By Adam Thompson | | 4 mins
Is Celtics-Heat-76ers Combo Bet Over Bucks Worth A Play?
The Milwaukee Bucks have run through the competition to not just the best record in the NBA, but one of the best records in NBA history to this point.
The Bucks are 53-9 with a 9.5-game lead atop the Eastern Conference. Their .855 win percentage ranks third-best in NBA history, behind only Steph Curry’s 2015-16 Golden State Warriors (.890) and Michael Jordan’s 1995-96 Chicago Bulls (.878).
Nothing is a given in NBA betting circles. The Warriors, the best regular-season team in history (73-9), didn’t even win the championship that season. Now BetMGM is stacking the deck against the Bucks.
Milwaukee is the prohibitive favorite to win the Eastern Conference; the lowest price is -175. But BetMGM has introduced a wager that allows you to take the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers — all of them — to win the Eastern Conference at +250.
Does a 3 vs. 1 NBA futures betting wager make sense, or is any wager against Milwaukee too risky? Bookies.com breaks down the intriguing pick.
Who Can Beat The Milwaukee Bucks?
There are some legit contenders in the East. Along with the Bucks, Celtics, Heat and 76ers, there are the Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers.
On paper, the 76ers have as much talent as any team in the East, but it hasn’t translated to smooth play. They appear dysfunctional, they’ve lost the last two meetings with Milwaukee by a combined 32 points and they’re an abysmal 9-23 on the road. As the current No. 6 seed in the East, Philadelphia does not appear to be primed to get out of the opening round — where either the Celtics or the Heat could await.
So the Sixers are out.
Milwaukee has lost just eight games all year, and one of those was a throwaway without Giannis Antetokounmpo right before the All-Star Break. That loss was at Indiana, but in the other three meetings between the Pacers and Bucks when the reigning NBA MVP played, Milwaukee won all three, each by at least 19 points.
So the Pacers are out.
Boston Celtics, Miami Heat Have Chance
The Celtics are 1-1 vs. Milwaukee, beating the Bucks by 11 in October but falling at home by five points on Jan. 16. The Bucks led by 16 after one quarter before fighting off Kemba Walker (40 points) and holding on.
Boston likely ends up as a No. 2 or 3 seed, along with the Raptors. The Celtics own a 2-1 season series advantage over the Raptors with one huge game to go on March 20.
The Miami Heat are the one team to not just hang with the Bucks more than once, but beat them.
Miami won at Milwaukee 131-126 in OT, though it was just the second game of the season. And Jimmy Butler didn’t play for the Heat.
The rematch in Miami on March 2 was even more impressive. The Heat held Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton to a combined 10-of-34 shooting and 25 points and Miami rolled to a thorough 105-89 victory. Nobody scored more than 18 points for the Heat and they shot just 43% as a team.
Miami’s road record (13-18) should give pause, but in terms of personnel, game plan and results so far, we shouldn’t discount Miami’s chances to shock the world — as long as it can avoid Boston. Miami is 0-2 vs. the Celtics but a combined 9-1 vs. the other East contenders.
What About The Raptors?
The Raptors are not included in this wager, but they’re sitting in the No. 2 spot in the East.
Against the Bucks, Toronto is 0-2 with the defeats by 9 and 10 points. The Raptors are also 0-2 vs. the Heat and 1-2 vs. the Celtics. Toronto is a shaky pick despite being the No. 2 seed based on its track record against the rest of the East elite.
Conclusion With A Twist
You can get the Celtics, Heat and Sixers at +250. Frankly, there are better ways to spend your hard-earned cash.
Like taking the Heat at +1000 to win the Eastern Conference, an actual line available as of Thursday afternoon at William Hill. Based on how Miami has done against the rest of the East, including the Bucks and Raptors, that’s a nice price. The Celtics are available at +650 as well.
Winning a $100 wager on the Eastern trio gets you $250. A winning $50 ticket on the Heat and Celtics would bring in $500 and $325, respectively. Bet against the Bucks at your own risk, but if you’re going to, there is value to be had.