seven straight first-round series losses since 2001 and sit near the bottom of the title odds at +10000.
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