Heat vs Celtics Game 1 Prediction & Best Bets: Can Miami Compete Without Butler? | Betting News

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For the fourth time in five seasons, the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics are meeting in the NBA playoffs. This time, however, the Heat will be without Jimmy Butler, who is set to miss the entire series. Will Boston breeze through to the second round? They are heavily favored in the series and for today’s opener (1:00 pm ET, ABC), which will kick off a busy Sunday of postseason action.

In the regular season, the Celtics (64-18) were far and away the league’s best team. They were the only team with 60 wins, and they posted the league’s best home record at 37-4.

If they reach the NBA Finals for the second time in three seasons, they will have homecourt advantage over the Western Conference champions. But will they get there?

Since 2017, the Celtics have made the Eastern Conference finals five times in seven tries, but their lone trip to the NBA Finals came in 2022, when they lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games.

Last season, they were favored for a return trip to the Finals. But the Heat, as the #8 seed in the East, took out a 57-win Boston team in seven games, winning three times at TD Garden to do so. It was the second time in four seasons that the Heat knocked off the higher-seeded Celtics in the conference finals, following their 2020 win in the Disney bubble.

With those playoff disappointments casting a large cloud, there is a lot of pressure on the Celtics to finally translate their prodigious talent and years of regular season success into a championship.

Will they begin their pursuit of a title with a convincing victory? Or will Butler’s absence prove to be irrelevant for the Heat? Read on for a prediction and best bets for Game 1.

Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics Odds

Odds are courtesy of BetOnline, a longtime fixture among the top online sports betting sites. Check out our BetOnline sportsbook review, then bag a big bonus (100% if your first deposit is with Bitcoin, Ethereum, or another cryptocurrency) to bet on today’s NBA playoff action.


  • Miami Heat +14.5 (-115)
  • Boston Celtics -14.5 (-105)


  • Over 210 (-110)
  • Under 210 (-110)


  • Miami Heat +725
  • Boston Celtics -1150

Get free and reliable moneyline, spread, and over/under consensus picks for every NBA matchup, including this one, from our NBA picks page.

Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics Prediction and Best Bets

If there is one thing that recent history has taught us about the Heat, it’s to not write them off, no matter the circumstances.

Even after losing Butler, Miami was in position to win Tuesday’s play-in matchup in Philadelphia. However, the 76ers pulled out the win with some clutch plays and shots down the stretch.

That sent the Heat to another winner-take-all matchup with the Chicago Bulls. Last year, the Heat needed a fourth-quarter comeback to see off the Bulls, with Butler’s heroics (and 31 points) playing a big role. This year, they dispatched the Bulls with ease, with Tyler Herro’s near triple-double (24 points, ten rebounds, nine assists) leading the way in a 112-91 rout.

So, if you feel Butler’s absence makes the Heat less likely to push the Celtics, you might want to recalibrate those thoughts.

Sure, they could be cast aside as easily as they did Chicago. But this isn’t Miami’s first or second rodeo.

I do think that lessons learned from previous upsets will help Boston in this series, but they won’t sweep.

However, I do expect the Celtics to win their home games, including this one.

All that said, this is a huge spread (and would be even in the NFL), and the Heat are 17-9 ATS (65.4%) as a road underdog this season. That puts them second to the New Orleans Pelicans (14-5-1, 73.7%) in percentage.

For the season, the Celtics are 29-3 SU and 16-13-3 ATS when favored by double digits, though they are just 2-4-2 ATS in their last eight such games.

If you wish to take Celtics ML as part of a parlay, you should be safe. But even without Butler, I like the Heat’s chances to cover the spread this afternoon.

Heat vs Celtics Prediction: Celtics to win

Heat vs Celtics Best Bets: Heat +14.5 & Tyler Herro over 34.5 points + rebounds + assists (-110 at BetOnline)

Other NBA Playoffs Betting Information

Where to Bet on the NBA Playoffs

Many of the top online sportsbooks offer a wide variety of NBA betting odds throughout the season.

In addition to being able to bet on 2024 NBA championship odds, you can make daily NBA picks on odds for every game all season long, including NBA playoffs odds.

Also, you can bet on the All-Star Game, NBA Draft odds, and the major awards like NBA MVPNBA Rookie of the Year, and more at most reputable sports betting sites.

There are plenty of sports betting sites you can choose from that are good for NBA betting. In addition to BetOnline, here are several books that we have reviewed and highly recommend:

If you don’t have an account at a book on this list, check out our reviews to help you determine if it is worth your interest and your betting funds.

Looking to tail the Herro prop pick? Bovada is one of the best sports betting sites for NBA player props, as they offer a plethora of prop markets for every game on the schedule. They also have a hefty welcome bonus for cryptocurrency users (75% up to $750).

Interested in Learning More About NBA Betting?

Looking to learn more about the ins and outs of betting on the NBA? Check out our NBA betting guide. Also, if you’d like to learn more about NBA player prop bets, check out our NBA player props guide.

Did you enjoy this Heat vs Celtics betting breakdown? The postseason is here, and we will have plenty of content dedicated to the NBA postseason. So, bookmark the site so you don’t miss out on any of what is in store.

Also, follow Betting News on X/Twitter, Twitch, and TikTok to get more NBA playoffs betting insight from myself and the rest of our team.

BetOnline is running a $10,000 NBA playoff bracket contest, which will award $500 to the winner. Don’t miss out on your chance to cop some extra cash. Entries are open until tomorrow night (Monday, April 22) at 7:00 pm ET.

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