- The Miami Heat are 8-point road underdogs when they visit the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the East Finals
- Boston outlasted the 76ers in Round 2, winning Game 7 behind 51 points from Jayson Tatum
- Don’t miss the latest Heat vs Celtics Game 1 odds here, plus player props to target and betting prediction
It’s a the current spring tradition of the NBA Playoffs.
The 8th-seeded Miami Heat will visit the 2nd-seeded Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the third time in four seasons they’ve met for a trip to the title series.
Miami dispatched the New York Knicks in six games in Round 2, and they’re looking to become just the second 8-seed to advance to the NBA Finals.
Boston, meanwhile, stopped the Philadelphia 76ers in seven games to get to the NBA’s Final Four.
The matchup goes Wednesday (May 17) at 8:30pm ET from TD Garden in Boston, MA. The game can be seen live on TNT.
Heat vs Celtics Game 1 Odds
|Miami Heat||+8.0 (-117)||+247||O 210.5 (-117)|
|Boston Celtics||-8.0 (-117)||-374||U 210.5 (-117)|
The two teams split their 4-game regular-season series, but they haven’t seen each other since late January.
Boston is the betting favorite in the NBA Championship odds, while the Heat have the longest odds at +1400.
Odds as of May 16 at Caesars Sportsbook.
Heat Continue To Surprise, Survive
It’s safe to say the Miami Heat are not your average 8-seed.
Their unlikely run to the Conference Finals shattered the East’s NBA Playoff Bracket, and they’ve gotten here by any means necessary.
In an opening round upset of the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, the Heat — the lowest scoring team in the NBA’s regular season — led Round 1 in scoring, dropping 124 points per game.
Over the course of the 5-game series, Miami shot a blistering 51.9% from the field and 45% from three-point range.
— WPLG Local 10 Sports (@Local10Sports) May 16, 2023
Against the Knicks, they grinded their opponent down to take it in six games while averaging just 104.3 points, shooting 42.5% from the field and 30.8% from distance.
They’re led by playoff superhero Jimmy Butler, who’s averaging 31.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.8 dimes across 11 games. Bam Adebayo averaged 18.7 points and 9.7 rebounds against the Knicks.
That pair’s offence is vital, considering Miami is lacking major firepower power in Tyler Herro (hand), while Victor Oladipo (knee) is done for the year. Kyle Lowry, Caleb Martin, Max Strus and Kevin Love will all need to contribute to help ease that burden.
Tatum Delivers in Game 7
After struggling mightily through 36 minutes in Game 6 of their series with Philly, Jayson Tatum caught fire in the fourth quarter to help save the Celtics’ season.
Tatum carried that momentum right into Game 7, his 51 points the most ever in a Game 7 in NBA playoff history, while adding 13 boards, five dimes and two steals, leading Boston to a 112-88 evisceration of the 76ers. He’ll try to book a second consecutive trip to the Finals.
THE JAYSON TATUM GAME 🗣️
51 PTS (Game 7 NBA record)
— NBA (@NBA) May 14, 2023
Boston is the 2nd-highest scoring team left in the playoffs, putting up 115.5 points per game, powered by a unit that boasts the top 3-point shooting in the playoffs, hitting at a 39.5% rate.
While Tatum felt the pendulum of highs and lows, Jaylen Brown was consistently good for Boston against Philly, averaging 22.9 points on 54.1% shooting from the field and 43.2% from downtown.
Defensively, these teams are nearly identical in points allowed per game, with the C’s seventh at 108.3, followed closely by the Heat at 108.8.
Heat vs Celtics Prop Bets & Predictions
Looking for player props to target? Malcolm Brogdon rediscovered his three-point stroke against the Sixers, hitting 21 across seven games, crossing 2.5 makes three times, just falling under that number twice. At +129 odds, we like him going over Wednesday.
One bet we were fond of in Round 2 that the books have kept pretty consistently is Kyle Lowry’s total for points/rebounds/assists. He bested that 18.5 number four times in seven games against the Knicks. Look for him to get it done in Game 1.
As for the game result, one incredible matchup will be the turnover battle. The Celtics’ 12 turnovers per game is second only to Denver, but they’ll be tested by a Heat side that scores a playoff-best 20.4 points per game off turnovers.
The Heat have been a great bet against good squads, going 6-1 against the spread in their last seven games against teams with a .600 winning percentage or higher.
Boston has struggled in this head-to-head of late, just 5-13 ATS in their last 18 at TD Garden.
The C’s are still coming down from the high of a Game 7 win, enough that the Heat should be able to hang. Consider those eight points a gift.
Pick: Heat +8 (-117)
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