Heat vs. Celtics Preview: Target Total in Key Eastern Conference Matchup

Action Network contributor Tyler Schmidt gives his betting analysis on Wednesday's matchup between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat.

Heat vs. Celtics Odds

Heat Odds +4.5
Celtics Odds -4.5
Over/Under 214.5
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

With only 12 days left on the NBA schedule the race for the top of the Eastern Conference is as good as it gets. The Miami Heat lead the conference by the smallest of margins, while the Boston Celtics are continuing to surge up the standings.

Both the Heat and Celtics have six games left of the regular season, so every game coming down the stretch is vital. The Celtics are pretty solid favorites in this matchup. They have already beaten the Heat twice, winning 95-78 in early November and 122-92 in late January.

Each team has a fantastic defense, but their offenses are underrated. Let’s dive into this matchup and find the best bet to take advantage of.

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Miami Heat

A comfortable 23-point victory over the Sacramento Kings ended the Heat’s four-game losing streak. They remain the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but not by much. There are three teams within one game of them as they try and hold on for the last two weeks of the season.

The Heat get ready for a three-game road trip that will basically make or break their playoff seeding. Their games feature the Celtics, Bulls and Raptors, who make up the last three seeds in the playoff picture that are not in the play-in tournament. Miami has a tough road ahead to keep the No. 1 seed. Overall, its next five games are against opponents who have a combined record of 210-167.

Injuries are no longer a concern for the Heat as their only questionable players for tonight are Caleb Martin, who missed their last game, and Duncan Robinson, who has an illness. Even Victor Oladipo is ready to go.

This Miami team has a lot of depth at several positions, and it’s still led by Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Butler is averaging 20 points per game for the six of his last eight seasons. Adebayo is averaging a career-high 19.1 points to go along with 10.2 rebounds per game. This duo can be very difficult to stop.

Defense has been the calling card for the Heat. They rank fifth in defensive rating and 28th in pace, allowing 105.2 points per game. Their opponents have shot 44.6% from the field and 34.1% from behind the arc, which both rank as the fourth-best from a defensive standpoint this season.

The books have been putting the total really low in Heat games, which has paid off for over bettors. Tonight is no exception as this total is only 214.5 points. In 59% of the Heat’s games this season, the total has gone over the line.

Boston Celtics

After sitting most of their starters last game and losing in overtime against the Toronto Raptors, the Boston Celtics get ready for a three-game home stand. They have won a ridiculous 22 of their last 26 games.

The Celtics have completely turned their season around in the second half of the year. Since the All-Star Break, the Celtics rank first in offensive rating, third in defensive rating and first in net rating. Overall, the Celtics lead the league in defensive rating, allowing a league-best 104 points per game.

Similar to the Heat, the Celtics rely on their defense and slow pace, but Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been incredible this season on the offensive end of the court. Tatum is averaging a career-high 27.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game this season. In the month of March, Tatum is averaging 33.7 points per game while shooting 53.9% from the field and 46.6% from behind the arc.

Brown is also having a great season, averaging 23.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. The duo of Brown and Tatum is so fun to watch. Both can go out and get 40 points any given night. They will be very tough to stop in this matchup.

The biggest news for the Celtics is the injury to Robert Williams. He will be out indefinitely, which is disappointing because he is averaging nearly a double-double with a career-high in points and rebounds. Williams is also second in the league in blocks with 2.2 per game. He’s a huge loss to their interior defense.

On the other hand, the Celtics will also be getting Al Horford back after he missed back-to-back games due to personal reasons. Horford will likely need to play closer to 30 minutes moving forward as long as Williams is still out. The 35-year old veteran is averaging a career-low 10 points per game. His assignment against Adebayo is going to be very difficult in this matchup.

Heat-Celtics Pick

Both the Heat and Celtics have been phenomenal on defense throughout this season and recently as well. Where they really show their strength is through interior defense. The Heat and Celtics rank first and second in least amount of points allowed in the paint.

With no Robert Williams, the Celtics interior defense may struggle. They allowed 66 points in the paint last game against Pascal Siakam and the Raptors. This will be another tough test against Bam Adebayo who has been incredible this season. He may be the X-factor in this matchup.

It is difficult to not pick the Celtics in this matchup, but I think both offenses find a way to push this game over the 214.5 point total. I would consider taking this total up to 215.5 points. No Robert Williams available is a huge loss, while the Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown duo is too good offensively.

Pick: Over 214.5 Points (-110)