Celtics vs. Heat Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
Prior to last night, the Celtics had won nine straight games, but the Orlando Magic managed to take them down for the third time this season and snap the win streak. However, the Celtics still enter this matchup as the No. 1 seed in the East.
Similarly, the Heat have begun to turn things around in the new year, winning seven of their first 11 games of 2023. Miami enters this matchup with a record of 26-22 and in sixth in the Eastern Conference.
Both the Heat and Celtics have some momentum on their side, but this is the second game in two nights for Boston, which complicates things slightly. Here are the odds and a prediction for the Eastern Conference matchup between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.
Celtics Looking to Bounce Back
What made the Celtics’ aforementioned win streak even more impressive was that they were forced to deal with some injuries to key players, as both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown missed time in that nine-game stretch.
However, even with both Tatum and Brown healthy on Monday, the Celtics came up short to the Magic for the third time this season. Even though Boston’s two franchise cornerstones appear healthy, the team is still dealing with the injury bug, which certainly played a role in Monday’s loss.
Marcus Smart, Malcolm Brogdon and Robert Williams were all sidelined for the matchup against Orlando. That left Boston very vulnerable in the middle of the floor, allowing the Magic to shoot 51% from the floor overall and score 54 points in the paint.
Smart and Brogdon’s absence tested Boston’s backcourt depth as well, forcing Derrick White and Payton Pritchard into heavier minutes. Those two scored just 11 points and five points, respectively, making Boston’s backcourt outlook rather bleak if Smart and Brogdon are sidelined again versus Miami.
Heat Need Offensive Consistency
The biggest issue facing the Miami Heat this season is their inability to find any consistency on the offensive end of the floor, which is why it is slightly surprising to see the Heat at four games above .500.
According to TeamRankings, the Heat rank last in the NBA in points per game with just 108.6. Despite winning two of their last three games, the Heat have seen their points per game average fall nearly three points to 104.7 in that span, showing that they continue to struggle offensively.
Miami’s lack of a true perimeter scorer is a big reason for their lack of offensive production. Tyler Herro and Caleb Martin are both shooting above 37% from three this season, but everyone else on the Heat roster is shooting below 34%.
As a result, the Heat are shooting just 33.5% from behind the arc as a team this season, making them one-dimensional and rather predictable on the offensive end.
However, one of the pillars of the Miami Heat franchise has always been tenacious defense, and that has allowed the Heat to remain competitive this season. NBA.com has the Heat ranked sixth in Defensive Rating at 111.0, with that rating improving to 108.4 in their last three games.
Both Boston and Miami have found plenty of ways to win since the calendar flipped to 2023, but in this matchup, I am more concerned with the total and believe that we are going to see a low-scoring contest.
The under has been friendly to both Boston and Miami throughout the season, with the under hitting in 52.2% of Celtics games and 54.2% of Heat games, according to TeamRankings. The under has been even more kind to bettors when the Celtics are on the road, as the under’s win percentage soars to 66.7% when the Celtics are on an opponent’s court.
Combine those trends with the Boston injuries/back-to-back spot and Miami’s lack of offense but great defense, and we likely see few points scored in South Beach tonight. I like the total down to 222.5.