NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions: Anderson’s Game 2 Bets for Heat vs Celtics

NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions: Anderson’s Game 2 Bets for Heat vs Celtics article feature image

via Getty Images/Matt Roembke of Action Network. Pictured: Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler (left) of the Miami Heat, Grant Williams and Jayson Tatum (right) of the Boston Celtics.

  • The Heat and Celtics will run it back for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday night.
  • Brandon Anderson has several angles for tonight's matchup, including bets for the spread and player props for the game and series.
  • Check out his picks and predictions for Heat vs Celtics Game 2.

Celtics vs. Heat Odds

8:30 p.m. ET
Spread: Celtics -8.5 | Total: 215.5

Well, doesn't this feel familiar?

The Heat stole Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Celtics, just like they did last year and in the 2020 Bubble. Miami became the fifth team ever to win its first three Game 1s on the road in the same postseason (2021 Hawks, 1999 Knicks, 1989 Bulls, 1981 Rockets), with two of the four teams going on to the NBA Finals.

The Celtics took control early and led by nine at the half, but the Heat exploded with a monster 46-point third quarter and won the game, despite Boston winning three quarters. It's the seventh time since the start of the Bubble that Miami has won a playoff game despite losing three of the four quarters — as much as every other NBA team combined. The Heat tied a playoff record with six 15-point scorers.

This is what the Heat do, and it's exactly what we predicted in our Game 1 card and series preview.

But Game 2 is a fresh start, and history tells us to expect the series to swing back the other direction.

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We Back Teams Down 0-1 at Home for Game 2

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, but 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, especially when they've already done the job by getting the road split.

We've seen this scenario play out time and time again. Home teams down 0-1 have won 16 consecutive times in Game 2. 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 stole a road Game 1 twice this postseason, and the Heat lost both of the following Game 2s. They did cover one of them, but did so by one point in a fairly fluky cover.

The Heat haven't played well after a win in this recent set of postseason years. Meanwhile, 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.

I'll also grab the Celtics first half line at -5.5.

The same home Game 2 down 0-1 trend applies. 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 more than 20.

Boston has been a superb first half team all season. The Celtics ranked first in 1H 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 1H Net Rating in the playoffs.

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

Bets: Celtics 1H -5.5 (FanDuel) | Celtics -8.5 (BetMGM)

Jaylen Brown Had a Huge Role in Game 1

In Game 7, it was Jayson Tatum carrying the Celtics with a record-breaking 51-point performance, but Game 2 was Jaylen Brown's time. He led the team in usage (32%), potential assists (13), and rebounding chances (13) and finished with a 22/9/5 line. And unlike most Boston games, it was Brown doing most of the late ball handling and decision making, not Tatum.

Of course, that led to decidedly mixed reviews.

Brown could not hang onto the ball to save his life and had a whopping six turnovers in Game 1.

Brown is now averaging 3.4 turnovers per game this postseason. He's had at least two turnovers in all but two games, and he's gone over 2.5 to hit this prop in 10 of the 14, a 71% hit rate. That means we'll keep playing and drinking the juice until the books adjust. Brown has now had four or more turnovers in four of the eight games against Miami over the past two playoffs.

But all that usage also led to some good things. Brown led the team in rebounds and was second in assists.

Brown had 13 potential assists in Game 1, which would normally lead to six or seven assists, but he finished with five. Marcus Smart had 10 dimes in the first half alone, but finished with only 11 on just 12 potential assists. Granted, the quality of those potentials was not the same, but Brown going over 3.5 assists still looks a solid play. He's gone over that line in seven of the past 10 with 3.8 APG over that stretch.

Brown led all players in potential assists in Game 1. He's six behind Smart right now for the series lead, but +8000 (DraftKings) for series leader isn't crazy if you think Brown keeps handling as much. That potential arm injury late may be a caution, though.

