The Boston Celtics, fresh off a Game 7 win over the Toronto Raptors, will face the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday evening in the 2020 NBA Playoffs. The Heat advanced after a stunning upset victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, with Jimmy Butler as the centerpiece for Miami. Chris Silva (pubic bone) is out for the Heat, with Gordon Hayward (ankle) ruled out for Boston. Javonte Green (knee) is listed as doubtful for the Celtics. Tip-off is 6:30 p.m. ET inside the NBA's Orlando bubble.
Boston is a 1.5-point favorite in the Celtics vs. Heat odds from William Hill. The over-under for total points expected is 211.5, down half a point from the opener. Before making any Heat vs. Celtics picks, be sure to see the NBA predictions from SportsLine's proven computer model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and it's already returned over $5,000 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks this season. It entered the week on a blistering 61-33 run on top-rated NBA spread picks, returning almost $2,500 on those picks alone. It's also a sizzling 11-3 on top-rated picks since the NBA's restart in July. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Celtics vs. Heat spread: Celtics -1.5
- Celtics vs. Heat over-under: 211.5 points
- Celtics vs. Heat money line: Celtics -125, Heat +105
- BOS: The Celtics are 7-3 against the spread in the last 10 games
- MIA: The Heat are 8-2 against the spread in the last 10 games
Why the Celtics can cover
Boston is a balanced, talented team, headlined by a trio of top-flight scorers. Jayson Tatum is averaging 25.3 points and 10.1 rebounds per game in the postseason, with Jaylen Brown adding 21.0 points and 7.6 rebounds and Kemba Walker providing 19.6 points and 5.3 assists per game. Boston's offense has struggled, at least by its standards, in the postseason, but the Celtics ranked as a top-six team in the NBA in turnover avoidance, offensive rebounding and points scored per possession during the regular season.
Defensively, Boston is unquestionably elite, including the best defensive rating (101.9 points allowed per 100 possessions) in the postseason. The Celtics have been strong across the board, ranking in the top six in points allowed off turnovers, second-chance points allowed, fast-break points allowed and points allowed in the paint. In addition, Boston leads the league in shooting efficiency allowed in the postseason, holding opponents to 40.5 percent shooting from the floor and 30.5 percent from 3-point range.
Why the Heat can cover
Miami has been dominant in the postseason, and Erik Spoelstra's team is doing it on both ends of the floor. The Heat rank fourth in the league in offensive rating during the playoffs, scoring 1.13 points per possession. Individually, Miami has strong pieces, with Butler averaging 21.8 points, Goran Dragic adding 21.1 points, and Bam Adebayo producing 16.2 points, 11.7 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game in the playoffs. Miami is also second in both shooting efficiency and assist rate, with a top-four mark in offensive rebounding.
Defensively, the Heat have also been strong, ranking No. 4 in both defensive rebounding and overall defensive rating, holding opponents to just 1.05 points per possession. Miami also has the rest advantage in this matchup, taking care of the Milwaukee Bucks in short order while the Celtics needed seven grueling games to defeat the Toronto Raptors.
How to make Celtics vs. Heat picks
SportsLine's model is leaning over on the total, with Tatum and Dragic both projected to outperform their season-long scoring averages. It also says one side of the spread hits more than 50 percent of the time. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Heat vs. Celtics? And which side of the spread hits in more than 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Celtics vs. Heat spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is up over $5,000 on its top-rated NBA picks this season, and find out.