The 2020 NBA Playoffs betting continues Thursday night with Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics. The fourth-seeded Heat pulled off an upset in a thrilling opener this past Tuesday, and we expect to see another super exciting battle in the second game of the series.
Therefore, we have prepared all need-to-know betting tips and trends along with our best betting pick for Thursday’s clash between the Heat and Celtics.
Miami is coming in full strength, while Boston is without Gordon Hayward and Vincent Poirier. Hayward was listed as doubtful for Game 1, and the Celtics expect him to return at some point, but the 30-year-old wing will probably remain on the sidelines Thursday.
The Celtics are 2-point favorites on BetAmerica at the moment. Their moneyline odds sit at -135, while the Heat are +120 underdogs to win straight up. The totals are set at 208.5 points with both over and under at -110 odds.
The Heat won the opener 117-114 in overtime, playing as 2-point dogs with a total of 209.5 points. The over hit in regulation, too, as teams combined for 212 points.
What’s at Stake?
Tuesday’s game showed us how tight this matchup should be. Nothing will be lost for the Celtics if they suffer another defeat, but it’s never nice to be two games down in the best-of-seven set.
The Heat trailed by 14 points with 11:25 to go in the fourth quarter, so winning the game in overtime was a massive boost for their confidence. Miami is now 9-1 SU and ATS in 10 outings this postseason which is an impressive record.
Furthermore, the Heat eliminated the mighty Bucks in the previous round. However, the Celtics beat the reigning champs in seven games in the semifinals, so this Boston team will now how to deal with ups and downs.
That being said, the Celtics had a lot of ups and downs last Tuesday. They allowed 18 points in the first quarter and only 16 in the third, but the Heat scored 37 in the second and 35 in the fourth.
Boston shot 44.3% from the field and 35.7% from beyond the arc. That’s not too bad, considering the Heat’s tough defense, but the Celtics scored only 26 points in the paint, while Miami had 48.
The Heat executed well offensively when it mattered the most. They finished with 47.1% shooting from the field and 44.4% from downtown. Jae Crowder hit a big trey in overtime, and he was 5-for-9 from beyond the 3-point line.
Jimmy Butler scored the winning basket, while Bam Adebayo posted a monster block on Jayson Tatum to clinch the victory, but Crowder and Goran Dragic led the way for most of the night. Crowder had 22 points and five boards, while Dragic tallied 29 points, seven rebounds, and four assists while making 11 of his 19 field-goal attempts.
On the other side, Tatum had 30 points, 14 rebounds, and five dimes; Marcus Smart scored 26 points while shooting 6-for-13 from deep, and Kemba Walker added 19 points and six assists.
We saw a great defensive battle between two deep and talented teams, and Game 2 will bring more of the same. The Celtics will have to do a much better job down the stretch, as another tight finish is on a horizon.
The total has gone under in three of the previous five encounters between Miami and Boston along with a push. The under is 7-4 in Miami’s last 11 outings, and it is 8-2 in Boston’s previous 10 showings.
The opener went in the over, but I’m backing the under on the totals in Game 2, as both Heat and Celtics rely on tough D. The line at 208.5 points is a tricky one, especially if we get another close finish, but taking the under seems like the best option here.
I would also take the Celtics to win straight up at -135 odds. They are only 4-9 ATS in the last 13 meetings with Miami, but the Celtics won 13 of their previous 18 matchups with the Heat.