Bets: Jaylen Brown over 2.5 turnovers -145 (DraftKings) | Brown over 3.5 assists -130 (FanDuel)

Pick: Jaylen Brown Over 3.5 Assists (-130)

This May Not Be a Robert Williams Series

I said in the Game 1 card that it might not be wise to continue starting Robert Williams, and Williams responded with an impactful 14 points and seven rebounds, four of them on the offensive glass. He was a serious vertical threat and had a 171 ORTG in his possessions.

But Williams was very damaging defensively. Against Philadelphia, Boston needed Williams' and could plant him on P.J. Tucker, allowing him to roam and freelance off the rather static corner shooter.

Miami doesn't have any matchups like that. That means either putting Williams on Bam Adebayo when Al Horford would be the far better pick and roll matchup, or putting Williams on a cutting shooter and leaving him in no man's land. And it did not work well in Game 1.

The Heat offense scored with an outrageous 145 ORTG with Williams on the court in Game 1. The Celtics starting lineup — including Williams — was an ugly -10 in under nine minutes together. When the starting five replaced Williams with Malcolm Brogdon, it went +11 in 12 minutes.

I expect less Williams as the series goes along. Boston will be better off playing Horford more minutes as the lone big and getting another guard out there, maximizing Derrick White and Brogdon's minutes.

I'll play Williams to go under 7.5 rebounds. He went under in Game 1, despite the four offensive rebounds, and has gone under in 11 of 14 games this postseason (79%), including two of his three starts.

We missed Horford's rebounding over in Game 1 by the hook as he finished with six. I don't mind going back to the well since he finished second in the game with 10 rebounding chances and it's not his fault neither team missed a shot all night. Actually, I'll go back to the well for a more aggressive play.

I'm putting half a unit on Horford to lead the series in rebounding at +8000. He's got six right now, trailing a couple sevens, Adebayo (8) and Brown (9). Brown probably isn't a real threat, so Horford is two off the lead and will probably play a lot of minutes at center. Last year, Horford averaged 10.0 RPG against Miami and led the series in rebounding, despite missing a game. This number is just too long.

Bets: Robert Williams under 7.5 rebounds -130 (FanDuel) | Al Horford series rebounds leader +8000 (DraftKings)

Pick: Robert Williams Under 7.5 Rebounds (-130)

Both Sides Will Hit 3s — The Question Is Who?

We knew this series would turn into a 3-point shootout, but it might be really difficult to predict who will hit 3s on any given night.

Nine different players hit multiple 3s in Game 1, but no one hit more than three. Boston actually shot just 29 treys, a shockingly low number for a team that ranks top five in attempts. The Celtics finished just below 35% on 3s and are now 0-3 when they fail to hit 35% in the playoffs after going 16-16 in that spot in the regular season.

At some books, you can bet on an individual player to lead the game in 3s made. As egalitarian as Game 1 looked, some of those long shots might be worth a nibble.

I'll bite on Caleb Martin. He's played 28.5 MPG since the start of the Knicks series and is averaging 1.9 3s on 5.0 attempts, with multiple makes in four of seven games. Martin went 3-for-7 in Game 1, tied for the most makes and alone as the attempts leader. His defensive versatility should also get him plenty of minutes in a series that may not have much room for Duncan Robinson or Cody Zeller.

I'll play Martin to go over 1.5 made 3s at +130, and I'll nibble the +2400 for him to lead all players in 3s in Game 2.

Bets: Caleb Martin over 1.5 3s +130 (FanDuel) | Martin to lead Game 2 in 3s made +2400 (FanDuel)

Anderson's Game 2 Betting Card

  • Celtics 1H -5.5
  • Celtics -8.5
  • Jaylen Brown Over 2.5 Turnovers -145
  • Brown Over 3.5 Assists -130
  • Robert Williams Under 7.5 Rebounds -130
  • Al Horford Series Rebounding Leader +8000 (0.5 Unit)
  • Caleb Martin Over 1.5 3s +130
  • Martin to Lead Game 2 in 3s +2400 (0.25 Unit)

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Doug Ziefel
Jun 23, 2024 UTC