Wednesday NBA Playoffs Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Celtics vs. Heat Game 4 (Sept. 23)
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jayson Tatum (0).
- Miami jumped out to a hard-fought 2-0 series lead entering Game 3, but the return of Celtics forward Gordon Hayward proved to be a pivotal change for Boston's offense.
- The Celtics now have the opportunity in Game 4 to even the series, but is the price right at -3.5?
- Joe Dellera breaks down the odds for Miami vs. Boston and offers his analysis and recommendation for how to bet Wednesday's NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 4 matchup.
Celtics vs. Heat Game 4 Odds
|Celtics Odds||-3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Heat Odds||+3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-165/+140 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||212 [BET NOW]|
|Time||8:30 p.m. ET|
The Celtics took care of business against the Heat on Saturday, and both teams received a bit of extended rest before Wednesday’s pivotal Game 4 matchup. Will Boston even the series, or will Miami take a commanding 3-1 lead?
Gordon Hayward is back, and his presence has dramatically changed the Celtics’ rotations. Each of Boston’s top five players — Brown, Tatum, Kemba, Smart and Hayward — played at least 30 minutes in Game 3. Daniel Theis also saw 24 minutes of court time, but Boston’s basic rotation stopped with Theis.
Only three other players saw the court, and each of them played fewer than 10 minutes. This is the type of rotation we can expect moving forward, especially with Romeo Langford undergoing season-ending surgery on his wrist on Tuesday. If anything, Hayward should see more minutes in Game 4.
The return of Hayward is critical, and I think it’s a turning point in this series. Contrary to what his pedestrian +1 Plus/Minus might imply in the official box score, Hayward’s contribution transforms the Celtics into the best version of themselves. Hayward has the ability to create his own shot but is not selfish and actually has an 18.0% assist percentage, per Cleaning the Glass.
Boston is 4.9 points better per 100 possessions when Hayward is on the court rather than off. A large part of that differential is attributable to Hayward’s efficiency and versatility on offense.
Per Cleaning the Glass, in all Boston lineups with Hayward, the Celtics rank in the 83rd percentile in effective field goal percentage (eFG%) and the 88th percentile in offensive points per 100 possessions. Those marks drop to the 23rd and 57th percentiles respectively when Hayward is off the court.
The Celtics defensive plan in Game 3 centered on Marcus Smart cutting off the Miami offense at the top of the key. Boston deployed Smart to guard Goran Dragic, who struggled to produce against Smart’s stingy defense. Dragic scored only 10 points on 20% shooting as the Celtics continually forced the ball out of his hands.
The Heat offense suffered as a whole. The Celtics held Miami to a 46.4% eFG% as the Heat went cold from 3-point range (28.%). The looks were there, but the Celtics’ elite defense finally locked down the perimeter like they did during the regular season. Prior to postseason play, Boston conceded a low 34.6% opponent 3-point percentage, per Cleaning the Glass.
In order for Miami to succeed, the Heat need to cycle the majority of their offense through Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson, neither of whom are adept at creating their own shots. If the Celtics continue to harass Dragic and the other Miami guards, the task becomes even more difficult.
Betting Analysis & Pick
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I think Boston is the better team and easily could be up 2-1 in this series. Now that the Celtics are healthy and running their best lineup out on the court, I expect them to tie this series up in Game 4.
Furthermore, it has been profitable to follow the money when betting on favorites in the NBA Playoffs. And this particular game aligns with a profitable BetLabs Pro System:
At the time of this writing, the Celtics are receiving 73% of spread bets and 99% of the money. Additionally, there have been two steam moves on this game: One on Miami +3 and then an immediate buyback on the Celtics at -2.5.
I trust the Celtics to cover this spread, especially because I don’t think it’s adjusted for the impact that Gordon Hayward brings to this matchup.
The PICK: Celtics -3 (play up to -4).
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