NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions: Anderson’s Game 6 Bets for Celtics vs Heat

NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions: Anderson’s Game 6 Bets for Celtics vs Heat article feature image

Getty Images/ Matt Roembke of Action Network. Pictured: Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat, Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics.

  • The Boston Celtics look to avoid elimination in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals and need another win in Miami against the Heat to keep their season alive.
  • The Heat have a chance to close this series at home and punch their ticket to the NBA Finals with a win.
  • Action Network analyst Brandon Anderson breaks down the matchup and shares his betting card for Celtics vs. Heat Game 6.

Celtics vs. Heat Game 6 Odds

8:30 p.m. ET
Spread: Celtics -3 | Total: 210

A few days ago, it looked like a long holiday weekend with no NBA. Two games later, the Celtics are still fighting in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Boston finally woke up in the second half of Game 4, then kept it rolling from the jump in a Game 5 that was never competitive.

Suddenly we've got ourselves a real series, and Boston no longer needs to come back from an 0-3 deficit. All those stats are null and void now. The Celtics are down 3-2 now, in need of a single road victory to become overwhelming favorites for a home Game 7.

The Heat are starting to run out of bodies, so this could set up as Miami's version of a Game 7, their last best chance to win this series. Do they have anything left in the tank? Here's a few angles and bets I'm looking at in Heat vs Celtics Game 6.

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The Celtics Have Turned the Series with More than Just Shot Variance

Boston shot under 35% on 3s the first three games of the series, then over 40% each of the last two. The Heat hit an ungodly 47-of-92 (51%) on treys in their three wins but were just 17-of-55 (31%) these two losses.

But it's more than just make-or-miss league. Look at the difference in 3-point volume. Boston is taking 42 3s in wins, way up from 35 the first three games. Miami's made single-digit 3s in both losses. Boston is getting the shots it wants, and the Celtics are running Miami shooters off the arc and forcing more difficult shots.

There's also a big change in the turnovers battle. Boston forced 16 turnovers and had just nine in Game 5, with a similar 15-10 margin in its previous win. Those are almost the exact margins we saw the first three games, but flipped backwards.

This year's Celtics didn't force many turnovers or turn it over much, but Boston has struggled with giving the ball away to Miami in this matchup. The Celtics are solving that problem by running more of the offense through their surest handlers, and they've cranked up the defensive intensity, leading to a slew of steals and easy buckets.

It's hard to win when one team shoots 40% on 3s and the other is below 30%, but it gets exponentially harder if the 40% team is also getting up 10+ more 3s, plus extra freebie possessions off turnovers. That's a math problem Miami needs to solve to have any chance.

Don't overlook Gabe Vincent's Game 5 absence. He's one of Miami's better handlers and an important defender in the pick-and-roll and top the zone. The Heat badly need Vincent back in the lineup, in part because Miami is simply running out of bodies.

Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo remain out. Kyle Lowry doesn't look healthy. Caleb Martin twisted his knee in Game 5. If Vincent can't go on that ankle, the Heat might be out of answers. I love Lowry over 1.5 turnovers if Vincent is out again.

The Heat Have to Make a Push in Game 6 — But When?

The Heat do not want to go back to Boston for Game 7. Home teams win 76% of all Game 7s, and Boston is nearly invincible at 22-5 all-time in home Game 7s. This Celtics core has won six of seven Game 7s.

If you want to bet a side on this game, you've got two options: Heat moneyline +130 (FanDuel) or Celtics series +125 (BetMGM).

If you think Miami wins the series, you have to bet on them finding a way in Game 6. If you think the Celtics get Game 6, bet on them to finish the historic 0-3 comeback and get Game 7 too. No half measures.

I'm not looking to invest in either side of a game that looks unpredictable, but I'll bet on Miami desperation — for a half.

Give me Heat to win the second half outright at +123.

Miami is 4-1 SU in the second half this series. The Heat are 11-3-2 SU in second halves this postseason, and all three times they lost the second half, they also lost the game. If Miami is to have any chance this game, they have to win the second half.

What else is new? This has been a second half team against the Bubble. Just look at the Net Rating playoff splits:

  • 2020: -3.1 (first half), +7.4 (second half)
  • 2022: +0.3 (first half), +7.3 (second half)
  • 2023: +0.7 (first half), +7.3 (second half)

I like this regardless of game script. If Boston takes an early lead like the first-half team they've been all year, Miami has to empty the tank and push for its best chance at a win, possibly against a then-overconfident Celtics team. If Miami leads instead, Boston has shown itself fragile and Miami would be in position to close this out.

Bet: Heat 2H ML +123 (BetRivers)

Our Endless Quest to Solve the Big Man Battle

The big man battle continues to be massive.

Robert Williams hasn't started since Game 2, and he's averaging only 17.5 MPG the last three games. He hasn't had anyone to defend, and his absence has helped open up Boston's spacing as they get more 3s up.

