Heat vs Celtics Prediction for Game 1: Odds, Expert Pick (Sunday, April 21)

Heat vs Celtics Prediction for Game 1: Odds, Expert Pick (Sunday, April 21) article feature image

Action Network Design. Pictured: Bam Adebayo and Jayson Tatum as we preview Heat vs Celtics Game 1 with our expert betting prediction, the latest odds and our pick for the best bet on Sunday’s opening game of this first round NBA playoffs series.

Heat vs. Celtics Prediction for Game 1

Sunday, Apr 21
1 p.m. ET
Heat Odds
-112o / -108u
Celtics Odds
-112o / -108u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics meet once again in the NBA playoffs starting on Sunday, as Game 1 of this first round matchup tips off at 1 p.m. ET on ABC.

Last year, of course, the Heat upset the Celtics in seven games in the Eastern Conference finals. This time around, though, Miami is far from full strength, and Boston is a heavy favorite in Sunday's opener. Can the Celtics cover the big, double-digit spread in Game 1?
Find my Heat vs Celtics Prediction for Game 1 with the latest odds for Sunday.

Heat vs Celtics Game 1 Prediction, Pick

Miami Heat Betting Preview

This is not the same Miami Heat team you are used to seeing in late April. Injuries continue to plague their roster. The Heat are likely going to be without Jimmy Butler, Terry Rozier and Duncan Robinson, three players who have been pivotal to their offense generating decent looks. They also enter this game with a rest disadvantage, having played two intense play in games during the Celtics week off.

The Heat not only lack home court, but they have been traveling a lot, too. Despite the game over the Hawks being in Miami, they had to go to Philly for the 7/8 Play In, back to Miami for the 8th spot clincher, and then back up to Boston.

Three games, five days, all with travel implications and a depleted roster. This is a nightmare situation for Miami supporters.

Boston Celtics Betting Preview

I also feel this is not the same Boston Celtics team you are used to seeing bow down in big moments.

The additions of Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis, along with the breakout campaign of Derrick White, has shored up so many of the liabilities the Celtics faced in late game situations. They now have stout and switchable defense, unlimited shooters, and a team scheme that is comfortable and leads to good looks.

Similar to the Nuggets, teams will not be able to stop the Celtics from generating great shots; it becomes a matter of making or missing to beat them. Shot variance at home, with rest, against a team that defaults to zone defenses should be lunch in the park for this Boston team.

I am backing them to cover a big spread and get out of Game 1 with an easy win. I expect the rest advantage to be huge.

Heat vs. Celtics

Betting Pick & Prediction

The line for this game opened at -12.5 and I knew to immediately grab it, as my numbers had 13.5 as the likely close. At the moment, Boston -13.5 is only available at BetMGM, in fact.

I still think this spread is playable for a few reasons. It is rare to get such rest disparity in the playoffs. As we go through series, the travel and rest situations become neutralized. When those edges do appear, like now, we should play into them. The Celtics also have one of the strongest home court advantages in the NBA.

This also fits a system I back called First Round Favorites, where I play a 1 or 2 seed in the first round with a spread of -4 or greater. That system has a 60% hit rate and 18% ROI dating back to 2005, and just started the 2024 playoffs 2-0 with the Knicks and Nuggets covering.

I expect the Celtics to follow suit despite the big number.

Pick: Celtics -13.5 | Bet to -14

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