Thursday NBA Picks: How We’re Betting Heat vs. Celtics Game 2

Thursday NBA Picks: How We’re Betting Heat vs. Celtics Game 2 article feature image
Credit:

Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images. Pictured: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics, Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat.

  • A spread pick. A first-quarter angle. Two of our basketball analysts break down their top Thursday NBA picks.
  • Find out how they're betting Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Heat and Celtics below.

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals was a certified classic and the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat will run things back for Game 2 on Thursday. The Heat are looking to improve on their playoff best 9-1 record against the spread.

Our staff breaks down their favorite NBA bets for today’s slate and where to find the most value in tonight’s matchup.

  • 7 p.m. ET: Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics

Thursday NBA Betting Picks


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Raheem Palmer: Heat vs. Celtics

Heat odds +2.5 [BET NOW]
Celtics odds -2.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +120/-141 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 209 [BET NOW]
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN

What did we see that warrants the Celtics being 2.5 point favorites in Game 2 Before Game 1, I tweeted that I liked the Heat to win this series and nothing I saw changed my opinion.

The Heat shot 16-of-36 (44%) from behind the arc in Game 1 and while this is above their postseason average, their hot shooting is sustainable. Even a drop off from 44% to their postseason average of 37% is still a solid shooting night. Duncan Robinson, their best 3-point threat, played 17 minutes due to foul trouble so its possible regression may not hit them as hard.

The five man lineup of Goran Dragic, Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro has been Miami’s death lineup with a Net rating of 14.0 in 16 minutes in Game 1. They have have a +30.4 Net rating for the entire postseason.

Kemba Walker continues to struggle and although I believed facing the Heat after the Raptors series would be the basketball equivalent of taking off a straitjacket, he still shot 6-of-19 (31.6%) from the field. Over the past seven games, Walker is shooting just 38% from the field and 20% from 3-point range. This is becoming more of a trend than an aberration and until proven otherwise, I don’t believe it will change.


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As I said before the Eastern Conference finals, the playoffs are a war of attrition and teams coming off a seven game series have a 33-44 (42.85%) record in the following playoff series. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we saw the Celtics settle for contested shots in isolation as opposed to continuing to move the ball late in Game 1.

The Heat have no answer for Jayson Tatum, but at this point I trust the Heat’s supporting cast over the Celtics. Of course Gordon Hayward’s presence later in this series could change things, but he’s doubtful to play tonight per our FantasyLabs Insiders tool. I don’t believe the Celtics are 2.5 points better on a neutral court than this current version of the Heat.

I like the Heat +2.5. I think they have a chance to win this game outright as well. You can see the player props I’m playing for Game 2 here.

The Pick: Heat +2.5

[Bet the Heat at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Matt Moore: Heat vs. Celtics

Oh, so this is the one, huh? This is the one where I have to keep betting that reason will return and it never does, just like Bucks vs. Raptors last year? I’m just going to keep getting killed by an unsustainable shooting streak and there’s nothing I can do about it? OK, fine.

The Heat had a 78 Offensive Rating in the first quarter, and a 69.6 Offensive Rating in the third quarter. They gave up at least a 109.5 Defensive Rating in all four quarters against the Celtics and over 115 in three of the four.

The Celtics should have won Game 1. Point blank, no question.

The Heat’s 160-plus Offensive Rating in the second and fourth quarters does not feel sustainable to me. When the Celtics executed the game plan, they got stops, and buckets. When they got sloppy, the Heat hit absolutely every shot they needed to make to stay in the game.

I’m going heavier on Celtics in the first quarter because it cashed in Game 1 and the Heat haven’t been good during the first quarter in the playoffs. I like the Celtics -2 as well. (Jae Crowder is going to cool off at some point … right?)

The Pick: Celtics -1 1Q

[Bet the Celtics at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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