The Boston Celtics face the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, with a trip to the NBA Finals on the line.
Stars like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have paved the way for the Celtics’ playoff success. Against the 76ers, Tatum scored an NBA record 51 points in Game 7, and Brown is averaging 24.6 points per game.
[RELATED: White-hot Heat thrash Celtics in Game 3]
Boston faces an unlikely opponent in Miami.
The Heat have cruised through the postseason, defeating the Milwaukee Bucks in five games and the New York Knicks in six. Miami, led by Jimmy “Buckets” Butler, was able to cause all this havoc in the NBA East as the eighth seed.
Will Miami keep the hot streak going? Or will the Celtics cool Butler & Co.?
Here’s a look at the series from a betting perspective, with odds a Bet FOX:
Celtics at heat8:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, TNT (main series 3-0)
Distribution of points: Heat -1.5 (Heat favored to win by more than 1.5 points, otherwise Celtics cover)
Moneyline: Heat -133 favorites to win (bet $10 to win $17.52 total); Celtics -105 underdogs to win (bet $10 to win $19.52 total)
Total Over/Under Score: 215 points scored by the two teams together
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Series schedule and scores (all times at 8:30 p.m. ET, TNT TV):
Game 1: Heat 123, Celtics 116
Game 2: Heat 111, Celtics 105
Game 3: Heat 128, Celtics 102
Game 4: Celtics at Heat, Tuesday
Game 5: Heat at Celtics, Thursday *
Game 6: Celtics at Heat, Saturday *
Game 7: Heat at Celtics, May 29 *
* = if necessary
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Pick through the FOX sports betting analyst Jason McIntyre:
We have another bubble rematch! This is the third time the two have met in the playoffs in the last four years. Miami is significantly outmatched here, with Tyler Herro not expected to play in the series. Yes, Miami averaged six players in double figures against the Knicks, but keeping up with New York’s lackluster offense is one thing. Boston, on the other hand, is an offensive juggernaut. Yes, the Celtics were pushed to seven games by Philadelphia, but two of those games were lucky last-minute wins for the 76ers. That streak should never have been seven.
I can see a scenario where Boston wipes the floor with Miami in five, and a sweep isn’t out of the question either. The problem, of course, is that Jimmy Butler is the most clutch player on the court; apologies to my favorite Celtics player of all time, Jayson Tatum. I hate to bet against him.
But can someone other than Butler make a move for Miami? Is Duncan Robinson playable? What can you expect from 36-year-old Kyle Lowry? Heat Culture is a wonderful thing, but Caleb Martin, Max Strus and Gabe Vincent won’t get the open looks they had against the Knicks because Boston won’t need to double-team anyone. Marcus Smart is a capable defender for Butler. The combination of Al Horford and Robert Williams that shut down Joel Embiid in the last two games will be formidable against Kevin Love and Bam Adebayo.
Miami has been on a big run, beating Giannis Antetokounmpo and then Jalen Brunson, but Boston will be the most complete team the Heat have faced. Miami has a huge coaching advantage with Erik Spoelstra, but lacks the cornerbacks to hang with Jaylen Brown.
In two of their three playoff wins last year against Boston, Butler scored 41 points and 47 points. That’s a heavy load for him again, especially considering the ankle injury he suffered against New York.
I’m going with the Celtics to win this series in five.
Pick: Celtics to win series 4-1 (+210 on FOX Bet, bet $10 to win $31 total) LOSS
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