Heat vs Celtics Game 3: After a long series with Milwaukee, Boston got the road win they needed in Game 2 after a letdown in Game 1. As mentioned in our NBA betting picks and predictions, back them to keep that momentum going when they return to TD Garden.
With a decisive Game 2 performance, Boston evened the Eastern Conference Finals, earning home-court advantage. It puts Miami behind the eight-ball in almost every sense, but it might also be where Jimmy Butler and company thrive.
Despite being massive underdogs in Game 3, can the Heat quickly regain control of the series on the road?
The Celtics entered as 5.5-point favorites late Thursday night after winning Game 2. Within minutes, it had dropped to -6, and by Friday morning, it had dropped to -6.5. The total first moved in the opposite direction, opening at 208 or 208.5 after spending on the book, then dropping to 207.5 by Friday midday.
Use the live odds widget above to keep track of any potential line changes up until tip-off, and be sure to check out the complete NBA odds before betting to guarantee you get the best deal.
It’s something Boston would never admit. That would go against all competition ideals, yet the Celtics had to prepare to lose Game 1. On some level, missing two starters for a Conference Finals game must be acknowledged as a disadvantage.
Boston used an eight-man rotation in the absence of Marcus Smart and Al Horford, with Aaron Nesmith playing 11 minutes and Daniel Theis 20. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown played 44 minutes in Game 1 of the series. Understandably, they were weary towards the end of the game.
In Game 2, Boston’s rotation remained tight, although Nesmith and Theis together played only 13 minutes. The Celtics held Tatum and Brown to 32 and 33 minutes, respectively, while playing seven men for substantial minutes. There would have been an eight-man rotation if Derrick White had been available. Even though it was a rout, none of the seven played for less than 20 minutes.
Except for Boston’s strong shooting in Game 2, both defenses are superior to their respective offenses. While both Games 1 and 2 exceeded this amount and their predicted totals, the lopsided character of their second halves had a significant role. These defenses should set the pace in a close game.
As the series total rises, from 203.5 before Game 1 to 206 before Game 2 to 207.5, it will eventually become too high. The day’s Under will be rewarded with moderate shooting. Saturday should be the day.
Consider the Celtics’ blistering pace in Game 2, and the hypothetical of subtracting five made threes listed above. That would not have been confrontational. It would have been in line with Boston’s postseason averages, and the final score would have been 214 instead of 229. Would the weekend’s total have been so high if it were the case?
Jimmy Butler and P.J. Tucker aren’t going down without a fight. Erik Spoelstra has been around far too long. He is just two active NBA coaches to have coached in 2,000 games for a single franchise, assuming you add his days as a Miami assistant. It would be risky to bet on them to fold.
That appears to be the case. When this handicapper realized the Heat had not had a single night of true shooting excellence this postseason, he doubled down on his Celtics futures, adding a healthy -290 bet to his February ticket of +1,400 to win the Eastern Conference. In this series, Miami is just outmanned.
Date, kick-off time, and venue
Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Date: Saturday, May 21, 2022
Tip-off: 8:30 p.m. ET
Heat: P.J. Tucker SF (Questionable), Kyle Lowry PG (Questionable).
Celtics: Derrick White PG (Questionable), Nik Stauskas SG (Questionable).
Betting trend to know
Except for Game 2, after conceding 107 points to Boston in Game 1, the Under is 5-1 in Miami’s last six games following a game in which they allowed at least 100 points. Here are more NBA betting trends for the Heat vs. Celtics matchup.
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