NBA Odds, Best Bets: Expert Picks for Celtics vs Heat Game 3

NBA Odds, Best Bets: Expert Picks for Celtics vs Heat Game 3 article feature image
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Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images. Pictured: Bam Adebayo.

  • The Miami Heat are short home underdogs in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics.
  • Our Action Network NBA betting experts have four best bets ready for Celtics vs. Heat at 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT.
  • Find their expert NBA betting picks and analysis below.

The Miami Heat host the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday, May 21. Miami is up 2-0 in the series after winning both games in Boston and now looks to take a commanding 3-0 lead at home at the Kaseya Center.

Will the Celtics get their first win of the Eastern Conference Finals? Or will Miami pull off another upset?

Our NBA betting experts analyzed the games and have come up with several best bets. Continue reading for their Celtics vs. Heat Game 3 betting picks and predictions.

Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat Game 3 Best Bets

Click on a pick to skip ahead
Heat Moneyline (+152)
8:30 p.m. ET
Bam Adebayo Game 3 Rebounds Leader (+180)
8:30 p.m. ET
Jimmy Butler ECF MVP & Miami in 4 +500 | Butler ECF MVP & Miami in 5 +1000
8:30 p.m. ET
Kevin Love Under 6.5 Rebounds + Assists (-125)
8:30 p.m. ET

Heat Moneyline (+152)

Pick
Heat Moneyline (+152)
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff8:30 p.m. ET
TVTNT

Bryan Fonseca: Let's allow ourselves to think the impossible is possible with the Miami Heat. They're 7-3 straight up as underdogs in the playoffs and are 5-0 at home — granted, they were 6-0 at home last year before the Celtics won three in Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Heat have only been favored in three playoff games, the three home games against the Knicks. But we could say almost definitively now that if Jimmy Butler wasn't injured in Games 3-5 of last year's ECF, the Heat win that series. If they shoot 32% from 3 as opposed to 30%, they probably win that series.

The reason the Heat are underdogs again is because y'all are waiting for the Celtics to get it together, as has been the case of every Heat foe during the Butler era. That's despite Miami having the most playoff wins in the NBA since the 2019-20 season (35). Sure, Boston can win this game, but what evidence do you have of that, other than perception?

People don't know what to do with the Heat beyond Butler and refer to the remainder of the nucleus — Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry and Kevin Love aside — as "undrafteds." Miami has developed quality high-IQ role players who have now years of playoff experience and have helped the Heat go 6-2 when trailing by double digits.

We have too much of a sample size to call these playoffs conventional — they're not. And if Boston wins tonight, I'm hammering the Heat for Game 4.



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Bam Adebayo Game 3 Rebounds Leader (+180)

Pick
Bam Adebayo Game 3 Rebounds Leader (+180)
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
8:30 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Brandon Anderson: The Heat are winning in part because Bam Adebayo has been the series’ third-best player. Adebayo has shown up in a big way. He had 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists in Game 1, then put up a monster 22/17/9 line in Game 2.

He’s been a beast on the glass, keeping Boston from second-chance opportunities, and he’s scoring efficiently. I didn’t expect this to be a Robert Williams series, but it might not be an Al Horford series either. Boston was so desperate for bigs it took Grant Williams out of the mothballs and played him 26 minutes, including crunch time, in Game 2.

Adebayo is dominating the interior.

I like Adebayo’s rebounding, though not his traditional over 9.5 rebounds. I’d rather play more aggressively (12+ at +240, 15+ at +1000), but my favorite Adebayo bet is for him to lead Game 3 in rebounds. Jayson Tatum is the favorite, but Adebayo has had more rebounds than Tatum in both games. Adebayo led all players in rebounds in Game 2 and was one off the lead in Game 1.

Pick: Bam Adebayo Rebounds Leader +180



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Jimmy Butler ECF MVP & Miami in 4 +500 | Butler ECF MVP & Miami in 5 +1000

Pick
Jimmy Butler ECF MVP & Miami in 4 +500 | Butler ECF MVP & Miami in 5 +1000
Book
BetMGM
Tipoff
8:30 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Brandon Anderson: The Celtics can still win this. The problem is the books are still giving them far too much credit as they have all along. Boston isn’t dead, but the value is on Miami.

I’ve got the Heat at around 72% to win the series. That’s far off the posted line, and the difference appears to be books not giving Miami credit for potentially ending this series quickly. I don’t expect a Miami sweep, but my numbers make it a 22% probability and there’s no telling how this Boston team might turn on each other or quit if it goes down 0-3. I also give Miami an 18% chance to win this in five.

That means there’s a 40% chance, an implied +150, at Miami in five or less. We can play that at Miami -2.5, but under 5.5 games (+220 at BetMGM) looks like the better play at 31% implied.

If you’ve got BetMGM, we can take this one step further. They’ve got some special bets parlaying ECF MVP with series winner and are bizarrely pricing Jimmy Butler around 60-70% to win MVP if the Heat win the series. I’d put Butler above 90%. Series MVPs overwhelmingly go to the winning team’s scoring leader, and Butler is 10 PPG ahead of Adebayo.

Butler has been the best player in the East. He’s a shoo-in for ECF MVP, especially if Miami closes this out quickly.


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Kevin Love Under 6.5 Rebounds + Assists (-125)

Pick
Kevin Love Under 6.5 Rebounds + Assists (-125)
Book
BetMGM
Tipoff
8:30 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Prop Bomb: The Miami Heat signed Kevin Love in the buyout market to address two critical needs: rebounding and floor spacing. According to CourtIQ, Love, a seasoned player, ranks second in rebound percentage (17.0%) among all Miami players. Additionally, he has been averaging 7.6 rebounds + assists in 20 minutes per game.

So why in the world am I targeting this prop? Minutes.

Love has averaged 15.5 minutes per game against the Celtics. When Love has played less than 20 minutes per game, he has totaled less than seven combined rebounds and assists in 14 of 19 games. His potential for success is limited in this game because it doesn't suit his strengths.

Love's ability to contribute on the court relies heavily on his early shot accuracy. If he's not hitting shots, he won't be much use. With Jayson Tatum playing at the power forward position, Love may struggle to defend against quick switches and could become a target. Furthermore, his playing time has been reduced due to Cody Zeller being a backup for Bam Adebayo and Caleb Martin performing well in a small-ball lineup with Jimmy Butler.

For Love to go over this line, his teammates must be ultra-efficient scoring the ball off his passes. During the playoffs, he's only had an average of 2.6 potential assists. Although Love is known for his incredible outlet passes, the Celtics have done an impressive job limiting fastbreak points in this series, which may result in fewer opportunities for Love.

Expect the Celtics to enter the game with their best basketball are they are in desperation mode. Should the veteran continue to see his minutes decrease, I'm confident he doesn't have a high probability of going over his rebounds + assists line.


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Jul 21, 2024 UTC