Celtics vs. Heat Game 3 Preview and Prediction
CELTICS VS. HEAT GAME 3 PREVIEW AND PREDICTION –Greetings and salutations basketball fans. Welcome back to our NBA playoffs coverage here at Godzilla Wins. Our Sunday game features the No. 2 seed Boston Celtics taking on the No. 8 seed Miami Heat.
Here is a look at which team has the edge and why heading into Game 3.
(2-0 SU in Series)
(0-2 SU in Series)
When: Sunday, May 21, 2023 at 8:30 PM ET
Where: FTX Arena, Miami FL
Public Money: Celtics, 59%
Public Bets: Celtics, 76%
Odds courtesy of DraftKings as of May 21, 2023
Odds courtesy of DraftKings as of May 20, 2023
How We Got Here
Although the Boston Celtics finished with the second-best record in the eastern conference, their postseason run has been, well, bumpy at times.
They needed six games to finish off the Atlanta Hawks in the opening round. And against a Philadelphia 76ers team that did not have much firepower outside of Joel Embiid and James Harden, it took seven games and a 51-point outing from Jayson Tatum in the series finale to get back to the conference finals.
Meanwhile, the narrative for the Miami Heat has been almost the exact opposite. They were dominated in their first play-in game against the Hawks. And they barely managed to get by the Chicago Bulls to capture the last playoff berth in the East.
But despite a season that has been marred with inconsistent play, the Heat eliminated the Milwaukee Bucks in five games. No small feat as the Bucks had the best record in the association at 58-24. Miami got by the Knicks in six games, setting up a rematch for the same two teams that met in the conference finals last year.
As Miami had done in their first two playoff series, it went on the road and stole the first game from the home team. The turning point was a pivotal third quarter in which Miami outscored Boston 46-25 on its way to a 123-116 victory.
The Butler Factor
Jimmy Butler – who has played remarkably well this postseason – paced the Heat with 35 points to go along with seven assists, six steals, and five boards. Bam Adebayo chipped in with 20 points and eight rebounds. Miami also got 15 points apiece from Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, Kyle Lowry, and Caleb Martin. On the strength of a balanced attack, the Heat shot an efficient 16-for-31 from beyond the arc.
While the Heat were happy to get the first game. But instead of being satisfied with another Game 1 road win, Miami defeated Boston again in Game 2 by a 111-105 margin. In the series opener, it was the third quarter that turned the game around for the Heat. But in Game 2, the definitive stretch was the final frame in which they outscored Boston 36-22.
Can the Heat take a commanding 3-0 lead in this conference finals rematch or will the Celtics finally break into the win column?
Here are my picks for Game 3.
The O/U total opened at 215. That line has moved to 214, with the over attracting 65 percent of the cash and 75 percent of the tickets.
The OVER total has hit for Boston seven times in the last nine games in which the team played on a Sunday.
The OVER is 10-3 for the Celtics in their last 13 games overall and 10-3 in the Celtics’ last 13 conference final games.
Boston has hit the OVER five times in the last seven instances in which it was playing against a team with a home winning percentage of .600 or better. Miami was 27-14 at home during the regular season – a winning percentage of .658.
Miami has hit on the Over total 20 times in its last 26 games after scoring 100 points in its previous outing. Miami scored 111 points in Game 2.
The OVER is 19-7 for the Heat in their last 26 games following an SU win. The OVER holds a 21-8 record for Miami in its last 29 games against teams that have a winning percentage of above .600. Boston won 57 games this season, which equates to a .695 winning percentage.
Prediction: Over 214 total points
The Celtics opened as a consensus one-point favorite. That line has moved to (-3). The disrespect towards the Heat continues.
Miami boasts an 8-2 mark against the spread in its last 10 games after scoring 100 points in their previous outing. The team scored 111 points in Game 2.
Miami is 9-2 ATS in the previous 11 times in which the team played on one day of rest. This squad is also 9-2 the last 11 times it faced an opponent with an overall winning record. Boston was 57-25 during the regular season.
The Heat are 7-2 ATS in the last nine instances in which the opposition surrendered 100 points or more in its previous outing. The Celtics gave up 111 points in Game 2. They hold an identical 7-2 record when their opponents scored more than 100 points in their previous outing.
Lastly, the Celtics are 0-4 ATS in the last four meetings between these two ball clubs.
Prediction: Miami Heat (+3)
Player Prop Bet
My key player to watch in Game 3 is Boston Celtics guard Jayson Tatum. He currently has -110 odds of scoring more than 30.5 points and -120 odds of scoring less than 30.5 points.
Tatum averaged 30.8 points per contest against the Heat in four regular season games and he has scored 30 and 34 points, respectively, through the first two games of this conference finals series.
Prediction: Jayson Tatum Over 30.5 points
Over/Under: Over 214 total points
The Spread: Miami Heat (+3)
PPB: Jayson Tatum OVER 30.5 points