NBA Best Bets – Heat/Celtics Series Preview & Game 1 Prediction

Heat @ Celtics

With a rematch of the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals, the Heat will take on the Celtics. Similar to 2020, Boston has been a favorite throughout the playoffs, but the Heat have caught fire and rolled through their first two series.

This is a tricky betting situation, as we have to choose between the hot hand and the juggernaut.

Miami blazed through Milwaukee in the first round, taking down the top seed in just five games. After that, they took on a highly touted New York team that had no answers for Jimmy Butler. While the Heat needed six games to put down the Knicks, they were 4-1 in-game Butler played. Jimmy Butler is an all-time talent, but something about the playoffs inspires him to take it to the next level.

Boston has been in pole position all season long to return to the Finals, but given how they have played this postseason, they should not be such a heavy favorite in this series. In the first round, they needed six games to eliminate an Atlanta team that was falling apart at the end of the season. After that, Philadelphia, a team they dominated historically and had an injured MVP, took them to seven games, and the Celtics barely snuck out.

Given the resume of these two teams, it’s hard to bet the Celtics with confidence. While Boston has the better roster, there is no denying the force of Erik Spoelstra’s team in May.

Series Winner: Miami (+400)
Series Spread: Miami +2.5 Games (-135)

Game 1

Jimmy Butler has averaged 31 points per game over his last ten. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Heat have a fantastic opportunity to jump-start this series with a win in Boston tonight. As the eight-seed, Miami starts every series on the road, but they are still 2-0 in Game 1s. Conversely, Boston has started every series at home, and they are 1-1. While these aren’t wild statistics, they are worth pointing out.

Given how Tatum performed in Game 7 against Philly, it’ll be interesting to see if that’s the player who comes out the remainder of the playoffs or if he will return to his shell for the start of this series.

The Heat know they’re the longshot underdog, so they will bring their best in this first game, as they don’t have the luxury to feel things out in this first meeting. Teams often don’t fare well in Game 1s coming off a 7-game set, so that’s another knock against the Celtics tonight.

This game could go either way, so it’s crazy to see the line where it is. The spread is a gift, but given the odds of the moneyline, bettors may as well throw a little money at it.

Miami +8.5 (-115) [MGM]
Miami (+300)
Jimmy Butler Over 27.5 Points (-115)
Check out the Western Conference Finals Breakdown HERE





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