The No. 2 seed Boston Celtics host the No. 1 seed Miami Heat Monday for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC) and Miami leads the series 2-1. Below, we look at the Heat vs. Celtics odds and lines, and make our expert NBA picks, predictions and bets.
Miami took control of the series by blitzing Boston to open Game 3 Saturday, outscoring the Celtics by 21 points in the 1st quarter and holding on for a 109-103 victory. The Heat won the turnover battle, too, 23-8.
The Celtics lost despite outperforming the Heat in three of the “four factors,” outshooting Miami from everywhere on the floor and with Heat SF Jimmy Butler missing the entire 2nd half with a knee injury.
Heat C Bam Adebayo feasted on the Celtics frontcourt without second-team All-Defense C Robert Williams III. Adebayo scored a team-high 31 points on 68.2% shooting with 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals.
Heat at Celtics odds and lines
Odds provided by Tipico Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports Scores and Sports Betting Odds hub for a full list. Lines last updated at 1:45 p.m. ET.
- Money line (ML): Heat +250 (bet $100 to win $250) | Celtics -320 (bet $320 to win $100)
- Against the spread: Heat +6.5 (-105) | Celtics -6.5 (-120)
- Over/Under: 206.5 (O: -107 | U: -115)
Heat at Celtics key injuries
- SF Jimmy Butler (knee) questionable
- SG Tyler Herro (groin) out
- PG Kyle Lowry (hamstring) questionable
- SG Max Strus (hamstring) questionable
- PF P.J. Tucker (knee) questionable
- PG Gabe Vincent (hamstring) questionable
- PG Marcus Smart (ankle) questionable
- SF Jayson Tatum (shoulder) probable
- C Robert Williams III (knee) questionable
Heat at Celtics picks and predictions
Celtics 103, Heat 99
PASS because there’s no way anyone should take the Heat (+250) until the final injury report is released.
Boston should even this series up before these teams head back to Miami for Game 5 but the Celtics (-320) are a terrible long-term return on investment at that price.
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LEAN HEAT +6.5 (-105) since they have enough defense and experience to muck this game up. If that doesn’t work, then Miami’s 3-point shooting (ranked 1st during the regular season) is good enough to sneak a backdoor cover.
However, there’s no reason to rush to bet on Miami’s spread because this number will get bigger if any of the Heat’s ball-handlers or Butler are officially announced out for Game 4.
There’s a contrarian angle to taking the HEAT +6.5 (-105) as well because most of the public is going to be on the Celtics based on the “zig-zag theory” and with Miami’s sketchy injury report. A contrarian mindset is a profitable foundation for sports betting.
BET the UNDER 206.5 (-115) because there’s reverse-line movement headed south of the total, Boston was 24th in pace during the regular season, Miami was 28th and the Heat will probably try to slow this game down with their banged-up backcourt.
Roughly 70% of the action and money is on the Over per Tipico Sportsbook, but the total has been lowered from a 208.5-point opener. This line movement is suspicious since oddsmakers typically adjust the line according to their liability.
Miami’s defense ranked 6th in second-chance points per game (PPG) allowed and 1st in paint PPG allowed in the regular season. Boston’s defense was 5th in second-chance PPG allowed and 2nd in paint PPG allowed. Also, these teams were tied for the best defensive 3-point percentage in the NBA.
The UNDER 206.5 (-115) is my favorite wager in this game because of the market movement and the Over cashing in the first 3 games of this series so we are due for an Under.
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