Celtics vs. Heat Game 7 Preview: 2 Ways to Bet Sunday's Elimination Game

Action analyst Austin Wang previews how to bet Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Celtics and Heat.

Celtics vs. Heat Odds

Celtics Odds -2.5
Heat Odds +2.5
Over/Under 195.5
Time 8:30 p.m. ET
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

On Sunday, the Celtics and Heat return to Miami for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. This series has fallen short of expectations with injuries and blowouts having marred the quality and entertainment value. In each of the six games in this series, there has been at least one key player sitting out.

It took until Game 6 to finally see a truly competitive game in this series. Jimmy Butler scored 47 points and carried the Miami Heat to victory to send this series back to South Beach for the decisive Game 7. None of the other games have been close.

With one game left to decide it all, who will come out top?

The tough, gritty, physical Heat embody everything one would expect in a Game 7. After a brilliant effort in Game 6, the Heat will look to put together one more performance in front of their home fans and make it to the NBA Finals for the second time in three seasons.

The Celtics have shown resiliency throughout the playoffs. They’ve also got the No. 1-ranked Defensive Rating in the league. They have Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, two young superstars with a bright future, Marcus Smart and Al Horford, two tough, seasoned veterans, have paid their dues and are waiting for an opportunity to get that championship.

The Celtics are currently 2.5-point road favorites, and the total has been bet down to 195.5, the lowest total of the season. Let’s dive into Game 7.

>> Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds, track your bets and follow all of our experts’ picks.

Celtics Need to Play a Complete Game

The Celtics finally had their full rotation back on the floor for Game 6, but still could not get the job done. They squandered a great opportunity to close out the series, but now will look to try and win their third game on the road for this series.

Tatum scored 30 points on 9-for-12 shooting and will need to be more aggressive and get more shots for Game 7. Tatum and Brown only combined for seven shot attempts in the second half, which is completely unacceptable.

The Celtics turned the ball over 17 times and did not get much from their other core players, Smart and Horford. They didn’t play that poorly, but Butler and the Heat played a near-perfect game.

The Heat shut down the stars and dared Derrick White to beat them — he responded with 22 points off the bench. Similar to their last series, White has been the X-Factor. He has had three consecutive games with a positive Plus/Minus. He had 14 shot attempts in Game 4, eight in Game 5 and another 14 in Game 6. The Heat are giving him the green light to shoot, and he’s had the third-highest Usage Rate for the Celtics this series.

The Celtics are 25-11 straight up and 23-13 (63.9%) ATS after a loss this season, per the SDQL at Gimme The Dog. They are 5-0 straight up and ATS in this year’s playoffs alone. In addition, the Celtics are 15-1 straight up and 12-4 ATS as road favorites this season.

Have the Heat Emptied the Tank?

After the demoralizing loss at home in Game 5, it appeared most of the NBA media and fans had written this team off. Draymond Green’s comments on ESPN preemptively declaring the Celtics as the winner was great bulletin board material for the Heat. Instead, they went to Boston and won Game 6 outright as eight-point underdogs.

Butler had an epic game and scored at will with 47 points on 16-of-29 from the field and four 3-pointers. They Heat have been awful offensively and tend to go on these droughts, but they were able to get things to click in the elimination game. The Heat have struggled after strong offensive performances from Butler. This season, the Heat are 6-8 straight up and ATS after Butler has a 30-plus point performance, per the SDQL.

The biggest pending news is Tyler Herro’s availability for Sunday. He has missed three consecutive games with a groin injury. The Heat’s Offensive Rating decreases by 2.8 points per 100 possessions when he is off the court, per Basketball Reference. They’ve gone 2-6 straight up and 1-7 against the spread in their previous eight games without Herro, per the SDQL.

Max Strus stepped up in a big way for the absent Herro. He scored 13 points and knocked down three 3-pointers, doing most of his damage during a critical stretch in the third. He will need to step up again if they will be without Herro once again.

The Heat are an excellent home team. This season, they are 36-14 straight up and 30-19-1 (61.2%) ATS this season. However, they’ve dropped two straight at home to the Celtics in this series.

Home teams in Game 7 after winning their previous game by a margin of six or greater are a perfect 15-0 straight up and 13-2 (86.7%) ATS dating back to the 2002-2003 season, per the SDQL. The momentum from a comfortable win on the road in Game 6 carries forward to Game 7.

Celtics-Heat Pick

This will be a rock fight. The total opened up at 198 and has been battered down to 195.5. The nerves are high, these teams are so familiar with one another, and they are fatigued. Referees tend to call Game 7s with a tighter whistle and they won’t have a combined 56 free throws like they did in Game 6.

Game 7 unders have been prevalent, but diving in further, first half unders in Eastern Conference Game 7s have gone 16-7-2 (69.2%) to the under, per our Bet Labs database. The last eight game 7s have gone under in the first half.

The pace has slowed down the last three games (average of 91 in Games 4-6) and  I expect these two top defensive teams to bring their best. My first pick is on the under 95 in the first half.

Home court has not mattered all series. It is hard to see a No. 1 seed lose three times at home in a series, but that is what I am foreseeing. I don’t think Butler can have a repeat performance of his near-perfect Game 6.

Likewise with Lowry, he has struggled these entire playoffs and I don’t see another double-double in his cards. My pick is on the Celtics to win, cover and move on to the Finals.

Pick: Celtics -2.5 | Under 95 1H