Celtics vs. Heat Betting Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions: Fade Boston With Jayson Tatum Injured?

Celtics vs. Heat Betting Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions: Fade Boston With Jayson Tatum Injured? article feature image
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Adam Glanzman/Getty Images. Pictured: Jayson Tatum (0) of the Boston Celtics.

Celtics at Heat Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions

  • Spread: Heat -2
  • Over/Under: 219
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: TNT

Odds as of Tuesday afternoon and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.


The Heat are on a back-to-back tonight, but the Celtics looked poor Sunday without Jayson Tatum, who is doubtful tonight.

Our analysts break down his injury, this matchup, betting trends to know and more below.

Betting Trend to Know

In the Brad Stevens era (since the 2013-14 season), Boston is 117-89-3 (56.8%) against the spread (ATS) in the regular season as an underdog. As road dogs, the C’s are 89-58-1 (60.5%) ATS, the most profitable team in the NBA over that span.

Matt Moore: Everything Depends on Tatum

Last week I wrote a whole column on why it was time to start fading Miami in the regular season. And yet I’m breaking away from that.

Jayson Tatum is doubtful for this game. Assuming he doesn’t go, it’s a meaningful difference for how this specific Celtics team plays. Boston is 3-5 ATS since he was drafted when he’s not in the lineup and 1-2 ATS this season. The win came vs. the offensively-challenged Magic.

Here’s a list of Celtics rotation players and the Net Rating differentials from when Tatum is on the floor vs. off. A negative number means the Celtics perform worse when that player is on the floor and Tatum is on the bench; a positive number indicates the team plays better with that player on the court and Tatum on the bench.

  • Kemba Walker: -9.7
  • Jayson Tatum: -7.6
  • Marcus Smart: -6.0
  • Gordon Hayward: -15.2
  • Daniel Theis: -12.6
  • Grant Williams: -10.8
  • Enes Kanter (who is out for this game): +7.1
  • Brad Wanamaker: -7.3
  • Robert Williams III: -29.2

So yeah, a pretty clear picture emerges here.

Now, on top of that, there’s this: Since LeBron James left Miami, Erik Spoelstra’s teams are 13-8-2 as a favorite on the second night of a back-to-back. That number does go to just 6-5-2 ATS at home, but it’s still in the black.

Boston is 7-4 ATS on the road as a dog this season, but they’re without their most impactful player in Tatum.

If Tatum is suddenly cleared late, you’re going to want to get in on Boston. Then we reset to Stevens as a road dog (89-58-1 historically) and fading Miami. But if Tatum is out, I like the Heat.

THE PLAY: Miami -1

Bryan Mears: My Thoughts on Tonight’s Game

I don’t currently have a strong lean on this game, but since it’s the big one of the night, I’ll give my thoughts for those looking for them.

This one is a battle of trends.

  • Heat at home: 16-6-1 ATS, including 14-5-1 as a favorite
  • Celtics on road: 13-8-1 ATS, including 7-4 as a dog

And you’ve likely heard the record of Brad Stevens in this spot. As a road dog in his career, he’s an astounding 89-58-1 (60.5%) ATS, netting bettors an incredible 18.4% ROI.

But the Celtics are also likely to be missing Jayson Tatum, who I think has been their best player this year. In the two games without him lately, they outperformed expectations in the first, beating the Magic as three-point dogs on the road — that trend again — but in the second on Sunday, they got blown out as 1.5-point road dogs to Zion Williamson and the Pelicans.

The data clearly shows Tatum’s value to this team: On the year, the Celtics have been 11.4 points per 100 possessions better with him playing vs. not. That’s in the 96th percentile of all players this season.

For reference, Grant Williams has a +6.0 on/off differential, and then it dips to +2.3 and +2.1 for Enes Kanter and Gordon Hayward, respectively. Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown all have neutral or negative marks.

Kemba has been incredibly valuable offensively, to be fair. The offense has increased its eFG% by 5.6% with him playing, which is easily the highest mark on the team. But Tatum just provides so much value defensively: Opponents consistently shoot much worse from mid-range and beyond the arc with him on the floor.

That’s problematic against a Heat team that ranks third this season in eFG%, second in 3-point percentage and first on specifically non-corner-3s. I think they’ve run hot, and I’ve written that a ton, but they continue to fire away and make everything.

Tatum isn’t the only injury in this game. Jimmy Butler played with a sprained ankle last night, but it’s possible that could bother him on a back-to-back. Kendrick Nunn, one of the league’s best surprises this year, didn’t suit up last night and could miss tonight with an Achilles injury. For Boston, Tatum is doubtful and Enes Kanter is already out.

Regarding how bettors are attacking this game, it’s mixed:

We tracked a ton of steam moves on the Celtics when it opened at +3, but we also just tracked a buyback on the Heat at -1.

Again, this is a weird game and I don’t have a great read on it. I would lean normally towards the Heat given Tatum’s injury, but Stevens is just an absolute wizard in this spot.


Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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