FTX Arena hosts Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals on Thursday. The Miami Heat take on the Boston Celtics, with Miami holding a 1-0 lead in this 2022 NBA playoff series. The Heat defeated the Celtics by a 118-107 margin in Game 1 behind an explosive performance from Jimmy Butler. Al Horford (health and safety protocols) is listed as doubtful for the Celtics, with Marcus Smart (foot) listed as probable. Kyle Lowry (hamstring) is out for the Heat, with Max Strus (hamstring) and Gabe Vincent (hamstring) listed as questionable.
Tipoff is at 8:30 p.m. ET in Miami. Caesars Sportsbook lists Miami as the 3.5-point home favorite, while the over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 207.5 in the latest Celtics vs. Heat odds. Before making any Heat vs. Celtics picks or NBA playoff predictions, be sure to see what SportsLine expert Zack Cimini has to say.
A Las Vegas handicapper who’s never afraid to buck conventional wisdom, Cimini excels in multiple sports. Over the past 32 NBA picks, Cimini is 21-11, returning $890 to $100 players. He is also on an amazing 31-16-1 run with his last 48 against-the-spread picks involving the Celtics, returning $1,348 to $100 players.
Now, Cimini has set his sights on Celtics vs. Heat. You can head to SportsLine to see his picks. Now, here are several NBA odds and betting trends for Heat vs. Celtics:
- Celtics vs. Heat spread: Heat -3.5
- Celtics vs. Heat over-under: 207.5 points
- Celtics vs. Heat money line: Heat -170, Celtics +145
- Celtics vs. Heat tickets: See tickets at StubHub
- BOS: The Celtics are 8-4 against the spread in playoff games
- MIA The Heat are 8-4 against the spread in playoff games
Featured Game | Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics
Why the Celtics can cover
Boston’s defense is remarkably effective. The Celtics finished atop the NBA in defensive rating this season, giving up only 106.2 points per 100 possessions. Boston also led the league in field goal percentage allowed (43.4 percent), 3-point percentage allowed (33.9 percent), 2-point percentage allowed (49.7 percent) and assists allowed (21.6 per game) in 2021-22. The Celtics ranked in the top five in second-chance points allowed, points allowed in the paint, and blocked shots, with Boston’s playoff performance also standing out as excellent.
The Celtics are giving up only 106.5 points per 100 possessions against high-level postseason competition, with opponents shooting only 32.9 percent from 3-point range. Boston is allowing only 20.0 assists per game and, on offense, Ime Udoka’s team is generating 1.85 assists for every turnover with top-tier marks in 3-point frequency (14.2 triples per game) and 3-point accuracy (36.6 percent). Jayson Tatum leads the way with 28.3 points, 6.1 assists and 5.8 rebounds per game in the playoffs, and the Celtics are scoring more than 1.12 points per possession.
Why the Heat can cover
Butler has arguably been the best player in the 2022 NBA playoffs, and his individual brilliance was on display in Game 1 on Tuesday. Butler is averaging 29.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game, while shooting 53.5 percent from the floor in the postseason. That includes a 41-point, nine-rebound explosion in Game 1, and Butler is key to Miami’s brilliance on both sides of the floor. Miami has the best point differential in the NBA playoffs, out-scoring opponents by 10.1 points per 100 possessions, and the Heat led the NBA in 3-point accuracy (37.9 percent) during the regular season.
Miami is gathering more than 30 percent of missed shots on the offensive glass, leading to 15.3 second-chance points per game, and the Heat are also stingy on defense. Miami is holding opponents to 104.9 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs, an elite figure, and the Heat ranked in the top four in defensive rating during the regular season. Miami produced 12 blocks, 10 steals and 16 turnovers in Game 1, and the Heat are averaging 19.7 points per game off turnovers during this extended playoff run. The Heat also wall off the rim effectively, allowing only 39.0 points in the paint per game during the postseason after leading the league at 41.3 points allowed per game in 2021-22
How to make Heat vs. Celtics picks
For Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, Cimini is leaning under on the point total, but he also says a critical X-factor makes one side a must-back. He’s only sharing what it is, and which side of the Celtics vs. Heat matchup to back, at SportsLine.
So who wins Celtics vs. Heat? And which side is a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of Celtics vs. Heat you need to jump on, all from the expert who has crushed its NBA picks, and find out.