The Miami Heat welcome the Boston Celtics to American Airlines Arena on Wednesday evening. The two teams battled famously in the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals and this is the first meeting of the 2020-21 season. Boston is 5-3 through eight games, with Miami starting 3-3 this season. Maurice Harkless (forearm) is listed as questionable for Miami. Marcus Smart (thumb) and Jeff Teague (ankle) are questionable to play for Boston, with Kemba Walker (knee) and Romeo Langford (wrist) out of action.
Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. ET in Miami. William Hill Sportsbook lists the Heat as three-point home favorites, while the over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 218 in the latest Celtics vs. Heat odds. Before you make any Heat vs. Celtics picks, be sure to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's proven computer model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and it returned over $5,000 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks last season. The model is up nearly $8,100 over the past two seasons. Dating back to last season, it is on a stunning 65-36 roll on top-rated picks against the spread, returning almost $2,500 on those selections alone. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Celtics vs. Heat spread: Heat -3
- Celtics vs. Heat over-under: 218 points
- Celtics vs. Heat money line: Heat -150, Celtics +130
- BOS: The Celtics are 4-4 against the spread this season
- MIA: The Heat are 3-3 against the spread in 2020-21
Why the Celtics can cover
Boston's offense is off to a strong start, buoyed by the potent scoring ability of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Tatum, a budding star forward, is averaging 26.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game, with Brown adding 26.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest in the early going. That duo leads the Celtics to a top-eight offense on an efficiency basis, with a top-five offensive rebound rate (28.3 percent) and strong shooting efficiency.
Miami's offense could also fuel Boston in this matchup, with the Heat ranking dead-last in the NBA in turnover rate (19.1 percent) and offensive rebound rate (18.3 percent) to this point. Boston causes turnovers at a relatively high level of 15.5 percent, and the Celtics could spark their transition game by running and crashing the glass.
Why the Heat can cover
Miami's ceiling is well documented, and the Heat flashed it on the way to the NBA Finals last season. So far in 2020-21, the Heat have scuffled offensively by their standards, but they maintain above-average rates in shooting efficiency and free throw creation. Erik Spoelstra's team may also be able to juice their offense by hitting the glass, as the Celtics do have a bottom-tier defensive rebound rate of 73.1 percent.
Miami also has seven players averaging double figures in scoring, headlined by Bam Adebayo with 19.2 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. Adebayo also anchors the defensive unit, and the Heat are a top-10 group on that end of the floor. They force a turnover on 16.1 percent of defensive possessions, and Boston is turning the ball over on 15.5 percent offensively, which is a below-average mark.
How to make Celtics vs. Heat picks
SportsLine's model is leaning under on the total, with Brown and Adebayo projected to fall short of their season-long scoring averages. The model also says one side of the spread has all the value. You can only see that pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Heat vs. Celtics? And which side of the spread has all the value? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Celtics vs. Heat spread you need to jump on, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks.