Celtics vs Heat Prediction, Picks Today (Sunday, Feb. 11)
Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics drives to the basket against Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat during the third quarter of the game at Kaseya Center. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)
Here's everything you need to know about Celtics vs. Heat on Sunday, Feb. 11 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today.
We've got two NBA games on the docket for Sunday to warm us up for what should be a fantastic Super Bowl. The first game takes place in Miami, where the Heat are looking to continue their positive momentum against the mighty Celtics.
Let's get to our Celtics vs. Heat prediction and pick.
Celtics vs. Heat Prediction
Pick: Heat +5.5 (-110)
The Celtics have been one of the most consistently dominant teams in the NBA since the start of the season. However, they haven't exactly been the friendliest to bettors as they're just 24-26-2 against the spread. As road favorites, they've been even worse, covering in just 45% of their 22 road games with an average ATS margin of victory of just 0.6 points.
Despite top-three rankings on both sides of the floor over the course of the season, Boston's numbers have slipped ever so slightly since the start of January — particularly on offense where the Celtics rank just seventh with a 119.5 offensive rating. It's not much, but it does offer the slightest glimmer of hope for a Miami team looking to steal a win. Boston's numbers from outside — which are ultimately the ones that matter — have remained consistent since the start of January, even if its ranking has slipped to 12th. Since the start of February, however, the Celtics are shooting just 33.5% from 3, according to Cleaning the Glass.
The Celtics have sat atop the league in 3-point frequency for the majority of the season, but a road game could be tricky as the Celtics have experienced a three-point dip in their 3-point shooting in road games and will be up against a Heat defense that ranks 12th in 3-point defense, according to Cleaning the Glass.
Jimmy Butler's status is the huge elephant in the room. He is listed as questionable due to personal reasons, and should he miss this one, Miami's all-important 3-point defense will take a hit and won't have a strong primary defender for Jayson Tatum.
We'll have to wait for an update, but if Butler plays, this game should set up rather nicely for Miami. The Heat have been one of the better teams in the league at slowing the outside shot and over the course of their past five games — which have included four impressive wins to turn the momentum of their season around — they've ranked second in the NBA with a 32.3% opponent field goal percentage from 3.
The Heat may be vulnerable at the rim, but judging by how many 3-pointers the Celtics shoot, I would certainly favor this defense to do another bang-up job. Things have been a bit harder on offense for Miami, but the Heat have ranked in the top five of the league in field goal percentage at the rim and in the mid-range over this five-game run. That's significant because those are two areas in which the Celtics have been slightly vulnerable over the past five or so weeks.
Celtics vs. Heat Picks, Odds
Judging by this line, I think we should bet this game with the assumption that Butler will play. With that, I think the Heat are the side you want to take.
Miami has been equally dreadful against the spread this season, including games at home, but has certainly turned a corner in the past two weeks and brought its defense back up to an elite level. Winning the battle at the 3-point line against the Celtics — one of the strongest shooting teams in the league — is paramount and the Heat should have good chance to do that.
If Miami slows Boston's outside attack, this game should remain close.