The Boston Celtics will be gunning for a fifth straight outright win on the road when they return to action Thursday in Milwaukee as 5.5-point underdogs on the NBA odds at sportsbooks monitored by

Boston closed out the unofficial first half of the NBA season on a roll, posting straight-up wins in 12 of its past 15 contests ahead of Thursday night’s Celtics vs. Bucks betting matchup at Fiserv Forum. The club emerged as a reliable wager on the road during that stretch, posting four SU wins while going 2-1-1 against the spread including a 112-109 victory in Philadelphia as 7.5-point underdogs on Feb. 12.

With their recent victory over the 76ers, the Celtics now have posted outright wins in three straight outings while pegged as road underdogs, ending an 0-7 SU and 1-6 ATS run while sporting positive odds on the road.

However, the Celtics’ recent strong play has done little to improve their positioning in the  Eastern Conference standings, where they remain knotted with the 76ers in fourth place, 6 1/2 games back of the conference-leading Bucks.

The Celtics also face a challenging schedule down the stretch, with 14 of their final 24 games of the regular season coming away from TD Garden. But with dates scheduled against both the Bucks and the second-place Toronto Raptors during the three-game road trip that kicks off Thursday night, the Celtics remain poised to gain ground in the standings and bolster their +215 odds at online betting sites of claiming this year’s Eastern Conference title.

The Bucks will be looking to maintain the consistency that has vaulted them to the top of the NBA standings as they return to action against Boston. Milwaukee posted SU wins in 14 of 16 outings ahead of the All-Star Break, and has avoided consecutive outright losses this season.

Milwaukee also has regularly paid out on the NBA odds, covering in eight of its past nine overall. However, the Bucks have struggled to reward bettors at times when playing at home, going 3-3 ATS in their past six and just 9-9 ATS in 18 home dates since Thanksgiving Day, and are just 1-3 ATS in their past four when pegged as home favorites of four or more points.

The Bucks also have produced shaky results in recent years when facing the Celtics, going 5-9 SU and ATS in 14 regular-season meetings since April 2015 according to the OddsShark NBA Database, and they have covered just once while going 2-4 SU in six home dates with Boston during that stretch.

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