Friday NBA Best Bets | Expert Picks for Heat vs. Celtics (May 19)

Friday NBA Best Bets | Expert Picks for Heat vs. Celtics (May 19) article feature image
Credit:

Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics.

  • The Eastern Conference finals roll on Friday with Game 2 of Heat vs. Celtics at TD Garden.
  • Action Network's NBA analysts have nine best bets today, including the spread, player props and more.
  • Check out their expert picks for Heat vs Celtics Game 2 below.

Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals tips Friday night and the Miami Heat are once again in the driver's seat after getting an upset win over the Boston Celtics in the series opener. We can expect tonight's game to be even more frenzied as the Celtics look to avoid losing back-to-back games at home and falling into an 0-2 hole.

Action Network's analysts have nine best bets today, including picks for the first-half spread, full-game spread, player props and more. Read on for their expert picks for Heat vs Celtics Game 2.


NBA Odds & Best Bets

Click on a best bet to skip ahead
Heat vs. Celtics Player Prop
Heat vs. Celtics Spread
Heat vs. Celtics First Half Spread
Heat vs. Celtics First Half Spread
Heat vs. Celtics Player Prop
Heat vs. Celtics Spread
Heat vs. Celtics Spread
Heat vs. Celtics Total
Heat vs. Celtics Total

Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics

Pick
Derrick White o1.5 3-Pointers (-105)
Book
DraftKings
Tipoff
8:30 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Bryan Fonseca: Derrick White is kind of a Heat Killer. In five games against the Heat this season, White has hit at least two 3-pointers in every single game. That includes him shooting 3-of-5 from deep in their Game 1 loss, his first game against the Heat as a reserve this season despite being limited to 20 minutes.

Last year, he was up and down from deep, but he hit four 3s against the Heat in Game 6 and two more in Game 7.

This one should be a gimme, and we should see White more — especially in place of Payton Pritchard — in Game 2. But even if it's just 20-25 minutes, he should handle business, and the Celtics will need his spacing as he's shooting 44% from deep in the playoffs and is one of their only consistent threats from range.


» Return to the table of contents «


Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics

Pick
Celtics -8.5
Book
BetMGM

Brandon Anderson: I have a ton of bets that I like here, including some props for Game 2 and the series (I wrote more about them in my Heat-Celtics column here), but I'm starting with the full-game spread for my best bet. When the home team loses Game 1, they typically come out like gangbusters in Game 2.

Makes sense, right? You absolutely cannot go down 0-2 at home, hitting the road as the favorite, knowing there's a chance you might not even make it back home. The road team can't possibly match the home energy in that spot, effectively playing for their season, especially when they've already done the job by getting the split on the road.

We've seen this scenario play out time and time again. Home Game 2 teams down 0-1 have now won 16 consecutive times. They're a perfect 7-0 SU this season, winning by an average margin of 17.7 points. All but one of those wins came by double digits, and that includes wins of 14, 16, 17, 27, and 34.

Miami has stolen a road Game 1 twice this postseason, and the Heat lost both of the following Game 2s. They did cover one of them — the only such cover, with home teams 6-1 ATS — but did so by one point in a fairly fluky cover.

The Heat have not played well after a win in this recent set of postseason years, while the Celtics consistently come out more focused and locked in after a loss. This is a spot play, and it's a great one. I'll bet the Celtics to win and cover, even the inflated -8.5 or -9.


» Return to the table of contents «


Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics

Pick
Celtics 1H -5.5
Book
FanDuel

Andrew O'Connor-Watts: This is a great spot for a first half play on the Celtics and the oddsmakers know it. The line is Celtics -5.5, which is over a point away from my model’s projection, but this is more of a stars aligning spot for me.

These are two teams with divergent first half profiles from the regular season — the Celtics were the sixth-best home team while the Heat were the sixth-worst road team. But this is the playoffs, not the regular season.

In the playoffs, home favorites in the first half of Game 2 off a loss are 17-12-1 (12.1% ROI) since 2015-16, per Bet Labs. The Celtics in the playoffs are 22-12-1 coming off a loss since they drafted Jayson Tatum, including their cover in this exact scenario last series against Philadelphia down 0-1.

Expect Boston to come out the gate with a vengeance and cover the first half spread down to -6.


» Return to the table of contents «


Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics

Pick
Celtics 1H -5.5
Book
FanDuel

Brandon Anderson: The same home Game 2 down 0-1 trend applies in the first half. The home team is 5-1-1 SU in the first half in that spot this postseason with an average margin of +11.0 points. Four of the home teams were up double digits at the half, two of them by 20+.

Boston has been a superb first half team all season. They ranked first in first half Net Rating in the regular season at +9.2 and have gotten better in the playoffs at +10.5. Heck, they led by nine at the half in the Game 1 loss. Miami has a negative first half Net Rating in the playoffs.

I'll take the Celtics first half and full game, and I wouldn't stop you from considering a juicy alternate line either. We back home teams down 0-1 in Game 2.


» Return to the table of contents «


Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics

Pick
Robert Williams u16.5 PTS + REB + AST (-115)
Book
DraftKings

Matt Moore: Williams was atrocious in Game 1, a -14 and the advanced figures were worse. Some of that was effort and execution (he hasn't been the same guy in these playoffs), but some of it is the way the Heat are built without a traditional big.

