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Celtics vs. Bucks predictions: Bet these three player props Thursday

Look for Boston’s Tatum, Brown and Milwaukee’s Antetokounmpo to fill up the stat sheet

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum tallied 41 points in the Celtics’ 139-118 blowout win over the Bucks on Christmas Day. Tatum is averaging just over 30 points per game for the season heading into Thursday’s contest in Milwaukee, where he’s projected for 28.5 points. (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)
Celtics forward Jayson Tatum tallied 41 points in the Celtics’ 139-118 blowout win over the Bucks on Christmas Day. Tatum is averaging just over 30 points per game for the season heading into Thursday’s contest in Milwaukee, where he’s projected for 28.5 points. (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)Read moreBrian Fluharty / Getty Images

The average number of combined points in the last 11 Celtics vs. Bucks regular season meetings is 240.6. That includes two battles this year that ended with final scores of 139-118 and 131-125.

Boston’s per-game scoring average this season: 118.0, tied for third-most in the NBA. In their last six outings alone, the Celtics have tallied 126, 117, 132, 120, 137 and 111 points. Milwaukee’s per-game scoring average this season: 117.2, tied for sixth-most in the NBA. The Bucks have put up 130, 144, 126 and 149 in four of their last five contests.

So we’re going to go way out on a limb and predict just a little bit of offense Thursday night in Milwaukee, where the Eastern Conference’s top two teams collide for the final time in 2022-23 — at least until the playoffs, anyway.

As such, we’re also predicting that three of the biggest stars on the court will shine bright. Here’s a trio of Celtics vs. Bucks player props for Thursday’s marquee NBA matchup.

Odds updated as of 1 p.m. ET on March 30.

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Celtics vs. Bucks prop: Jayson Tatum total points scored

  1. Odds: 28.5, Over -113/Under -113 (at FanDuel)

  2. Prediction: Over

Once the clear-cut favorite to win this year’s MVP, Tatum has fallen completely out of contention for the award. But it’s not because he’s been out injured or been underperforming.

The multifaceted Celtics forward is sixth in the league in scoring at 30.1 points per contest. That includes a 41-point performance against the Bucks at home on Christmas Day (he sat out the second meeting in Milwaukee on Valentine’s Day).

Over the past two months, though, Tatum has been hit-or-miss in the scoring department. In the 21 games he’s played since the beginning of February, the former Duke star has put up 22 points or fewer nine times and 28 or more 12 times.

That includes four games in the teens and nine contests of 34 points or more.

Tatum has picked up the pace recently, though, scoring 34, 36, 34 and 28 in four of his last five outings. The one outlier was a 15-point effort in Utah on March 18.

With the way the Bucks have been “playing” defense lately — 124.5 points allowed in the last four games — and with this likely to be another up-tempo Celtics-Bucks track meet, we like Tatum to go for 30-plus.

Which is exactly what he’s done in four of his last five games against Milwaukee going back to last year’s Eastern Conference semifinals series.

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Celtics vs. Bucks prop: Jaylen Brown total made 3-pointers

  1. Odds: 2.5, Over -105/Under -130 (at BetMGM)

  2. Prediction: Over

No surprise, this prop number is right on Brown’s per-game 3-point average both for this season and last: 2.5. But it’s actually higher than the total number of 3-pointers Brown has drained in his last two games.

That number? Two.

Brown misfired on 12 of 14 shots from beyond the arc on Sunday against Sacramento (2-for-10) and Tuesday at Washington (0-for-4).

It’s not his only 3-point slump this month, either. During a four-game, six-day stretch against the Knicks, Cavaliers, Trail Blazers and Hawks, Brown went a combined 4-for-20 from deep.

However, during a six-game span in between those two poor shooting streaks, Brown blistered the nets in going 22-for-46 from downtown.

Brown cleared three 3-pointers in five of those contests — which is something he’s done in 28 of 64 games this season. That includes a 5-for-9 performance on Christmas Day against the Bucks. (Like Tatum, Brown didn’t play in the Valentine’s Day rematch in Wisconsin.)

Going back to last year’s playoff series, Brown has made at least three triples in five of his last eight games against Milwaukee. And he’s shot nearly 50% from deep (26-for-53) in the process.

So we’ll roll the dice with Brown to shoot himself out of his mini 3-point slump and beat this BetMGM prop Thursday night.

Celtics vs. Bucks prop: Giannis Antetokounmpo total points, rebounds and assists

  1. Odds: 49.5, Over -110/Under -120 (at BetMGM)

  2. Prediction: Over

Unlike Tatum and Brown, Antetokounmpo showed up for both meetings against Boston this season.

The first, in Beantown, was not a vintage Greek Freak performance: He went 9-for-22 from the field and finished with 27 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Those combined 39 points/rebounds/assists performance fell 10.5 short of Thursday’s prop number.

When Antetokounmpo faced the Celtics at home on Feb. 14? Totally different story. He had 58 combined points (36), rebounds (13) and assists (nine).

Of course, torching the C’s in front of Bucks fans is nothing new for Antetokounmpo. Including the playoffs, here are the points/rebounds/assists totals in his last six games against Boston in Milwaukee: 58, 66, 57, 62, 45 (last year’s regular-season finale), 53.

So Antetokounmpo cleared 49.5 five times — and cleared it with ease.

The only potential downside in taking this Over? Antetokounmpo played last night in Indiana. But he only logged 32 minutes, during which time he produced a ho-hum triple-double of 38 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists.

Also, Antetokounmpo sat out the previous game. So he’s played just those 32 minutes since Saturday.

Another factor that favors The Greek Freak in this one: Boston’s defense hasn’t been traveling lately. Going back to the Valentine’s Day game in Milwaukee, the Celtics have allowed an average of 117.5 points in their 12 contests as a visitor.

That includes Tuesday’s 130-111 loss in Washington, where the Wizards’ Kristaps Porzingis went for 32 points, 13 rebounds and six assists.

Bet on a big performance from Antetokounmpo in this one.

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