Heat vs. Celtics Odds & Pick: Back Boston In Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals

Credit:

Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images. Pictured: Bam Adebayo.

Sep 17, 2020, 05:00 PM EDT
  • After losing Game 1 in overtime, the Boston Celtics are small favorites for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
  • Find out why our basketball betting analyst Joe Dellera likes their chances of covering against the Miami Heat.

Heat vs. Celtics Odds

Heat Odds +2.5 [BET NOW]
Celtics Odds -2.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +120/-141 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 208.5 (-109/-112) [BET NOW]
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN

Odds as of Wednesday and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


The Miami Heat took Game 1 against the Boston Celtics 117-114 in an overtime thriller on Tuesday. The Heat are now listed as -162 favorites to advance (61.8% implied probability) despite the Celtics being favored in Game 2.

Will the Celtics make the necessary adjustments to even this series, or will Miami take a two-game lead?

Miami Heat

One of the interesting takeaways from Game 1 was Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra sticking with Tyler Herro off the bench instead of Duncan Robinson down the stretch of this game. Herro nearly posted a triple-double (12 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists) in 40 minutes while Robinson had six points and four fouls in just 17 minutes of action.

I don’t expect Robinson to see so few minutes moving forward for the Heat, but Herro might have earned a spot in the rotation above the rest of the bench players because he provides reliable shooting and playmaking ability.

The Heat prioritized trapping Celtics point guard Kemba Walker whenever he had the ball. Kemba still managed 19 points and six assists, but it certainly forced the ball out of his hands. Miami is selling out, and this is going to create openings for other players.

In Game 1, the Heat defended the rim exceptionally, but Boston shredded them from mid-range. Those are shots you live with if you’re Miami, but if Boston sees any uptick from 3-point range, this could prove to be problematic.

Boston Celtics

Miami’s defensive scheme of trapping Walker and leaning on the zone was pretty effective in Game 1. However, Boston still managed 116.5 points per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass. This offensive output is repeatable for the Celtics, as they averaged 113.8 points/100 in the regular season against the Heat.

Boston lost Game 1 due to its defense, allowing Miami to score 119.4 points/100 on 56.5 eFG%. The Heat are essentially running the Houston Rockets’ offense but with an actual center. In Game 1, they took 40% of their shots from 3-point range, but made 44.4% of them (81st percentile), per Cleaning the Glass.

This is far above the percentage the Celtics held the Heat to during the regular season (32.8% on 3s). I’m expecting a bit of regression from the Heat in Game 2, and even a dip to their postseason 3-point average of 38.6% swings this game in the Celtics’ favor.


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The Celtics performed best in Game 1 when the team trusted its system and took time to get open looks and break Miami’s zone. I think the Celtics will learn from their mistakes at the end of Game 1 and continue to push the Heat even with a lead. To put this in perspective, the Celtics scored seven points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter.

And it was not really anything Miami was doing that cause this. The Celtics stopped their crisp ball movement and settled for contested and difficult shots. They played the end of the game to not lose rather than win, and instead, did exactly the opposite.

Betting Analysis & Pick

I think Celtics head coach Brad Stevens finds an angle to attack Spoelstra’s Heat, and even this series. Additionally, I think there will be some offensive regression from Miami and have a lean on the Heat’s team total to be under 103.

This is a great bounce-back spot for the Celtics. In the Stevens’ era, the Celtics are 8-4 against the spread in Game 2 of a playoff series, and 5-1 ATS as favorites, per Bet Labs.

At the time of this writing, there have been two smaller steam moves on Boston -2, with the line jumping from that opening mark up to -2.5.

In addition, Gordon Hayward is currently listed as doubtful for the Celtics, per our FantasyLabs tool. But if Hayward does play it only strengthens my position on them. He’ll help with not only their rotations, but also take some ball handling pressure off Walker and Jayson Tatum.

Pick: Celtics -2.5 (Play up to -3)

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