The No. 1 seed Miami Heat host the No. 2 seed Boston Celtics Thursday for Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Finals with the tip-off scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN). Miami leads the best-of-7 series 1-0. Below, we look at the Celtics vs. Heat odds and lines, and make our expert NBA picks, predictions and bets.
Miami won and covered the opener 118-107 despite an 8-point, first-half deficit. The Heat outscored the Celtics by 25 points (39-14) in the third quarter. The Heat outperformed the Celtics in all “four factors” even though Boston won three of the four quarters.
Miami SF Jimmy Butler scorched Boston for 41 points on 63.2% shooting with 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks.
The Celtics were missing two starters for Game 1. PG Marcus Smart who was sidelined by a foot injury and C Al Horford, who entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
Celtics at Heat odds and lines
- Money line (ML): Celtics +115 (bet $100 to win $115) | Heat -140 (bet $140 to win $100)
- Against the spread: Celtics +2.5 (-112) | Heat -2.5 (-108)
- Over/Under: 206.5 (O: -115 | U: -107)
Celtics at Heat key injuries
- C Al Horford (health and safety protocols) questionable
- PG Marcus Smart (foot) probable
- PG Kyle Lowry (hamstring) out
- SG Max Strus (hamstring) questionable
- PG Gabe Vincent (hamstring) questionable
Celtics at Heat picks and predictions
Heat 109, Celtics 102
PASS with a heavy “lean” toward the Heat (-140).
The bottom line is the loss of Horford hurts the Celtics more than the return of Smart helps. Miami’s Butler feasted on Boston’s small interior defense with Horford missing in Game 1.
Butler attacked the basket Tuesday. He attempted just two 3-pointers compared to 19 shots inside the arc, and hit 17 of 18 free throws.
Horford has Boston’s second-best adjusted on/off net rating in these playoffs (plus-14.8), according to CleaningTheGlass.com, whereas the Celtics are scoring 3.1 fewer points per 100 possessions when Smart is on the floor.