Just like they did in the second round of the 2023 NBA playoffs, the Boston Celtics lost at home, as the heavy favorite, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. They are now on the verge of abject disaster entering Game 2 against the Miami Heat, the full details for which you can see below:
- What: Celtics vs. Heat Game 2
- Date: Friday, May 19
- Time: 8:30 p.m. EST
- Where: TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts
- Series Score: Miami leads Boston, 1-0
The outcome of Game 1 took many by surprise. The 2023 NBA playoff betting odds entering Wednesday night had the Celtics as eight-point favorites. Boston instead ended up losing by seven. Anyone fortunate enough to bet on the Heat's moneyline—which, sadly, did not include us—received a payout of nearly 3-to-1.
Perhaps you think the result from Game 1 has soured oddsmakers' impressions of the Celtics. That's a reasonable assumption to make. It's also incorrect. The Celtics still have better odds to win the 2023 NBA Finals than the Heat, which means they remain heavily favored to win the series. This includes Game 2, as you can see here:
Please remember to double-check these NBA online betting odds until you actually submit your wager. Our Celtics vs. Heat Game 2 betting odds are accurate as of Wednesday, May 17. Linemakers are bound to make changes prior to the opening tip on Friday, May 19, at 8:30 p.m. EST.
To remain up to date on the latest online NBA betting odds, we strongly recommend wagering with only the most trustworthy sites. That's where our reviews of the best online sportsbooks can help. We've jotted down all the information you need to identify the best online NBA betting sites in 2023.
And now, we return to the question at hand: Can the Celtics make good on their status as heavy favorites for Game 2? Or are the Heat about to pull off another upset?
The Celtics Have Responded Well to Losses All Throughout the Postseason
Boston has lost four games at home during the playoffs, which is a little wild for the East's No. 2 seed. Still, the Celtics have followed each of their past three home losses with a victory in the very next game. We trust them to follow that trend in Game 2.
Sure, you're free to read into Game 1's loss. We're doing the same. And our verdict is they probably won't struggle as much in the second half Friday night.
Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Al Horford won't combine to shoot 3-of-14 from deep every game. Similarly, the Heat won't make over 50 percent of their own triples as a team (16-of-31) each night. It actually bodes well for the Celtics that they lost the three-point battle (minus-six total points) and still at one point held a double-digit lead.
Make no mistake, Boston needs to roll out some adjustments. After busting through Miami's defense to dominate the interior battle in the first half of Game 1, they came crashing down to solid ground in the final two quarters. Breaking through the Heat's zone is tough with a non-spacer on the floor, which likely necessitates playing smaller and without Robert Williams III for longer stretches.
We should also expect the Celtics to more actively seek out Tatum later in games. He scored zero points in the fourth quarter of Game 1. Credit the Heat with tethering Jimmy Butler or Bam Adebayo to his hip so they could switch every pick-and-roll, but Tatum is too important for Boston to use as a decoy in crunch time. And if that doesn't do it for you, we refer you back to one of our initial points: It's unlikely Miami shoots this well from downtown again.
OSB Prediction: Boston Celtics (-390)
Will Game 2 Between Boston and Miami be as Close as Game 1
Oddsmakers clearly have no bones about assuming that Boston will turn in a decisive Game 2 victory. Just look at the latest NBA point spread betting odds for Celtics vs. Heat:
- Boston Celtics, -9 (-110)
- Miami Heat, +9 (-110)
Following a loss at home in the playoffs, the Celtics have won the next game by an average of 13 points. That lends merit to this nine-point spread.
Then again, that range is buoyed by the 121-87 thrashing they delivered the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 2 of the previous, when the latter was fielding an exhausted James Harden and a rusty Joel Embiid. Both of Boston's other wins following home losses came by single digits.
It's easy to talk yourself into the Celtics covering. Their three-point volume alone can create incredibly large point differentials. But the Heat have played more close games in the NBA than pretty much anyone. We're going to assume their penchant for remaining within striking distance persists.
OSB Prediction: Miami Heat, +9 (-110)
Expect the Celtics and Heat to Continue Piling on the Points
The Heat and Celtics comfortably cleared the "over" in Game 1, combining for 237 points. That would usually prompt a more aggressive projection for Game 2. But that's not the case this time around. Here are the latest NBA over/under betting odds for Heat vs. Celtics Game 2:
- Over 215.5 (-110)
- Under 215.5 (-110)
Defensive adjustments will be front and center in Game 2. That could deflate the final score from Game 1's 237-point apex. The same goes for Miami's scorching-hot clip from beyond the arc. They won't score nearly as much if they're not raining threes.
And yet, both the Heat and Celtics are committed to jacking up threes, capitalizing on transition opportunities and just generally getting into their early offense. The last point is important. Even when the Celtics and Heat aren't playing particularly fast, they're not always playing slow—especially against one another. Those stylistic leanings ensure extra possessions. And extra possessions usually translate to higher final scores.
OSB Prediction: 215.5 (-110)
Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one works for all of your NBA playoffs betting: