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Miami Heat at Boston Celtics Game 3 odds, picks and predictions

USA Today Sportsbookwire

The No. 1 seed Miami Heat stop by the TD Garden to face the No. 2 seed Boston Celtics Saturday for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC) with the best-of-7 series tied 1-1. Below, we look at the Heat vs. Celtics odds and lines, and make our expert NBA picks, predictions and bets.

Boston evened the series by blasting Miami 127-102 Thursday in Game 2. The Celtics went into halftime with a 25-point lead, which they held by outperforming the Heat in three of the "four factors."

Celtics SF Jayson Tatum scored a team-high 27 points, while PG Marcus Smart and SG Jaylen Brown chipped in 24 apiece. Tatum and Brown shot a combined 56.7% from the field (17 of 30) and Smart nearly put up a triple-double in his series debut, finishing with 12 assists and 9 rebounds.

Miami SF Jimmy Butler was sensational again in Game 3, scoring 29 points on 61.1% shooting (11 of 18), but no other Heat player scored more than 14 points.

Heat at Celtics odds and lines

Odds provided by Tipico Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports Scores and Sports Betting Odds hub for a full list. Lines last updated at 2:19 p.m. ET.

  • Money line (ML): Heat +190 (bet $100 to win $190) | Celtics -240 (bet $240 to win $100)
  • Against the spread: Heat +5.5 (-107) | Celtics -5.5 (-115)
  • Over/Under: 207.5 (O: -115 | U: -107)

Heat at Celtics key injuries

Heat

  • PG Kyle Lowry (hamstring) questionable
  • SG Max Strus (hamstring) questionable
  • PF P.J. Tucker (knee) questionable
  • PG Gabe Vincent (hamstring) questionable

Celtics

  • C Robert Williams III (knee) questionable

Heat at Celtics picks and predictions

Prediction

Celtics 105, Heat 101

Money line

PASS with a heavy "lean" to the Heat (+190) because I like their spread and generally will "sprinkle" on an underdog's ML when betting them to cover.

But Butler didn't get much support from teammates when this series was in Miami and role players typically perform better at home in the playoffs.

Also, the Heat's ML will get juicier if Tucker and/or Lowry cannot suit up for Game 3, but Miami's defense vs. Boston's All-Star wings will be a question mark without Tucker.

PASS.

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Against the spread

BETHEAT +5.5 (-107) because there's a "Pros vs. Joe's" scenario in the betting market and Miami has been profitable following losses and as road underdogs this season.

According to Tipico Sportsbook, more money is on the Heat, but 61% of the bets placed are on the Celtics -5.5 (-115). Since professional bettors put up more dough than the average Joe, the cash column of the betting splits is considered the sharp side of the market.

Also, Miami is 20-11-1 ATS following a loss, 14-7 ATS with an NBA-best plus-6.0 ATS margin, 16-10 ATS on the road vs. teams with a winning record and 11-6 ATS as a 5-to-7.5-point underdog.

Meanwhile, the Celtics are 19-24-1 ATS as home favorites and 14-12-1 ATS at home vs. winning teams.

BETHEAT +5.5 (-107).

Over/Under

Slight LEAN to the UNDER 207.5 (-107).

There's reverse-line movement headed south of the total, both teams played at a bottom third of the NBA in pace during the regular season and this series is playing at a slower pace than their regular-season tempos.

Also, nearly 70% of the bets placed are on the Over 207.5 (-115), according to Pregame.com, but the total has been lowered down from the 208.5-point opener.

This type of suspicious line movement leads me to believe that the oddsmakers would like more pro-Over money. If anything, go the other way.

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