The Boston Celtics will try to book their spot in the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010 when they face the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals on Friday night. They took a 3-2 lead in the series with a 93-80 win in Miami on Wednesday. The Heat shot just 7 of 45 from beyond the arc in Game 5, as Max Strus went 0 of 9 and Kyle Lowry was 0 of 6. Shooting guard Tyler Herro (groin) is among the five players listed as questionable for Miami, while Boston lists Robert Williams III (knee) and Marcus Smart (ankle) as questionable.
Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m. ET from TD Garden in Boston. Boston is the eight-point favorite in the latest Celtics vs. Heat odds from Caesars Sportsbook, with the over-under set at 202.5. Before making any Heat vs. Celtics picks or NBA predictions, you need to see what SportsLine expert Zack Cimini has to say.
A Las Vegas handicapper who's never afraid to buck conventional wisdom, Cimini excels in multiple sports. Over the past 34 NBA picks, Cimini is 23-11, returning almost $1,100 to $100 players. He is also on an amazing 36-16-1 run with his last 53 against-the-spread picks involving the Celtics, returning $1,748 to $100 players.
Now, Cimini has set his sights on Celtics vs. Heat, and just locked in his picks and NBA playoff predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see his picks. Here are several NBA odds and betting lines for Heat vs. Celtics:
- Celtics vs. Heat spread: Celtics -8.5
- Celtics vs. Heat over-under: 202.5 points
- Celtics vs. Heat money line: Celtics -380, Heat +300
- Celtics vs. Heat tickets: See tickets at StubHub
- BOS: The Celtics are 11-5 against the spread in playoff games
- MIA: The Heat are 9-7 against the spread in playoff games
Why the Celtics can cover
Miami has not been able to overcome its injury issues over the last few games. The Heat were in control of this series after taking a 2-1 lead, but they have struggled to compete since then. Star forward Jimmy Butler has been held under 15 points in each of his last three games.
Meanwhile, Boston continues to keep its foot on the gas pedal, which bodes well for its chances to cover a large spread on Friday. The Celtics have now covered the number in 15 of their last 20 games. They dominated Milwaukee in the closeout game last round, and they should be able to do the same in Game 6 of this series.
Why the Heat can cover
Miami projects as a desperate team in Game 6, and the Heat do have strong metrics to lean on in this matchup. Miami has an elite offensive rebound rate of 30.8 percent in the playoffs, and the Heat are committing only 11.6 turnovers per game in the series against Boston. In the regular season, the Heat also led the NBA in 3-point accuracy at 37.9 percent, and they are likely due for positive regression after two games of substandard perimeter shooting.
On defense, Miami is elite, dating back to a top-four mark in overall defensive efficiency during the regular season. The Heat led the NBA in points allowed in the paint and, in the series, Miami has been even better in limiting Boston to only 37.2 points per game in the paint. The Heat are also opportunistic, forcing a turnover on 16.1 percent of defensive possessions against the Celtics and averaging 8.8 steals per game in the series. Miami is also a stout defensive rebounding team, with opponents securing fewer than 26 percent of missed shots.
How to make Heat vs. Celtics picks
For Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, Cimini is leaning over on the point total, but he also says a critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back. He's only sharing what it is, and which side of the Heat vs. Celtics spread to back, at SportsLine.
So who wins Celtics vs. Heat? And which side of the spread is a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Heat vs. Celtics spread you need to jump on Friday, all from the expert that has crushed his NBA picks, and find out.