Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via <!–FanDuel–>FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics head to South Beach for an early season test against the Miami Heat. This is a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals.
I have to start out by telling the truth. Prior to the start of the 2021-22 NBA season I was fading the Boston Celtics. I thought they would struggle under first year head coach Ime Udoka. The Celtics did get off to a slow start, but from January 1st to the end of the regular season Boston posted a 35-12 record. Defense was the Celtics calling card and it led them all the way to the NBA Finals.
The Celtics 2022-23 campaign started off with an impressive 126-117 victory over Philadelphia, in which Boston easily covered the 3-point spread. The Celtics turned up the defense in the second half and gave up 54 points to the 76ers. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown led Boston offensively, each posting 35 points. The Celtics appear to be picking up where they left off.
My top takeaway from the Celtics opening night victory was the play of offseason acquisition Malcolm Brogdon, who scored 16 points and added four assists in 23 minutes. If he stays healthy, Brogdon gives the Celtics a nice third scoring option. Coming into the season with a projected regular season win total of 52.5 games, the Celtics are clearly the class of the Eastern Conference.
At this time a year ago, people were expecting the Miami Heat to do what the Boston Celtics eventually did. Kyle Lowry was Miami ‘s big offseason pickup. Lowry, along with Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro made the Heat a popular pick in the East. Miami had a good season and finished the regular season as the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but eventually fell to the Celtics in the postseason.
There is no doubt the Heat are as good as Jimmy Butler is. I’m just not sure that’s good enough to be one of the top seeds in the East any longer. In their opening night home loss to the Bulls, Miami looked like an older team. Kyle Lowry only scored two points and shot 1-of-7 from the field, including 0-of-5 from three. Last season, Lowry played in 63 games and posted his lowest numbers in 10 years. Coming into his 18th season, Lowry does not appear to be a player a contending team should be expecting much from.
This game opened up with the Miami Heat as (-1.5) point favorites. After the Celtics dominating opening night performance, coupled with the Heat losing by 8-points as 7.5 point favorites, that number has steamed to the Celtics -2.5.
Between the regular and the playoffs, these teams played 10 times last season. The Celtics were 6-4 in those matchups. More importantly, the Celtics were 4-1 in Miami. In my Action Network debut I hate to back such a public favorite, but I have to ride with the Celtics. I would back the Celtics up to -5.5.
Pick: Celtics -2.5