NBA Conference Semifinals Day 10 Betting Preview: Bucks Are Big Dogs In Boston, Warriors Expected To Advance

Who would've thought that the Bucks (+5.5) would be a bigger underdog than a Grizzlies team (+4) playing without Ja Morant? I realize that Memphis is at home and nearly stole Game 4 sans Morant on the road, but still, that seems wild to me. Then again, these NBA playoffs have been damn near impossible to predict on a night-to-night basis, so what does anyone know.

Read on for a closer look at the primary betting lines for Wednesday's action as the Warriors try to knock out the upstart Grizz and Boston aims for a 3-2 series lead on the defending NBA champions.

Horford's hot streak has Celtics soaring

Bucks at Celtics (Game 5— Series tied 2-2), 7 p.m. ET on TNT

I don't know what the actual hell has gotten into Al Horford. He's one of the few who's had a modicum of success guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo over the years, and after a regular season where he averaged just over 10 points, and shot 33.6% from beyond the arc, I can't say I foresaw him valmorphanizing into a dominant force of nature. But here we are. WTF.

To be on this kind of heater, coming back to Boston, and still being listed at +120 to record a double-double has to piss Horford off even more if he were to be made aware of such a thing. His points over/under is only 13.5, too. Apparently he's expected to fall off in a big way tonight. I have no fucking idea. Horford turns 36 next month. Nothing about this makes any sense.

With Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown attracting so much attention, you have to give Horford credit for coming up huge. I just wonder if he can keep it up, or if the Celtics can continue to overcome the fact that Milwaukee holds a huge series edge in average paint scoring at 44.8 to 30.8. That's a lot of extra work and reliance on perimeter shooting by Boston. Seems like a red flag entering a relatively do-or-die Game 5.

You know who the Bucks' big key is for this showdown, though? Jrue Holiday (OU 21.5 points). Can't help but root for this guy because of his lockdown defense and underrated shooting/distributing. That said, Holiday's jump shot is living up to his surname. By that I mean it's taken a vacation since the playoffs began. He's been abysmal against the C's, with a 33.6% clip from the field, including a 5-for-22 showing in Game 4's 116-108 loss. If Holiday is even decent, the Bucks are probably up 3-1. Imagine if Holiday just shoots in the 40s and Giannis gets to 50% for only the second time all series long. That'd be bad news for the Celtics. 

Here's how to feel secure if you're a Boston bettor: The C's (-5.5) have covered in their last eight nighttime tip-offs against Milwaukee (+180), who's just 5-10 ATS and SU as an away underdog. Boston has also proven that its defense is no fluke. Holiday's job won't get any easier with Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart and others hounding him into contested shots.

One more trend: The Bucks are 9-1 vs. the Under (213 at -109) in their last 10 playoff games.

Warriors walk into Memphis as title favorites

Warriors at Grizzlies (Game 5— GS leads 3-1), 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Golden State almost blew Game 4 at home as the Grizzlies, once again, proved they can compete with the NBA's elite even with Morant sidelined. Despite that close call, the Warriors (+200) are actually ahead of the Suns (+225) as championship favorites in the latest futures market.

It took a 39-29 fourth quarter for the Dubs to pull off a 101-98 thriller in San Francisco. That was the latest examples in a long line of them where a championship-tested squad shows a younger opponent what it really takes to get it done on the biggest stage. Stephen Curry (OU 28.5 points) scored 18 in the last frame. Legendary stuff from a three-time title winner.

Memphis' go-to options on offense with Morant sidelined were Jaren Jackson Jr. and Dillon Brooks. They combined to shoot 2-for-16 from 3-point range and 30% from the floor on 40 attempts. That's not going to get it done. You could say either of them are due to bounce back and help the Grizzlies stay alive tonight. Then again, I doubt Golden State's Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson will go anywhere near 10-for-32 and brick all 10 of their treys like they did in Game 4.

Also: Need a clutch stop in crunch time? Who better to handle that than Draymond Green? Another advantage to the Warriors.

Although Game 5 may well be close, considering Memphis (+4) is 16-2 ATS following a road loss lately, the harsh reality for Wednesday's hosts is that the Warriors have Curry, Thompson and Poole. Any one of them can catch absolute fire and score at will. No one on the Grizzlies' side really has that, especially since Morant can't create shots for others or take matters into his own hands.

Morant not being able to play is such a bummer for what was shaping up to be a fantastic series. He's skyrocketed in popularity during this season and these playoffs. Hopefully he can stay healthy going forward, because I'd be more inclined to like the Grizzlies' chances in this big spot if Morant were out there. Since that's not the case, I don't see it.

One more trend: Memphis (+125) has won its past seven first quarters vs. Golden State.

NBA Plays of the Day: Bucks +5.5, Jrue Holiday Over 21.5 points (-105) / Warriors -4, Klay Thompson Over 20.5 points (-122)

I'm counting on Holiday's jumper to return from premature vacation and to be a big reason why Milwaukee covers at TD Garden. A strong case has been made in the above section for the Warriors to win rather comfortably. As for Thompson, the Grizz have done a number on him this series (15.5 ppg, 36.3 FG%). So that makes you wonder why the Splash Brother's line is set five points higher than his average, with that much juice on it. I'm siding with the bookmakers here and calling a monster night for Klay to help Golden State close this thing out.

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