NBA picks, best bets: Bucks will miss Khris Middleton vs. Celtics; Warriors rested for Game 1 vs. Grizzlies

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With the 2021-22 NBA regular season now in the books, the basketball betting market is hotter than ever. CBS Sports will be providing daily picks for the duration of the postseason. Sam Quinn will make at least one pick for every game between now and the NBA Finals. All lines courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.

Featured Game | Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks

The degree to which Khris Middleton’s absence should impact this series has largely been understated due to Milwaukee’s success without him against Chicago. Middleton shot nearly 60 percent from the field when he faced Boston in the 2018 playoffs, and while he wasn’t quite as successful in 2019, he went over to average over 23 points per game against them in the next two regular seasons. Milwaukee’s primary late-game action last postseason, the Middleton-Giannis Antetokounmpo pick-and-roll, is off of the board, and perhaps just as importantly, the Bucks no longer have a like-size defender to throw at Jayson Tatum. Jrue Holiday and Wes Matthews are likely to get the assignment, but Tatum’s height gives him a significant edge against either. Antetokounmpo might spend late-game possessions on him, but that means removing him from his weak-side help role, which creates other issues for the Bucks. Holiday is probably the better overall player right now, but in this specific series, Middleton would have been the second-most important Buck. Now, picking the Bucks on the road means expecting an absolutely dominant game out of Antetokounmpo. He’s capable of giving the Bucks one. With Boston’s defense playing as well as it has, I wouldn’t bet on it. The pick: Celtics -4.5

Featured Game | Memphis Grizzlies vs. Golden State Warriors

The books are putting a lot of weight on Memphis’ home-court advantage here, because otherwise, it’s unclear why the Grizzlies would be favored. Their first-round series ended on Friday, and with an early afternoon tip, they’ll have less than two days of rest before squaring off with a Warriors squad that has been off since Wednesday. Memphis survived the first-round largely off of Minnesota’s mistakes. The Timberwolves built leads of 13 or more points in five of the six games they played, yet somehow won only twice. Do you expect a team with as much playoff experience as the Warriors to blow double-digit leads consistently? Because I don’t. The pick: Warriors -2

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