A trip to the Finals was on the line the last three times these franchises met in the postseason. Miami won each of those series, though Boston is favored to end to that streak. This is a meeting of two of the best defenses in the league and two of the best playoff performers thus far in Boston’s Jayson Tatum and Miami’s Jimmy Butler.
If you’re interested in a series betting preview, I’ve got you covered. And if you’re interested in betting on Game 1, keep reading for my four-leg, same-game parlay.
Regular-season record: 117-113-2
Play-in/playoffs record: 58-58
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET | ESPN
Spread: Celtics +1.5 (+100) | Heat -1.5 (-110)
Moneyline: Celtics (+110) | Heat (-133)
Total: Under 204.5 (-110) | Over 204.5 (-110)
Leg 1: Heat -1.5
Miami is 6-0 straight-up at home in the playoffs and 5-1 against the spread (ATS). It’s won both Game 1s in these playoffs by double digits in front of its home crowd. Granted, Boston has fared well on the road in the postseason. The Celtics are 4-1 straight up and 5-0 ATS. The true advantage here is the rest the Heat had between their closeout Game 6 win against Philadelphia last Thursday compared with the C’s having played a physical, seven-game series that didn’t end until Sunday. Boston will find its footing—I picked them to win this series—but it will take a game, at least.
Leg 2: Marcus Smart Over 3.5 Assists
Smart leads Boston in assists per game in the playoffs (6.2) and tallied his second double-digit dime playoff game in Game 7. His playmaking improved by necessity when Boston moved off Kemba Walker and he responded with a career-best 5.9 assists per game this season. Smart has topped this total in eight of 10 playoff games. Four assists is a small ask for a starting point guard, especially with the expectation that Tatum, the team’s second-leading distributor, will be looking for his shots.
Leg 3: Al Horford Over 7.5 Rebounds
Horford went over this total in every game of the Bucks series, averaging 10.4 boards per game and tallying as many as 16 against the No. 1 rebounding team in the playoffs. The Heat are about on par with the Celtics’ rebounding numbers. After Horford had a relatively limited role in the Nets series, coach Ime Udoka called upon the veteran to be the difference maker against the Bucks with Robert Williams III out. Horford’s minutes shot up nearly seven minutes per game and his rebounds soared too.
Leg 4: Jimmy Butler Over 24.5 Points
Oddly enough, Butler has had some slow series starts in the playoffs. His lowest and third-lowest point totals have come in Game 1s. He had 21 against the Hawks and then just 15 against the 76ers in a pair of blowout wins. I expect Miami to win, but it won’t coast the way it did in either of those games. That will necessitate more offense from Butler, who’s averaging close to 30 ppg in the postseason.
BET: Four-Leg, Same-Game Parlay: +475
- Heat -1.5
- Marcus Smart Over 3.5 Assists
- Al Horford Over 7.5 Rebounds
- Jimmy Butler Over 24.5 Points
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