Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat
The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics collide for Game 1 in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. The Heat is 5-point home favorites over the Celtics with an over/under total set at 182 points.
The Miami Heat advanced to the quarterfinal stage after defeating the Philadelphia 76ers in a grueling five game first round series. In what was expected to be a relatively easy series for Miami, the 76ers gave the Heat everything they could handle as four of the five games were decided in the final minutes. Regardless, the Heat advanced without any real injury concerns, as they get ready to face the defending Eastern Conference champs.
The same couldn’t be said for the Celtics who were the only team to sweep all four games in the first round after knocking out the injury plagued New York Knicks. Although the Knicks gave everything the Celtics could handle in the first two games of the series, the final two games at Madison Square Garden were a wash as the Celtics came away with double-digit victories in Games 3 and 4 to complete the sweep.
The Heat are just 8-20 against the spread in their last 28 games playing on 3 or more days rest and 2-5 against the spread in their last seven games as a home favorite. The Celtics on the other hand are 8-3 against the spread in their last 11-playoff games as an underdog, but just 2-5 against the spread in their last seven road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600. Head to head, the Celtics are 9-3 against the spread in the last 12 meetings in Miami and 4-1 against the spread in the last five overall. The favorite is 13-6 against the spread in the last 19 meetings while the home team is 5-1 against the spread in the last six meetings. The under is 4-1 in the last five meetings, however the over is 4-1 in the last five in Miami.
Even though the Celtics were the only team in the first round of the playoffs to sweep their opponents, they were hardly impressive in Games 1 and 2 of that series, so it’s hard to get an accurate gauge of where their at right now. The Heat also only lost the one game, but a 76ers team that wasn’t expected to give them any trouble tested them. In any case, the Celtics are a veteran team that knows what to expect and they thrive as playoff underdogs, going 8-3 against the spread in their last 11-playoff games as an underdog. I’ll take the points and the proven Celtics in the opener. Take Boston plus the 5-points.
Boston Celtics +5 Miami Heat