Heat vs Celtics Odds, Prediction | NBA Playoffs Game 2 Preview (Friday, May 19)

Heat vs Celtics Odds, Prediction | NBA Playoffs Game 2 Preview (Friday, May 19) article feature image

Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics, Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat during Game 1 of the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals.

Heat vs Celtics Odds

Heat Odds+9.5 (-110)
Celtics Odds-9.5 (-110)
Over/Under215 (-110 / -110)
Time8:30 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Miami Heat stole Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals in Boston and now the Celtics have their backs against the ropes in a crucial Game 2 as they look to avoid heading to Miami in a 0-2 hole. Can the Celtics bounce back and even up the series?

Here's a breakdown of the odds and matchup, including my betting prediction in the Heat vs Celtics Game 2 preview.

Miami Heat

The Miami Heat had an excellent offensive performance in Game 1, scoring 128.1 Points per 100 possessions with an eFG% of 64.3%. They seemingly couldn't miss from 3-point range as the Heat shot an insane 51.5% from deep. That's their recipe for success against the Boston Celtics. While Miami started Kevin Love, he played just 16 minutes and Caleb Martin and Kyle Lowry took over his minutes share off the bench, each scoring 15 points with three makes from long range. Miami also tried Cody Zeller and Duncan Robinson, but it seems as if the Heat will simply ride the hot hand from 3 for that fifth position in the rotation.

Miami primarily operated its offense through Jimmy Butler, who dropped 35 points, five rebounds and seven assists. Butler has incredible gravity, which generated high quality looks for his teammates. Butler's offensive prowess is almost expected at this point, but Miami needed Bam Adebayo to step up offensively in Game 1 and he rose to the challenge.

Adebayo recorded 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists, but the key was that he was aggressive and excelled in the post. Not only was he able to score, but he was also able to attract help, which opened up his teammates from 3. His assists prop is again at 2.5, a number he's exceeded in four of five games this season against Boston. I think there's some value there, but I prefer his P+A prop of 20.5. He's exceeded that in all five games against Boston and is averaging 27.8 P+A in those contests. Adebayo cooking from a scoring perspective helps open up his passing.

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Boston Celtics

Boston simply didn't take care of business in Game 1, something the Celtics have made a habit of throughout the postseason. It's notable that Robert Williams started but played just 25 minutes, with 3.9 of those minutes coming in the fourth quarter. I think this will continue to be an Al Horford series because of his versatility both offensively and defensively. Horford was just 1-of-5 from 3, but the looks were there. Additionally, he was tied for the lead with 10 Rebound Chances, and even if you got in on him to lead the series in rebounds at 30/1, I'd consider supplementing that position at the current 80/1 odds. Horford has six and Jaylen Brown is unlikely to maintain the lead with nine.

Boston dominated on the interior and outscored Miami 62-40 in the paint. Miami's offense excelled, but Boston still managed a 120.8 Offensive Rating and an eFG% of 58%, despite shooting just 34.5% from 3, a far cry from their 39.8% mark throughout the Playoffs, per Cleaning the Glass. I expect this to regulate in Game 2.

One of the keys to Boston's offensive success was its dribble penetration, especially when that was a result of fluid ball movement, rather than isolations. When Boston is able to put Miami in rotation, it creates some defensive chaos and that's where the Celtics can find offensive success. This is the best way to combat Miami's zone.

One prop that continues to be successful is Brown over 2.5 turnovers. He is averaging five turnovers per game against Miami this season and has exceeded 2.5 turnovers in 10 of 14 playoff games. Brown complemented his 32.4% Usage Rate in Game 1 with a 21.1% Turnover % , per Cleaning the Glass. Keep betting this over and if there is a plus-money option at 3.5, that's also worth a play.

Heat-Celtics Pick

Over the past 10 years, home favorites in the Conference Finals are 21-10 ATS off a loss. Boston is 4-1 ATS off a loss during the postseason and I expect the Celtics to bounce back.

I'll back Boston to dominate this game from start to finish as Miami shot so far above expectation in Game 1. In Game 1, Miami's eFG% was 65.1%, but its expected was 50.8%. That is an incredible difference from a team that has an eFG% of 54.4% throughout the postseason.

Additionally, Miami already has stolen home court and may be happy to travel to Miami with the split. Both the motivation and shooting regression favor Boston. I'll take the Celtics in both the first half and the full game.

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Nick Sterling
Jul 21, 2024 UTC