The Eastern Conference Finals are upon us and Game 1 will take place on May 17th at 830PM EST when the Boston Celtics host the Cinderella story of these playoffs, the No. 8 seed Miami Heat. The series will pit two of the playoffs top performers, Boston’s Jayson Tatum and Miami’s Jimmy Butler, up against each other in what should be an exciting and lengthy series. Unsurprisingly, the higher-seeded Celtics are the massive moneyline favorites playing at home in Boston for most NBA betting sites and betting apps.
Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat Game 1 NBA Playoff Odds
- Jimmy Butler is 3rd in the postseason with 31.1 points per game
- The two teams split their regular season series 2-2
- Boston’s Jayson Tatum set an NBA Game 7 record with 51 points his last time out
Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat Game 1 NBA Odds - May 17th, 830PM EST
The Boston Celtics have made it to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight year, but they have arguably been the most erratic team throughout these playoffs. They’re just 4-3 at home during the postseason, while the Miami Heat have gone an impressive 3-3 on the road. All odds provided by Betway.
Boston Celtics Odds
Jayson Tatum proved all of the doubters wrong when he poured in an NBA record 51 points in Game 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday afternoon. He was due for a full game effort, as he had been starting very slowly over the previous three games, two of which were losses. Tatum needs to find a way to be more consistent throughout the full 48 minutes on Wednesday night.
Speaking of inconsistency, the Celtics as a whole also need to get their house in order, as they have gone just 11-10 at TD Garden over the past two postseasons. If they even give Jimmy Butler and the Heat a sniff of home court advantage, it will be tough to win the series—as the No. 5 seeded Knicks and No. 1 seeded Bucks learned after both lost Game 1 to Miami in the previous two rounds.
The Celtics have arrived here thanks in large part to a ridiculously efficient shooting streak from three point range. They lead the playoffs with a 39.5 clip from downtown and have hit the second most per game so far as well (15.4). That means that they’re shooting with a high volume while maintaining efficiency, which is a rare sight.
It will be interesting to see how the athletes the Heat have on the perimeter will fare in attempting to defend Boston’s sharpshooters. Another intriguing point in this series will be regarding who Butler decides to match up with on the defensive end. Doubtless it will be either Tatum or Jaylen Brown, so whichever one Butler isn’t defending will need to take big-time advantage of their matchup.
Veteran center Al Horford could be an x-factor in this series as well. His shooting stroke has been on more often than not, which will be huge for spacing the floor and keeping an elite defender like Bam Adebayo out of the paint so as to allow his comrades to get to the basket unmolested.
Horford also frustrated MVP Joel Embiid to no end in their previous series, so Boston will be hoping he can stay locked in on defense against Adebayo, who started off the playoffs very quietly but has started to find his offensive groove more recently.
Miami Heat Odds
The Miami Heat went to the Eastern Conference Finals last season as the top seed in the East, and there were not many expecting them to get there again as the No. 8 seed, but that’s exactly what they’ve done. The fact that they’ve done it without a 20-point per game scorer in Tyler Herro, who was lost in Game 1 of the first round with a broken wrist, makes it all the more impressive.
While the Celtics aren’t quite as top heavy as the Phoenix Suns, there are some parallels between the two, as Boston’s top two guys (Brown and Tatum) will need to carry them nearly every game for them to get wins. The Heat, meanwhile, have been getting production from top to bottom, putting up 34.4 bench points per game, good for third in these playoffs.
The Heat have six different guys who are scoring 10+ points per game this postseason, which makes it a lot harder for teams to double-up on Jimmy Butler, who has been scoring 31.1 points per game on 53 percent from the field. He’s definitely someone you want to double from time to time, but snipers like Max Strus, Duncan Robinson, Gabe Vincent, and Caleb Martin make that nearly impossible.
Miami has also been pretty solid when it comes to defending the three-point line, allowing opponents to shoot just 33.8 percent from long range. If Boston can’t hit threes, they’re going to be very static offensively, so there’s no doubt that a tactical wiz like Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra will have cooked up something to limit quality three-point looks dramatically.
Alex is a recent graduate of Ryerson's Sport Media program in 2019 and has been contributing to BettingTop10 since 2020. He has worked in the field of sports and sports betting for several years, including stops writing for theScore and daily fantasy sports website FantasyPros as one of the lead NBA news writers. A dedicated sports fan and experienced sports bettor, Alex has the knowledge to provide you with the best betting advice and the sneakiest props no matter what the sport may be.