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Boston Celtics at Miami Heat Game 1 Betting Preview

The Boston Celtics just knocked out the defending champion Bucks in a grueling seven-game series that concluded on Sunday, and their reward is a visit to South Beach to face the well-rested Miami Heat.

The Heat have had the last four days off to nurse some bumps and bruises and now take the court at FTX Arena, where they are 35-12 on the year.

Boston has some momentum, but the Heat are the -2 point favorite for the series opener. Miami has won six straight conference finals appearances, while the Celtics have lost four straight trips to the ECF. Boston did win two of three during the regular season, but the playoffs are a whole different animal.

Toughest Test Behind Boston?

The Heat are definitely no slouch as the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference, but the Celtics have to feel good about getting past former MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the defending world champion Bucks.

Boston took every blow from Antetokounmpo, who averaged 33.9/14.7/7.1 and still advanced, even winning two of three games in Milwaukee’s last round.

While Antetokounmpo was the best player of the semifinals, Boston’s Jayson Tatum wasn’t far behind. Tatum averaged 27.6 points in the seven-game series, numbers that would be higher if not for a ten-point outing in Game 3 and ‘only’ 23 in the closeout game on Sunday as the Celtics were on a 28-point rout.

Heat Having Rest is Huge

Miami knocked out Philadelphia in six games last round, and it was huge that they didn’t go to 7 because it allowed the Heat to have the extra days off – crucial in the postseason.

Some would argue that the Heat caught a break with Joel Embiid missing the first two games of the semifinals and playing the rest of the way through a broken orbital bone in his face as well as a torn ligament in his thumb, but Miami can silence those doubters by dominating Boston.

The Heat have a huge coaching edge with Erik Spoelstra squaring off against first-year C’s coach Ime Udoka. Udoka held his own against defending champ Mike Budenholzer last round, but Spoelstra is a 2X champion who has taken the Heat to the Finals five teams.

It also never hurts to have Jimmy Butler (27.5 ppg last round) who can match – or exceed – Tatum on the stat sheet.

Celtics/Heat Betting Prediction

It wouldn’t be a complete shock if Boston came out a bit flat in this one, considering it’s a quick turnaround from the emotional Game 7 victory on Sunday.

The Heat could be a little rusty from a bit longer layoff than you’re used to in a playoff rhythm, but that downtime has also allowed guys like P.J. Tucker (calf), Max Strus (hamstring), and Gabe Vincent (hamstring) to get treatment on some nagging injuries.

Boston has the capability to steal one in South Beach over the course of this series, but getting it in Game 1 is a tough order.

Betting Pick: Heat -2

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