Game 3 – Celtics vs. Heat Picks, Predictions, Odds

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The NBA Playoffs resume on Sunday night with Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. Coverage begins from the Kaseya Center in South Florida at 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT.

The Celtics are 4-1 ATS in their last five road games against Miami. (Getty)


The Celtics went to halftime of Game 1 leading Miami by a score of 66-57, but ultimately, the Heat managed to rally back and win the opener by scoring 66 points on 55% from the field and 56% from downtown in the second half, while Boston scored just 50 points on 49% from the field and 31% from long-range in the final two stanzas.

In the postgame presser following Game 1, Joe Mazzulla alluded to the fact that there was no reason for Boston to sound the panic alarms quite yet. The Celtics outscored Miami in three-of-four quarters in Wednesday’s series opener, and then just happened to get blown out by 21 points in the third quarter. So, the fix seemed rather simple. All they needed to do was string together four quarters of solid basketball to get back over the hump in Game 2.

Well, that’s easier said than done isn’t it coach? A similar story unfolded in Game 2, as the Celtics went to the fourth quarter of Friday’s contest leading Miami by a score of 83-75, and to their credit, they carried that lead deep into the stanza, as they led 96-87 with just 6:37 left on the clock.

But then, Grant Williams decided to poke the bear a.k.a Jimmy Butler, and the rest was history, as the Heat outscored Boston 24-9 the rest of the way, led by nine points on 4-of-8 shooting from Butler in the final minutes, and Miami managed to escape with another come-from-behind victory, as well as a 2-0 series lead.

Not too long ago, Celtics’ bettors briefly went into panic mode, as Boston was abruptly pushed to the brink of elimination after falling behind 3-2 in the conference semis against Philly, and for a little while, the fate of their season legitimately hung in the balance, as they trailed by a score of 83-81 with roughly four minutes left on the clock in win-or-go-home Game 6, before suddenly flipping a switch and dominating the Sixers by a score of 124-91 for the remaining 52 minutes of the series; and let’s not forget, they also dropped a pair of games to the 41-41 Hawks in the round prior to that.

Well, here we go again with the Celtics hitting the road having already dug themselves a hole down 0-2. When everything is firing on all cylinders for this Boston’ team, they are pretty much unstoppable. The Celtics are the only squad in the entire league that ranks Top 3 in both offensive and defensive rating. However, the problem is, you never know which version of the Celtics is going to show up on any given night, or any given quarter, for that matter, and Jayson Tatum is no exception to that claim. 

The Celtics have clearly lacked mental toughness at times during these playoffs. They’ve posted a rather mediocre record of 8-7 since the start of the postseason, which includes a record of 0-5 in matchups decided by seven points or less, and the Tatum-Brown duo continues to disappear in big moments, highlighted by Boston’s two superstars combining for just 20 points on 4-of-15 shooting in the fourth quarters of Games 1 and 2 in this series.

Make no mistake about it, the fact that Miami has reached this point certainly isn’t a fluke. The numbers don’t always add up on the statsheet, but the Heat fight tooth-and-nail in every single contest, and they fear absolutely nobody. They play great defense, they move the ball well on offense, Erik Spoelstra may very well be the best coach in the league, and Jimmy Butler is capable of being the best player on the floor on any given night.

That said, the Celtics are still the better team in this series on paper, and it always seems like right when we think they are officially down for the count, they get back on their feet and put on a “We’re The Best Team in Basketball” type of performance. 

Can they come all the way back and win the series? The jury is still out on that question. Personally, I don’t trust them to win four-of-five games under any set of circumstances, but Boston is now 4-5 at home and 4-2 on the road since the start of the playoffs, and while playing on the road is certainly never an advantage in the NBA, clearly, this Celtics’ squad is more than comfortable playing away from their home arena. 

In last year’s Eastern Conference Finals between these teams, the road team won five-of-seven matchups, which included the C’s winning Games 2, 5, and 7 on the road in Miami. It’s a much different situation this time around, but a lot of the same DNA appears to remain. Lay the short number with Boston in Game 3.

Score Prediction: Celtics 116, Heat 105
Best Bet: Celtics -3 (-110)

BOS @ MIA Odds


Date: Sunday, May 21, 2023
Venue: Kaseya Center
Location: Miami, Florida
TV-Time: TNT, 8:30 p.m. ET
Expert Picks

NBA Finals Betting Odds


Boston Celtics
SU: 65-32
ATS: 53-43-1
O/U: 53-43-1
PPG: 117.9
OPPG: 111.4

Miami Heat
SU: 55-42
ATS: 42-53
O/U: 51-44
PPG: 109.5
OPPG: 109.8

Straight Up (SU), Against the Spread (ATS), Over-Under (O/U)
Points Per Game (PPG), Opponents Points Per Game (OPPG)

The total has gone OVER in 10 of Boston's last 12 road games. (Getty)


  • The Celtics are 2-4 ATS in their last six games.
  • The total has gone OVER in 10 of Boston's last 13 games.
  • The Celtics are 2-4 SU in their last six games.
  • The Heat are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games.
  • The total has gone OVER in four of Miami's last five games.
  • The Heat are 5-1 SU in their last six games.
  • The Heat are 6-0 SU in their last six home games.
  • The Heat are 1-4 ATS in their last five home games against Boston.
  • The Celtics are 1-4 ATS in their last five games against Miami.
  • The Celtics are 1-4 SU in their last five games against Miami.
  • The total has gone OVER in 10 of Boston's last 12 road games.
  • The total has gone OVER in four of Miami's last five matchups against Boston.