The 2022 NBA Playoffs reach the conference finals, and the betting action starts Tuesday, May 17, with Game 1 of the Eastern Conference series between Boston and Miami, so here’s the best Celtics vs. Heat betting pick.
According to MyBookie Sportsbook, Miami is a 2-point home fave for the opening clash. Boston is listed as a +110 moneyline underdog, while the totals sit at 205.5 points.
The Celtics have just eliminated the reigning champs
After sweeping the Brooklyn Nets in the first round, the No. 2 Boston Celtics needed seven games to eliminate the reigning champions, the Milwaukee Bucks, in the conference semifinals. Playing with their back against the wall in Game 6, the Celtics defeated the Bucks 108-95 as 1.5-point road dogs, while Game 7 saw Boston trounce Milwaukee 109-81 as a 5-point home fave.
Jayson Tatum and Al Horford led the way for the Celtics in the Bucks series. Tatum had 46 points in Game 6 and was averaging 27.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assists throughout the series, while Horford was tallying 13.0 points, 10.4 boards, and 1.7 blocks per game.
The Celtics are coming to FTX Arena in full strength. Over the first two rounds, they were scoring 112.5 points per 100 possessions while surrendering 105.2 in a return. Boston was yielding only 99.7 points per 100 possessions over seven encounters with the Bucks.
The Heat look to justify the No. 1 seed
The No. 1 Miami Heat beat the Atlanta Hawks in five games in the first round. They toppled the Philadelphia 76ers in six games in the semifinals, winning the last two games of the series. After a 120-85 thrashing of the Sixers in Game 5 at home, the Heat finished the job with a 99-90 road victory.
Jimmy Butler was a key player for Miami in the previous round. He was racking up 27.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists a night while making 51.5% of his field goals. Tyler Herro was tallying 14.7 points per contest, while Bam Adebayo averaged 16.5 points and 7.5 rebounds.
Miami has scored 114.4 points per 100 possessions and yielded 104.6 in a return so far this postseason. The Heat can count on all their players besides Kyle Lowry, who’s struggling with a hamstring injury. Lowry didn’t practice on Sunday and will probably miss Game 1 against the Celtics, so Victor Oladipo should get more minutes off the bench. Oladipo is posting 11.4 points and 2.4 dimes in the postseason.
- 5-1 ATS in the last six games overall
- 9-0 ATS in the last nine games on the road
- 6-13 ATS in the last 19 home games against Boston
Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat Pick
Kyle Lowry’s injury might be a problem for the Heat when they take on the Celtics’ stout defense. The absence of their starting PG could hurt Miami a lot, though the Heat own depth in their backcourt. On the other side, the Celtics will continue to lean on their defense that ranked first in the NBA in points allowed per 100 possessions last regular season.
Jimmy Butler will look to lock down Jayson Tatum, while the Celtics have a few options when it comes to defending the Heat’s best player. I’m looking for a dramatic Game 1 and will take the visitors because of their defense.
Back in the regular season, the Celtics have dismantled the Heat twice, 95-78 as a 6.5-point road dog and 122-92 as a 6.5-point home fave. Miami won their last duel on March 30 as a 5-point road underdog, 106-98.
Pick: Take Boston Celtics +2.0 at -110
I would be surprised if we see a high-scoring affair Tuesday, as both Boston and Miami are capable of playing excellent defense. Also, they prefer to play at a slow pace. The Celtics have averaged 96.6 possessions per 48 minutes in their 11 postseason contests, while the Heat have recorded only 93.4 over their 11 outings this postseason.
The under is 5-2 in Boston’s last seven games and 10-5 in its previous 15 contests played in May. On the flip side, nine of Miami’s last 11 games have gone under the total.
Pick: Go under 205.5 points at -110