With the 2021-22 NBA regular season now in the books, the basketball betting market is hotter than ever. CBS Sports will be providing daily picks for the duration of the postseason. Sam Quinn will make at least one pick for every game between now and the NBA Finals. All lines courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
The Celtics have lost four games this postseason. They won the four games that followed those four losses by a combined 69 points. They haven't lost consecutive games that Jayson Tatum played in since January. Boston's resilience has been proven time and time again this postseason. This spread makes me a bit nervous considering how little we know about the health on both sides, but we've just seen the Celtics escape deficits too many times this postseason to doubt them anymore. Miami, on the other hand, hasn't always had the easiest time putting opponents away. Philadelphia managed to tie their second-round series at two games apiece after falling down 2-0. Even the Hawks had a bit of fight in them later in the first round, though Miami was dealing with multiple injuries. Even if you think the Heat are going to win this series, you should probably expect them to do so with their two remaining home games. Given their desperation, Boston should be favored in this one. The pick: Celtics -6.5
The story from Game 3 was all of the points Miami scored off of Boston's turnovers, and yes, every one of those points was needed for the Heat to win, but what has been drastically understated in the process is how well these teams are scoring in the half court relative to our expectations. Miami's half-court offense was a question mark all season, and Boston's ball-handling limitations have been an issue all postseason. Yet the Heat are scoring .98 points per play in the half court against Boston, and the Celtics have been even better at 1.028. That Miami figure would've ranked fifth in the NBA during the regular season, and Boston would be first. There have been stretches of unsustainable shooting, but Miami is making just 32 percent of its 3's in the series, and even after sinking 20 in Game 2, Boston has hit only around 40 percent. It's starting to feel like these teams are just going to have an easier time offensively than we expected coming into this matchup. That might be because of injuries, but for now, offense is the play. The pick: Over 207.5
I am so tempted to pick Jimmy Butler under 25.5 points just considering his knee injury, but knowing him the pain is only going to make him more powerful. Instead, I'm looking at Jaylen Brown, whose seven turnovers sullied an otherwise masterful Game 3 performance. The 40-point explosion probably wasn't sustainable, but Brown has taken between seven and nine 3's in each of the three games in this series. Given his misadventures as a ball-handler in Game 3, I'd imagine Boston emphasizes his spot-up skills in Game 4. On the volume of 3-point shots he's taken in this series, even a decent shooting game should hit the over here. The pick: Brown over 2.5 made 3's.