The Miami Heat are clinging to the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference and will square off with the team right behind them when they visit the Boston Celtics on Sunday afternoon. It is the first of two meetings in three days between the Heat and Celtics, who are trying to avoid finishing in seventh place and winding up in the play-in tournament. Winners of four of its last five games, Miami (36-31) is only a half-game behind fifth-place Atlanta and one ahead of Boston (35-32), which lost a six-game series to the Heat in last year's Eastern Conference Finals.
Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. ET at TD Garden. William Hill Sportsbook lists this game as a pick'em, while the over-under for total points scored is 221.5 in the latest Heat vs. Celtics odds. Before you make any Celtics vs. Heat 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 has returned over $9,200 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks over the past two-plus seasons. The model is up over $1,200 on its top-rated picks this season and entered Week 20 of the 2020-21 NBA schedule on a stunning 97-62 roll on top-rated NBA picks against the spread dating back to last season. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Heat vs. Celtics spread: Pick'em
- Heat vs. Celtics over-under: 221.5 points
- Heat vs. Celtics money line: Boston -110, Miami -110
- MIA: Miami is 7-2 against the spread in its last nine meetings against Boston
- BOS: The Celtics are 2-6 against the spread in their last eight games
Why the Heat can cover
The tandem of forward Jimmy Butler and center Bam Adebayo rank 1-2 in many of the key categories for Miami, averaging a combined 40.5 points, 16.0 rebounds, 12.6 assists and 3.3 steals. Adebayo was a nightmare for the Celtics in the Heat's six-game win in the Eastern Conference Finals last season. He registered four double-doubles and capped off the superb series by scoring 32 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in the clinching victory.
Third-leading scorer Tyler Herro returned from a six-game absence due to a foot injury to score 27 points off the bench in Friday night's win. He also was a nemesis for the Celtics in the postseason series, averaging 19.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists. Fellow reserve Goran Dragic, who averaged 20.5 points in that playoff win over Boston, has picked it up at the offensive end by averaging 20.0 points in his last three contests.
Why the Celtics can cover
Leading scorer Jayson Tatum had averaged nearly 39 points in his previous four games before one of his worst outings of the season on Friday at Chicago, when he was limited to nine points and misfired on all seven 3-point attempts. He scored 27 points in Boston's two-point victory at Miami on Jan. 6 and averaged 26.5 points and 9.8 rebounds in last season's conference finals vs. the Heat. Tatum is averaging 42.7 points in his last three home games.
Point guard Kemba Walker returned from a four-game injury absence in spectacular fashion, tying his season high with 32 points at Orlando on Wednesday before eclipsing it two nights later with a 33-point effort at Chicago. It was the third 30-point performance in five games for Walker, who has buried 24 3-pointers in that span. Forward Evan Fournier also has elevated his play of late, averaging 18.7 points over the past three games.
How to make Celtics vs. Heat picks
SportsLine's model is leaning under on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 217 points. The model also says one side of the spread hits 60 percent of the time. You can get that pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Heat vs. Celtics? And which side of the spread hits 60 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the model that is on a roll on NBA picks.