In the first Eastern Conference Final that doesn’t include one of the top two seeds in a long time, the Celtics are facing the Heat. Boston finished third and eliminated the Sixers in the first round 4-0 and Raptors in the semifinals 4-3 wins. Miami finished fifth and swept the Pacers in the quarterfinals 4-0 and then eliminated the Bucks in the second round 4-1.
Date/Time: 09-15-2020, 18:30 EDT
Spread: Boston Celtics -1.5 Total: +209.5
Celtics finished the regular season with a 48-24 record (41-27-4 ATS). They were 3rd in the East. They have won two of their last three matches. In their last game they won Toronto in Game 7, 92-87, eliminating them. They were a -3 favorite and managed to cover the spread.
Jayson Tatum leads the team both in scoring with 25.3 ppg and in rebounding with 10.1 per game. Jaylen Brown adds 21 ppg and 7.6 rebounds per game.
Heat finished the regular season with a 44-28 record (36-35-2 ATS). They were 5th in the East. They have won eight of their last nine matches. In their last game they won Milwaukee in game 5, 103-94, eliminating them. They were a 2-point underdog and didn’t cover the spread.
Jimmy Butler leads the team in scoring with 21.8 ppg, adding 5.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. Goran Dragic adds 21.1 ppg, 4.4 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game.
Boston led Miami 2-1 wins in the regular season.
Celtics are better offensively (112.9 to 112.1 ppg) and they have the second-best defense in the NBA (106.4 to 108.5 ppg).
They are also better both in rebounding (46 to 44.4) and in turnovers committed (13.8 to 14.9).
On the other hand, Miami has better percentages both in field goals (46.7% to 45.9%) and in 3-pointers (37.9% to 36.1%).
They are also better in assists made (25.8 to 22.7).
Bookmakers give the Celtics a -1.5 spread but don’t expect them to beat the odds. They are coming off a 7-game series and the Heat are already looking better so far in the postseason.
Heat vs Celtics Game 1 Prediction: Miami Heat +1.5 (-107)