The NBA Playoffs field has been whittled down to four teams with the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat set to butt heads in what has the makings of an Eastern Conference slugfest. Here, we look at player props and same-game parlays offered around the sports betting market for Celtics vs. Heat Game 1.
Whoever demonstrates the chops to survive what will be a rugged, hard-nosed series will fully earn a trip to the NBA Finals. Budding superstars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are the leading forces in Celtic green. Tatum will be fixed squarely in the Heat’s crosshairs defensively, placing extra pressure — and opportunity — onto the shoulders of Brown.
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The Heat, meanwhile, have been carried offensively by Jimmy Butler, who leads a core that eliminated the Celtics in the East Finals in the bubble in 2020. Both the Celtics and Heat finished top five in defensive rating during this past regular season, so bettors shouldn’t be surprised if we’re treated to a couple of “vintage” 1990s performances in which both teams finish with scores in the 90s.
Boston Celtics vs Miami Heat Game 1 Odds
Celtics vs. Heat Game 1 Props
Tyler Herro Under 18.5 Combined Points, Rebounds (-105, DraftKings)
Herro, the 2021-22 Sixth Man of the Year, is one of the better rebounding guards in the game. However, we like the ‘under’ on this points + rebounds prop for a couple of reasons.
The first has to do with the Celtics and their suffocating defense. For as good as the Heat have been, they aren’t exactly stocked with multiple explosive scoring threats. Jimmy Butler (28.7 PPG in the postseason) leads the way, and Bam Adebayo (14.6) is No. 2. Herro ranks third on the team during the playoffs with a 13.8-point scoring average. The C’s will make things as difficult and uncomfortable for Herro throughout the series, making it especially challenging for him to put the ball in the hoop with his typical frequency and efficiency.
Secondly, it’s no lock that Herro logs 30 minutes in Game 1. He remained under that minute mark in six of the Heat’s 11 postseason games so far. While recording a combined 19 across the points and rebounds categories isn’t the most daunting task, we’re leaning ‘under’ for Herro on the road in the series’ opening stanza.
Marcus Smart to record 2-plus steals (+136, FanDuel)
We’re not failing to appreciate the difficulty of recording two-plus steals, particularly at this stage of the playoffs. However, we’re betting on a few factors as it pertains to the ‘over’ in this case. For starters, Smart is the 2021-22 Defensive Player of the Year. He earned the award for more than his ability to record steals, but he averaged 1.7 in the regular season and 1.1 in the postseason thus far. While his playoff pilfer rate is significantly more modest, he did record a pair of steals in each of the previous two series openers. If there’s a game in which the Heat may lack a bit of sharpness, it’ll be Game 1 as they’re adjusting to a new opponent and still without starting point guard Kyle Lowry.
East Finals Game 1 Same-Game Parlay (DraftKings)
Jayson Tatum Under 28.5 (-120) plus Jaylen Brown Over 23.5 (+100)
It’s not unreasonable to expect the Heat’s series game plan to include “cutting the head off the snake”. The head of that proverbial snake is Jayson Tatum, who has averaged a team-best 28.3 points on a team-high 21.4 shots these playoffs. He also leads the team with a 31.1 percent usage rate.
Slowing down a player of Tatum’s caliber is a series-long process. Fans and bettors shouldn’t expect the Heat, as well-drilled as they are defensively, to stonewall Tatum. However, if the defensive focus forces the ball out of his hands on a few more possessions, and if they can increase the overall degree of difficulty on his shot attempts, an ‘under’ is reasonable in spite of a relatively modest total of 28.5.
If Tatum is compelled to surrender the rock, Brown is going to be asked to pick up the slack and do his share of the heavy lifting. That’s something Brown is capable of delivering. Brown averaged “only” 22.0 points in Boston’s seven-game series victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, but that was Tatum’s stage on which to shine. Brown will have his opportunities if the Heat do everything in their power to slow Tatum.