Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics Pick
Miami Heat (38-38 SU, 41-34-1 ATS) vs. Boston Celtics (45-32 SU, 35-40-2 ATS)
When: Monday, April 1st, 2019 – 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
By: Matt Lowry, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MIA +7 / BOS -7 (MyBookie Sportsbook)
Total: O/U 211.5
Last Time Out: Miami beat New York 100-92; Boston lost to Brooklyn 110-96
Scouting the Heat:
With just 6 games remaining for the Heat, they must win now, or they will be watching this year’s playoffs from home. Currently the Heat are merely a .500 team and therefore they are sitting as the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. If the season ended today, they would be facing the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, but unfortunately, they have other things to worry about right now. The Orlando Magic are hot on the heels of the Heat, sitting only half a game behind them. Meanwhile, the Heat are looking to improve their seeding to as high as 6th because they are just one game behind the Pistons and half a game behind the Brooklyn Nets for the 7th seed. This will obviously affect who they play in the first-round and with how good the Bucks are, the Heat will not want to finish 8th.
The Heat fought off a pesky Knicks team last time out. Miami shot the ball at 43.3% from the field and 28.1% from behind the arc. These numbers are obviously not great, but it was their rebounding that stepped up allowing them to put away the Knicks.
Scouting the Celtics:
The Celtics clinched a playoff spot awhile ago, which is great and all, but now they need to focus on protecting their 4th seed. Of course, this is because the top 4 seeds will receive home court advantage for at least the first round and Boston is a much better home team. As of right now, the Celtics are tied for the 4th-seed with the Indiana Pacers, so any slip up over the final week of the season could see them flip with the Pacers.
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The Celtics came out flat against the Nets, putting up just 96 in a blowout loss. Granted they are missing Al Horford and Kyrie Irving, but even then, this was a game they really needed to win. Now returning home, the Celtics will need a much more inspired performance if they are going to play a first round series in Boston.
Head to Head:
These teams have met twice so far, with each team having won once. Over the last 10 meetings overall, the home team has had a slight edge in this series, going 6-4. This includes both games this season as well, which were won by the home team.
Betting Trends to Consider:
Miami has been the one who has had the most success against the spread, covering in their last 4 meetings with Boston in a row. Another trend to note is when these teams meet, the underdog has gone 17-5 against the spread over the last 22 meetings. Also, while the home team has an edge in the straight up win department, it is the road team that is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 games.
Miami will Cover if:
They continue to have balanced scoring. The Heat do not have a “superstar” who can take over games like LeBron or Durant. That said, the Heat do an excellent job of moving the ball around and love to get everyone involved. In their most recent game with the Knicks, the Heat had five players with 10 points or more, which includes three starters and two bench players. Dion Waiters led the team with 28 points and shot 11 of 23 from the field. However, he only shot 6 of 16 from the three-point line, which needs to improve if the Heat are going to continue their late season run. Look for guys like Duncan Robinson to get more involved this last week and give Miami the boost they need to clinch a spot in the playoffs.
Boston will Cover if:
They are at full strength. I already mentioned that Irving and Horford were held out in the Celtics last game, but because these guys are so vital to the success of the Celtics, it is worth mentioning again. Without Irving and Horford, the Celtics leading scorer was Gordon Hayward, who came off the bench. With Irving back in the lineup, it gives the Celtics a legitimate scoring threat and a defender who can lock down D’Angelo Russell for the Nets. As for Horford, his return will provide both rebounding and a low post option for the rest of the team. Not to mention, Horford can keep a body on guys like Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo, and Hassan Whiteside.
Matt’s Pick to Cover the Spread:
MyBookie has the Celtics as 7-point favorite in this game and has the total set at 211.5. The Celtics are a very good home team, so I think they will win this game, but given the situation that the Heat are in, my pick is for the Heat to keep this game very close and even have a chance to win late.
Matt’s NBA Pick: Miami Heat +7
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