We won't see the double-big lineup in Game 2, and we will probably see more Al Horford, who also struggled.

Williams will have to play farther up the floor, which will take away rebound opportunities, and the Heat are likely to keep shooting jumpers with a more random distribution pattern.

This is an adjustment. If you can find the number, grab the under.


» Return to the table of contents «


Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics

Pick
Celtics -8.5
Book
BetMGM

Joe Dellera: I covered this game and the two bets I'm making in the matchup in the Game 2 betting guide. Over the past 10 years, home favorites in the Conference Finals are 21-10 ATS off a loss, according to Bet Labs. 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 eFG% was 50.8%. That is an incredible difference from a team that has an eFG% of 54.4% throughout the postseason.


» Return to the table of contents «


Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics

Pick
Celtics -8.5
Book
BetMGM

Matt Moore: Boston is 11-3 off a loss over the past two postseasons, straight up and against, and 4-2 at home, according to Bet Labs. The Celtics are also 3-0 after losing Game 1 of a series. (It's hilarious that they have lost three Game 1s in two postseasons with a Finals and Conference Finals appearance in them.)

My best bet for the series was Heat +2.5 for the series spread. The Celtics were always going to mess around with at least two, probably three, games in this series.

Celtics fans will talk about how they won three of four quarters, and that doesn't matter much, but it's indicative that the Heat didn't really "figure out" anything. They just stole a game with shooting, which is part of their overall plan and part of the Celtics' overall identity.

But Boston's really good about not letting it happen twice in a row, and this is a must-win spot at home.

Let's lay the points.


» Return to the table of contents «


Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics

Pick
Under 216.5
Book
PointsBet

Chris Baker: Game 1 cleared this number easily, but that was mostly due to outlier shooting, bad defensive rebounding, and an overall lazy Celtics defensive effort. I expect the Celtics to show up defensively in a must win Game 2 and that should change the feel of this game.

Even in game 1, the defensive process of both teams was sound as they were able to limit rim attempts and limit 3s. The Heat took 51% of their shots from mid-range, 16% of their looks at the rim, and 33% from deep. The problem for the Celtics was that the Heat drilled 55% of their 3s, including an elite 57% on non-corner 3s.

Miami is primed for regression, and the Celtics will increase their effort level defensively. The Heat also successfully limited the Celtics 3-point attempt rate, as the Cs took just 33% of their shots from deep and 25% at the rim.

Ultimately, I liked both teams' defensive process forcing each other off the 3-point line, but the problem in Game 1 was that both teams shot really well from mid-range. Additionally, neither team ran in transition often as the Heat had a 9.4% transition rate (8th percentile), and the Celtics had an 11.5% transition rate (18th percentile), according to Cleaning the Glass.

Similar to the 3-point rate, when these teams were able to get in transition they thrived as the Heat averaged 177.8 points per play in transition and the Celtics averaged 163.6 points per play. If we get a little bit more focus in transition defense these numbers should certainly drop.

Finally, we should see improvements on the defensive glass from each team. In Game 1 the Celtics allowed the Heat to rebound 30% of their misses and the Heat allowed the Celtics to grab 28.6% of their available rebounds. The Celtics ranked first in the NBA in defensive rebound rate during the season and the Heat ranked fourth.

Both teams ranked bottom-12 in offensive rebound rate also. We should see less second chances as these teams tighten up defensively and remember who they are. Take the under 215.5 and play this down to 214.5.


» Return to the table of contents «


Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics

Pick
Under 216.5
Book
PointsBet

Matt Moore: I may be getting cute here. I played the over in Game 1. These defenses aren't what they were last year and this was a drastic overcorrection to that idea. Both teams also shot the lights out in Game 1 and that game was pretty moderate in pace.

So, here's a question: Can we anticipate shooting regression? By its very nature, no. Each shot is individual and discrete, each game is. But what do the numbers say?

The Heat shot 51.6% from 3 in Game 1, an absolutely absurd percentage for a team without great shooting. Since 2003: Teams that shot better than 50% from 3 in the previous game saw the under go 120-97-11 in the following game (55.3%).

Boston tends to respond after losses, especially defensively. Opponent team totals are 10-4 to the under following a Boston loss in the playoffs over the past two seasons.

The Celtics will sharpen their rotations. We're likely to see fewer Robert Williams minutes and way fewer double-big minutes so that Boston can better contest on shooters.

What's interesting is that the Heat actually struggled outside of spot-up shot. Miami scored just 0.894 out of the pick and roll, had just 14 points out of isolation (nine of which came from Jimmy Butler) and just seven points on cuts. They just shot spot-ups hotter than the sun.

The Celtics will dial in in a must-win spot and hold the Heat below their team total.


» Return to the table of contents «


The ultimate NBA betting cheat code

Best bets for every game

Our NBA model's biggest daily edges

Profitable data-driven system picks

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.

Sportsbook Promos
See All
Legal Online Sports Betting

Caesars Sportsbook Promo Code ACTION41000: Grants $1K First Bet Insurance for Any Matchup Friday, Including MLB

Doug Ziefel
Jun 21, 2024 UTC