Boston Celtics at Miami Heat Game 7 odds, picks and predictions

SPORTSBOOKWIRE

The No. 2 seed Boston Celtics meet the No. 1 seed Miami Heat Sunday in the decisive Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals at FTX Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN). Below, we look at the Celtics vs. Heat odds and lines, and make our expert NBA picks, predictions and bets.

The Heat kept their season alive by upsetting the Celtics 111-103 in Boston in Game 6 as 9-point underdogs. Miami outscored Boston in three of the four quarters and outperformed the Celtics in three of the “four factors.”

Miami SF Jimmy Butler had a game for the ages. He scored 47 points on 55.2% shooting (16-for-29) and a perfect 11-for-11 from the line with 9 rebounds and 8 assists.

Each team covered the spread 3 times in this series, but the Celtics have a plus-5.9 net rating. The Over//Under (O/U) is 4-2.

Celtics at Heat odds and lines

  • Money line: Celtics -160 (bet $160 to win $100) | Heat +130 (bet $100 to win $130)
  • Against the spread (ATS): Celtics -3.5 (-108) | Heat +3.5 (-112)
  • Over/Under (O/U): 196.5 (O: -112 | U: -108)

Celtics at Heat key injuries

Celtics

  • PG Marcus Smart (ankle) questionable
  • C Robert Williams III (knee) questionable

Heat

  • PG Tyler Herro (groin) questionable
  • PG Kyle Lowry (hamstring) questionable
  • SG Max Strus (hamstring) questionable
  • PF P.J. Tucker (knee) questionable
  • PG Gabe Vincent (hamstring) questionable

Celtics at Heat picks and predictions

Prediction

Heat 101, Celtics 96

Money line

LEAN HEAT (+130) . Their spread is the sharper play even though the first 6 games of this series have been decided by at least 6 points.

Miami has the edge for Game 7 because it has the best player in the series (Butler), more depth, big-game experience and continuity and, obviously, home-court advantage.

More importantly, the Heat are winning the possession battle for this series, outperforming the Celtics in both rebounding and turnover rates.

The other two “four factors” — effective-field goal shooting and free-throw attempt rate — can be highly variant. Those areas tend to favor the home side because role players shoot better at home and home teams typically get the benefit of the whistle.

Also, Boston struggled to win close games during the regular season, partially due to its lack of a true point guard. The Celtics were 13-22 in the “clutch” with a minus-9.5 net rating. “Clutch” is defined by games within a 5-point margin inside of 5 minutes to play.

Boston’s absence of a floor general leads to the Celtics relying on contested long 2-pointers or 3-pointers. Boston is 2nd in 3-point attempt rate for the playoffs and Miami was 2nd in defensive 3-point shooting percentage this season. The Celtics could waste possessions with poor shot selection.

The bottom line is that the HEAT (+130) have more value in Game 7 because they are home, will have more possessions and get easier looks.

I’ll take whatever points I can get with Miami.

Author: Lucy Green