It’s essentially a must-win situation tonight for the Boston Celtics: A loss tonight, and they’d have to run the table against a Heat team that has proven it can compete with or without Jimmy Butler.
Speaking of Butler, he’s one of the key players in this series who is currently dealing with a nagging injury. With no one currently listed as doubtful on the injury report, it appears as if both of these teams will be at what counts as relatively full strength tonight. Can the Celtics cover the spread and tie the series up? Or will the Heat continue their exceptional – if somewhat, improbable – postseason run?
Miami Heat at Boston Celtics
The Bet: Celtics -6.5/-110 (BetMGM)
The Bet: Over 208.5/-110 (BetMGM)
Fresh off of a 109-103 defeat at the hands of the Miami Heat on Saturday night, you may be surprised to see that the Celtics are a healthy 6.5-point favorite tonight. That line is largely due to the fact that Boston is perfect this postseason in games immediately following a loss (4-0), and a defeat tonight would send them back to South Beach facing a nearly insurmountable 3-1 deficit.
The momentum should swing back towards the Celtics now that they’ve realized that Daniel Theis is not much of a deterrent for Heat center Bam Adebayo. In addition, Jimmy Butler (knee) and Tyler Herro (quad) are both set to suit up tonight, but the pair are likely to be slowed by injuries they suffered in Game 3. Boston is 11-4-1 ATS in their last 16 games when their opponents have given up 100 points or more in the previous game.
We also won’t likely see Boston turn the ball over 24 times on Monday: Before this weekend’s debacle, the Celtics were averaging just 13.2 TO’s per game during the playoffs. Given that Boston was able to erase a 25-point deficit on Saturday despite their wildly uneven play, Ime Udoka’s squad should be able to cover the spread under more typical circumstances.
The over is 3-0 in this series so far, and it looks like that streak will continue tonight. In their four games following a loss this postseason, Boston has scored an average of 115 points per game. In the Celtics’ last seven games following a 100-point performance, the over is 5-2.