Game 1 – Heat vs. Celtics Picks, Predictions, Odds

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The NBA Playoffs resume on Wednesday night with Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics. Coverage begins from TD Garden in Boston at 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT.

The Heat are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games. (Getty)


Not too long ago, Celtics’ bettors briefly went into panic mode as Boston was abruptly pushed to the brink of elimination in after falling behind 3-2 with a home loss to Philly in Game 5 of the previous round, 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.

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, and they’ve continued to walk the tightrope with a similar level of balance through the first two rounds of the playoffs. 

However, the problem is, you never know which version of this Celtics’ team is going to show up on any given night, and Jayson Tatum is no exception to that claim.

In Game 7 against Philly, Tatum erupted for 51 points on 60% from the floor, but let’s not forget, he also pulled a pair of disappearing acts in the series, and in theory, if Tatum didn’t randomly snap out of an 1-for-14 shooting slump and drill four-of-five three-point attempts in the closing minutes of Game 6, we would be having a much different discussion about the state of this Boston’ squad.

While, on the other hand, the Heat also briefly flirted with elimination after finishing 7th in the East with a record of 44-38, and then shooting just 42% from the field and 32% from long-range in an ugly 116-105 loss to Atlanta in the opening round of the Play-In Tournament. 

However, since their early wakeup call, the Heat have looked like a completely different team, highlighted by Miami lighting up the scoreboard for 124 points per game on 52% from the field and 45% from beyond the arc in their surprisingly brief five-game set with Milwaukee, and then turning around and smothering New York to just 100 points per game on 44% from the floor and 30% from downtown in a six-game set in the following round.

On paper, Boston has the far superior roster in this series from top-to-bottom, but make no mistake about it, the fact that Miami has also 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 very well may be the best coach in the league, and Jimmy Butler is capable of taking over a game on any given night.

While on the other side of that same coin, the Celtics have clearly lacked mental toughness at times during these playoffs. They’ve posted a rather mediocre record of 8-5 since the start of the postseason, which includes a record of 0-3 in matchups decided by four points or less, and the inexperience of rookie head coach Joe Mazzulla quickly became a factor in the previous round against Philly, but ultimately, their talent prevailed.

It’s tough to imagine a scenario in which Miami makes it out of this series alive, but that said, the Heat have a group of guys that fully buy into their coach’s game plan each and every time out, and that could be crucial, as it appears they’ll have a heavy advantage in the coaching department in this matchup.

The Celtics are listed as huge favorites to win the series, as well as Wednesday's series opener, but truth be told, this has the looks another lengthy slugfest. Take the points with Miami in Game 1.

Score Prediction: Celtics 104, Heat 101
Best Bet: Heat +8 (-110)

Take MIA!

MIA @ BOS Odds


Date: Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Venue: TD Garden
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
TV-Time: TNT, 8:30 p.m. ET
Expert Picks

NBA Finals Betting Odds


Miami Heat
SU: 53-42
ATS: 40-53
O/U: 49-44
PPG: 109.5
OPPG: 109.8

Boston Celtics
SU: 65-30
ATS: 53-41-1
O/U: 51-43-1
PPG: 117.9
OPPG: 111.4

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

The Celtics are 11-3 SU in their last 14 home games. (Getty)


  • The Heat are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games.
  • The total has gone OVER in eight of Miami's last 11 games.
  • The Celtics are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 games.
  • The total has gone OVER in eight of Boston's last 11 games.
  • The Celtics are 11-5 SU in their last 16 games.
  • The Celtics are 11-3 SU in their last 14 home games.
  • The Heat are 7-2 SU in their last nine games.
  • The total has gone OVER in eight of Miami's last nine road games.
  • The total has gone OVER in eight of Miami's last ten road games against Boston.