NBA Playoffs Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Celtics vs. Heat Game 6 (Sunday, Sept. 27)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kemba Walker.
- The Boston Celtics look to force a decisive Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday in Game 6 against the Miami Heat.
- Joe Dellera likes Boston as 3.5-point favorites in Sunday's matchup, and expects Jaylen Brown to have a big night for the Celtics.
- Check out Dellera's full betting preview for Game 6 below.
Celtics vs. Heat Betting Odds
|Celtics Odds||-3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Heat Odds||+3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-155/+130 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||214 [BET NOW]|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
The Celtics finally showed up for all 48 minutes in Game 5 as they finished off a double-digit victory. Can Boston take this to a winner-take-all Game 7 or will the Miami Heat bounce back and head to the Finals?
The Celtics put it all together in a must-win Game 5 and one of the critical differences was how they cut down their turnovers. I wrote about how turnovers were something the Celtics absolutely had to correct to keep their championship hopes alive. The Celtics had turned the ball over on 16.4% of their possessions in this series, but in Game 5 they cut that number to 11.0%. This difference alone is enough to propel the Celtics to another victory.
The Celtics blitzed the Heat on every possession in the third quarter. This aggression forced turnovers, and left Miami backpedaling as Boston ripped off a 20-3 run. The Celtics’ defensive intensity forced Miami to commit unforced errors and they shot just 20% from 3-point range. I’d expect Miami to improve slightly in this category, but the Celtics certainly can keep the clamps on.
Moving forward, the Celtics need to replicate what they did in Game 5. Besides the defensive effort, the biggest shift is how the Celtics used Jaylen Brown. His usage hit a series-high of 25.6% and he went off for 28 points and eight rebounds, per Cleaning the Glass. Should we be surprised by these numbers? Honestly, no. Brown has averaged 22.6 and 7.0 rebounds during this series and in the Celtics’ two wins he has had his two highest usage rates this series. I think the Celtics will continue this trend and cycle the ball through Brown’s hands for the remainder of this series.
Bam Adebayo tried to take the blame for the Game 5 loss, but this extends beyond him. The Celtics definitely won the battle on the glass, as they outrebounded the Heat 50-38, but the effort and counting stats were still there for Adebayo.
Miami’s shooting has actually declined in each game of this series from 3-point range. In Game 1 they shot a series-high 44.4%, and that’s dropped in each game down to just 20% in the Game 5 loss, per Cleaning the Glass. They certainly were due from regression after Game 1, but now it’s a concern whether or not they’re trending too far in the wrong direction. In this series, Miami now averages just 30.1% from 3 compared to their league second-best 37.9% during the regular season, per NBA.com. Some of this should be attributable to the Celtics’ defense, but some of their key shooters have gone cold (see: Jae Crowder going 6-of-33 from 3 the last four games).
The Heat need to work harder to get good looks from 3-point range, and they can do this by forcing the Celtics to commit turnovers that lead to easy transition opportunities. Pushing the pace will keep Boston from keying in their defense and settling into the half court.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I think the Celtics might have turned a corner. Miami is no longer the upstart team trying to pull off the upset — it feels as if the pressure has shifted and the Celtics are in a position to play freely.
I like the Celtics to force a Game 7. Per Betlabs, in Games 6 and 7 of a playoff series, Erik Spoelstra is 1-2 ATS as a dog while Brad Stevens is 4-2 ATS as a favorite. At the time of this writing, the line has moved from Celtics -3 to Celtics -3.5 despite 92% of spread dollars on the Heat. I think this will swing by tipoff as the sharp money comes in on the Celtics.
The Picks: Celtics -3.5 up to -4 and Jaylen Brown over 20.5 points (-115)