After sweeping the Indiana Pacers in four games in their first-round playoff series, the Boston Celtics are expected to face stiffer competition when they kick off their second-round tilt with the Milwaukee Bucks this week as +230 underdogs on the NBA series prices at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Boston dominated the Pacers during its first-round sweep, claiming victory by an average of 7.5 points per game, and is now 10-2 straight-up in its past 12 games ahead of its Game 1 matchup against the Bucks at Fiserv Forum.

The Celtics have regularly rewarded bettors during their current tear, posting against the spread wins in seven of eight contests, including each of their first-round dates with Indiana. However, now set to tip off against the best team in the NBA this season, Boston has failed to make significant gains on the NBA championship odds, lagging behind the favorites at +1400.

Set near the top of the NBA futures at the outset of the campaign, the Celtics struggled with consistency throughout the season. Four-game losing streaks in both February and March effectively dashed Boston’s hopes of claiming the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings, with the team only seizing fourth place and home-court advantage in the first round on the strength of a 6-2 SU run to close the schedule.

Defense also emerged as a problem late in the season, with the Celtics surrendering 110 or more points in 11 of their final 15 regular season outings. However, the team tightened things up against Indiana, limiting the Pacers to just 91.75 points per game in the first round, and generating a 3-1 run for the UNDER in totals betting.

The Celtics will need to continue their stingy defensive play against the high-powered Bucks, who enter the second round as heavy -280 series favorites on the NBA odds following their first-round sweep of the Detroit Pistons.

The Bucks ascended to the ranks of the NBA’s elite teams while recording an NBA-best 60 SU wins this season, and look to their second-round date with the Celtics trailing only the Golden State Warriors as a +450 wager on the NBA championship odds.

Milwaukee simply outclassed Detroit in the opening round, outscoring the Pistons by 23.75 points per game to claim their first playoff series win since 2001. The Bucks also took two of three SU from Boston during the regular season.

However, it was Boston that emerged victorious in a hard-fought first-round clash that went seven games last spring, marking the Celtics’ fourth straight playoff series win over Milwaukee since 1983.

Thumbnail photo via Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports Images