After the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics split the two games in Miami, the NBA Eastern Conference finals shift to Boston for Game 3 on Saturday evening in the 2022 NBA playoffs. Boston won Game 2 in decisive fashion, 127-102, easily covering as a one-point underdog in that one. It ended a three-game winning streak for Miami, who will now look to bounce back on the road, where the Heat have a 58 percent cover rate this year. Kyle Lowry (hamstring) and P.J. Tucker (hamstring) are the biggest injury concerns for Miami, while Boston added Robert Williams III (questionable, knee) to the injury report on Saturday.
Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m. ET at TD Garden. Caesars Sportsbook lists Boston as the six-point favorite in the latest Celtics vs. Heat odds. The over-under for total points is set at 208. Before making any Heat vs. Celtics picks or NBA playoff 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 32 NBA picks, Cimini is 21-11, returning $890 to $100 players. He is also on an amazing 32-16-1 run with his last 49 against-the-spread picks involving the Celtics, returning $1,448 to $100 players.
Now, Cimini has set his sights on Heat vs. Celtics, and just locked in his picks and NBA playoff predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see his picks. Now, here are several NBA odds and betting lines for Celtics vs. Heat:
- Heat vs. Celtics spread: Celtics -6
- Heat vs. Celtics over-under: 208 points
- Heat vs. Celtics money line: Celtics -270, Heat +220
- Heat vs. Celtics tickets: See tickets at StubHub
- MIA: The Heat are 8-5 against the spread in playoff games
- BOS: The Celtics are 9-4 against the spread in playoff games
Why the Heat can cover
Losses haven't fazed the Heat much in the NBA playoffs 2022. Game 2 was just the fourth setback for Miami this postseason, and the Heat bounced back from two of their first three losses with double-digit wins in their next game. Miami also has at least a chance to get Lowry back after he's missed the last four games with his hamstring injury, potentially giving Jimmy Butler some help in the backcourt.
Several of the betting trends work in Miami's favor as well. In addition to their stellar road cover rate, the Heat also covered 70 percent of the time this season as underdogs and 68 percent of the time as road underdogs. Boston hasn't been as good at home, covering 47 percent of the time this season at TD Garden.
Why the Celtics can cover
Boston is flying high on offense in the series, scoring more than 1.2 points per possession against Miami. The Celtics are using smaller lineups to provide spacing and perimeter shooting, with the Heat struggling to counter in Game 2. From there, Boston's defense is elite. The Celtics led the NBA in defensive rating (106.2), field goal percentage allowed (43.4 percent), 3-point percentage allowed (33.9 percent), 2-point percentage allowed (49.7 percent) and assists allowed (21.6 per game) during the regular season.
Boston also ranked in the top five in second-chance points allowed, blocked shots and points allowed in the paint in 2021-22, and the Celtics have tremendous defensive numbers in the playoffs. The Celtics are holding opponents to 106.7 points per 100 possessions in the postseason, with opponents shooting only 32.6 percent from 3-point range and 44.7 percent from the field. Boston is also blocking 6.1 shots per game, and the Celtics are allowing only 20.1 assists per contest in the first three rounds of the playoffs.
How to make Heat vs. Celtics picks
For Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Cimini is leaning under 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 Heat vs. Celtics? 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 Saturday, all from the expert who has crushed his NBA picks, and find out.