Heat vs. Celtics Game 6 Preview: Will Boston Close Out at Home?

Matt Moore breaks down the matchup between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics and offers up some bets for Game 6.

Heat vs. Celtics Odds

Heat Odds +8.5
Celtics Odds -8.5
Over/Under 201
Time 8:30 p.m. ET
Odds via <!–Caesars–>Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

A series doesn’t have to be pretty, or even enjoyable, to be profitable. That’s the great thing about betting.

And it’s a good thing, too, because the Eastern Conference finals series between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics has been gross. Blowouts and injuries dominate the conversation as the Celtics look to close out Miami in Boston in Game 6.

Let’s bet Heat-Celtics.

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

Hobbled Heat Are Running Out of Adjustments 

Max Strus, PJ Tucker and Gabe Vincent have been questionable the past six games. They have played in all six games. Tyler Herro is questionable, he did not play last game after being so for Game 5.

So while the Heat have those five players, plus Kyle Lowry, listed as questionable, it doesn’t really mean the same.

Strus had to exit Game 5 before returning. Lowry is an absolute shell of himself while dealing with a hamstring injury he’s trying to play through. Jimmy Butler isn’t even on the injury report, though he’s clearly not healthy.

Herro is vital to any chance the Heat have, but honestly, Herro has struggled since the first half of Game 1. Since then, he has just 22 points in 53 minutes. Boston stopped playing drop coverage against him and pretty much shut the water off.

Miami’s offense is outclassed here, whether due to injuries, personnel or Boston’s incredible defense. The reason is irrelevant. What matters is that Miami is scoring just 84 points per 100 possessions in the halfcourt since Game 1. That is some worst of the early 2000s basketball right there.

The Heat even got the looks in Game 5. Miami generated more uncontested and lightly contested shots than the Celtics did. However, Miami shot just 13-of-39 on such shots. Once the Celtics stopped turning the ball over, Miami was sunk.

Miami has a 91.4 Offensive Rating with Max Strus, its starting two-guard, on the floor. It has a 93.8 Offensive Rating with Kyle Lowry on the floor. If Gabe Vincent isn’t making things happen, no one will. Read that sentence again.

Miami’s defense has suffered as a result and the Celtics have broken the game open in second halves before.

Tactical adjustments won’t matter much if Jimmy Butler, who has had a rare three bad games in a row, can’t get healthy enough to impact anything. All the coaching brilliance, savvy, mental toughness and experience doesn’t matter if your body is not physically able to get you to score buckets.

It’s possible Miami finds a shooting outlier in Game 6. This series has been a little wonky in a lot of ways.

But betting on it seems unlikely.

Boston’s Defense Is Suffocating the Heat

Marcus Smart and Robert Williams are both listed as questionable, but both played last game and should be good to go.

Boston’s offense has been good vs. the Heat defense, but they are still 2-3 on their team total in this series. The Celtics haven’t outscored the market projections, including going 0-3 in the past three games.

Boston feels like it’s playing great offense, but in reality, the Celtics are shooting 35% from three in this series with a good-not-great 113 offensive rating. However, their defense is spectacular, leaving no gaps, with no breakdowns and constant contests.

The Celtics are showing themselves and the Heat that they are best defensive team in the league — just as they were in the regular season — and the Heat simply do not have the weapons to put pressure on the Celtics without Boston turning the ball over.

Heat-Celtics Pick

Despite the blowout nature of this series, I still can’t take the Celtics -9. It’s just too many points vs. the No. 1 seed that has won two games in this series. Miami has looked worse and worse, while Boston has been better and better over the past four games. But ultimately I don’t want to lay nearly double digits, even at home.

I also have zero interest in taking this broken-down Heat team ever again this season.

So let’s look at ways to get around the spread.

Game 6 home favorites up 3-2 are 17-22 ATS in the first half. But once you get out of the first round, where teams are a lot less reliable, home favorites in Game 6 up 3-2 are 10-6 ATS.

So let’s take some points off both the full game and halftime number. Celtics 1st half -4.5, plus Celtics full-game -4.5 is -107 and that’s close enough to even to take it. If you want a lean, take Celtics or nothing for the full game spread.

Lean: Celtics -9
Pick: Celtics 1H alternate line -4.5, Celtics full-game -4.5 same-game parlay (-107)