Williams did have eight boards in Game 3, but six of those came on the offensive glass. He has only seven defensive rebounds the last three games combined.

Bet: Robert Williams under 5.5 rebounds -140 (DraftKings)

Grant Williams has been soaking up Robert's minutes. We played Grant's points overs in Game 5 and fell short with six points, his lowest total of the series, but we're going back to the well.

He's averaging 10.3 PPG for the series on 2.0-of-3.8 3s. Williams is playing 27.6 MPG, getting good run because of his defensive switchability and shooting, and his shots are infrequent but clean looks.

Bets: Grant Williams over 7.5 points +100 (DraftKings) | Williams 10+ points +200 (FanDuel)

Al Horford is playing better the last couple games. He's had four and five assists, often the second-half of a hockey assist to an open 3. If you like Boston to keep hitting those 3s, you can play 4+ assists at +250 (FanDuel) or 5+ at +575 (Bet365).

Bam Adebayo's rebounding and playmaking has been down outside of a monster Game 2, but we started to see more aggression last game. I don't mind fading the rebounds or assists again, but I'll pivot to turnovers. Adebayo is averaging 3.6 TOs and has been a Boston target, with 10 turnovers the last two games.

Bets: Bam Adebayo over 2.5 turnovers -125 (DraftKings)

This Might Just Come Down to Which Team's Superstar Is Best

The NBA is a star-driven league, so this may just come down to Jayson Tatum and Jimmy Butler.

More of that Boston offense is flowing through Tatum, and we saw that in last year's series. Tatum had 11 dimes on 15 potential assists in Game 5, both series highs. He's in attack mode, getting into actions early and triggering this offense as we get less Jaylen Brown.

More Tatum could mean points if his shots are falling, or assists if his teammates' are. But the one consistent outcome has been turnovers.

Even as Boston's turnovers have dropped, Tatum has at least four turnovers all but one game this series. He's averaging 4.5 TOs per game against Miami these last two postseasons with at least four turnovers in eight of 12 games (67%).

Regrettably, I decided against playing Tatum to lead the series in assists before Game 5 because he was 10 behind Smart and it felt too big an ask, even at 65-1. He's now one off the series lead and at +200, so I'm not making that mistake again overlooking a series bet.

This time I'll go with Jimmy Butler to lead the series in scoring. He's 11 points behind Tatum.

Butler's scoring has been relatively tepid outside of his 35 in Game 1 after extra rest, and maybe Butler's scoring just isn't in there anymore after the ankle injury. But he had games of 35, 42, and 56 against the Bucks, and he put up 35, 41, and 47 against Boston in last May's series.

If Miami is going to get that last win, it will very likely have to be because Butler had one more monster game in him. Miami probably needs to win the series for this to hit, but it acts as a better-priced hedge.

Bets: Jayson Tatum over 3.5 turnovers -125 (DraftKings) | Jimmy Butler series points leader +550 (Bet365)

This Might Be the Right Time to Invest in Denver Futures

If you like Denver, this might be your last chance to invest at a reduced price.

It feels like this is Boston's series now, but Miami is still the favorite. The Heat are a tough, battle-tested team and still have two chances to win one. They're priced accurately as -140 favorites.

Boston's extended life is buying us a discount on Denver futures. The Nuggets would be huge favorites against the Heat — even more than earlier in the week, now that Miami has a few extra injuries and games of wear and tear.

If Boston does pull through, the Celtics would be favored with home-court advantage. But Denver would have two huge scheduling advantages. Game 1 would be a quick turn-around for Boston off back-to-back Game 7s and a chance for Denver to steal home court. Game 4 is the one Finals game with one day of rest, a great home spot for Denver in the elevation against an exhausted opponent.

If you think Boston wins this series, you should wait to bet Denver futures, with the price cheaper after each Boston win. But Miami is still better than 50% to make the Finals, and the moment they do, any possible value disappears on Denver.

The Nuggets likely immediately go from -180 to north of -300 to win the title. Nikola Jokic likely leaps from -160 to win Finals MVP to -250 or shorter. I see that as a proxy bet for a Nuggets title with the incredible run Jokic is on, especially after Jamal Murray just put up 32.5 PPG on 53/41/95 against the Lakers and didn't get a single MVP vote.

This is Miami's last best chance to win a game and skew those Finals odds. This is a great time to invest in Denver futures.

Bets: Nikola Jokic Finals MVP -160 (FanDuel)

Anderson's Game 6 Betting Card

  • Heat 2H ML +123
  • Jayson Tatum over 3.5 TOs -125
  • Grant Williams over 7.5 points +100 | 10+ points +200 (0.5 unit)
  • Bam Adebayo over 2.5 turnovers -125
  • Robert Williams under 5.5 rebounds -140
  • Jimmy Butler series points leader +550 (0.5 unit)
  • Nikola Jokic Finals MVP -160

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