Celtics vs. Heat Game 3 prediction: NBA playoffs odds, picks best bets

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It didn’t take long for the Miami Heat to dash hopes of longshot future bettors cashing their tickets for the Boston Celtics to win every game in the NBA playoffs.

Miami won Game 2 by double digits despite being without its best player and leader, Jimmy Butler. 

How shocking was that win? The last time a 14-point underdog won a playoff game by double digits was 30 years ago. 

The Heat also set a franchise record for most 3-pointers made in a playoff game during their heroic Game 2 effort, knocking down 23 treys.

With series headed to South Beach, will we get another high-octane game between the Butler-less Heat and Celtics? Or will this one be a revenge game for Boston that is over before it starts?

Celtics vs. Heat odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Celtics -9.5 (-108) -420 o202.5 (-110)
Heat +9.5 (-112) +330 u202.5 (-110)
Odds via FanDuel

Celtics vs. Heat prediction

(6:00 p.m. ET, TNT)

Boston is a near double-digit favorite in Game 3 despite Miami dominating the last bout in Boston. Does that line make sense in this spot?

The Game 2 spread of 14 points felt like an overreaction to Game 1’s blowout.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is one of the best game-to-game adjusters in the NBA and knows how to change up his schemes on both ends of the floor to throw off opponents.


Erik Spoelstra made key adjustments from Game 1 to Game 2 that allowed the Heat to tie the series with Boston. Getty Images

The Heat’s play in Game 2 was essentially perfect. They hit an astonishing 23 of their 43 3-point attempts (53.5%). Don’t expect Miami to hit that percentage again.

Still, the Celtics did allow the sixth-most wide-open 3s (6-plus feet) this season, and it would not be surprising if the Heat continue to hoist from beyond the arc whenever Bam Adebayo doesn’t have the ball in isolation situations.

Joe Mazzulla’s analysis of their closeouts in Game 2 is also a bit concerning.

The Celtics coach indicated that most of Miami’s 3-point makes were “moderately to heavily contested,” which is not what the analytics show. 


Betting on the NBA?


Per NBA.com, 37 of Miami’s 43 3-pointers were classified as “open” or “wide-open,” which means those attempts had poor closeouts.

If the Celtics don’t funnel shooters inside the arc, Miami could shoot a high percentage from deep again.

This line feels much more appropriate. I lean toward the Heat at +9.5, but this could be a revenge spot for Boston. 

Pick: Miami Heat +9.5 (-110, ESPN Bet)

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