The top-seeded Miami Heat host the No. 2 seed Boston Celtics Wednesday for a pivotal Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals at FTX Arena. The series is tied 2-2 and tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN). Below, we look at the Celtics vs. Heat odds and lines, and make our expert NBA picks, predictions and bets.
Boston evened the series Monday with a 102-82 Game 4 beatdown at home. The Heat missed their first 14 field goals and the starting 5 scored the fewest points (18) by a playoff team’s starting lineup since 1970-71.
Celtics All-Star SF Jayson Tatum lit up the Heat for 31 points on 8-for-16 shooting with 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks, and Boston outperformed Miami in three of the “four factors” Monday.
Also see: Bet Slippin’ Podcast: Boston Celtics, Miami Heat Game 5
Celtics at Heat odds and lines
Odds provided by Tipico Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports Scores and Sports Betting Odds hub for a full list. Lines last updated at 3:04 p.m. ET.
Money line (ML): Celtics -145 (bet $145 to win $100) | Heat +120 (bet $100 to win $120)
Against the spread: Celtics -2.5 (-115) | Heat +2.5 (-107)
Over/Under: 203.5 (O: -112 | U: -108)
Celtics at Heat key injuries
PG Marcus Smart (ankle) questionable
C Robert Williams III (knee) questionable
PG Tyler Herro (groin) questionable
PG Kyle Lowry (hamstring) questionable
SG Max Strus (hamstring) questionable
PF P.J. Tucker (knee) questionable
PG Gabe Vincent (hamstring) questionable
Celtics at Heat picks and predictions
Heat 107, Celtics 102
PASS with a strong lean toward the Heat (+120).
I like Miami getting points and will generally sprinkle on an underdog’s ML when betting it to cover.
Money is pouring in on the Celtics, so the Heat’s ML will get fatter if they get bad injury news. Wait until closer to the tip-off to get a better price for Miami, both ATS and on the ML.
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Against the spread
BET HEAT +2.5 (-107).
This sharper side of the market favors Miami while the public is betting the Celtics.
According to Tipico Sportsbook, 75% of the cash is on Miami, but roughly that same percentage of the bets are on Boston. It’s wiser to follow the money when it’s counter to the public because professional bettors put up more dough than your average Joe.
This is a profitable spot for the Heat, who are 4-1 ATS as home underdogs with a plus-7.5 ATS margin, 21-11-1 ATS following a loss and 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games after a loss.
Miami also has a significant coaching edge since Erik Spoelstra has “been there and done that,” while Celtics coach Ime Udoka is in his first year on the job. Boston’s offense has the second-highest 3-point attempt rate in these playoffs and Spoelstra can out-scheme a predictable offense.
BET HEAT +2.5 (-107).
BET OVER 203.5 (-112).
Miami’s offense will bounce back from an all-time playoff clunker. This could turn into a 3-point shootout since Boston’s 3-point attempt rate is through the roof and the Heat had the best 3-point shooting percentage in the NBA during the regular season.
Furthermore, the total has been steamed up by sharp action, Miami is 9-2 O/U in the last 11 games vs. teams with a winning record, Boston is 8-2-1 O/U in the last 11 games as a road favorite and the Over has cashed in 10 of the last 14 Celtics-Heat meetings.
Miami plus the points (+2.5) is my preferred wager because the coaching edge and market movement are my strongest handicapping angles for Game 5. Plus, the Heat could try to muck up the game depending on who suits up for them.
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