Heat at Celtics Picks and NBA Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 3/18/2013
The Miami Heat have a chance to make some history on Monday night in Boston. They are currently tied with the 2007-08 Houston Rockets for the longest winning streak since the NBA/ABA merger after having gone 22 games without a loss. They can take sole possession of the record with this win here. Boston, meanwhile, is the team that ended Houston’s streak, and they’ll be looking to play spoiler again. The record ultimately doesn’t mean a whole lot — whether they win or lose their coming games we know that the Heat are by far the class of the Eastern Conference and the prohibitive favorites to represent the conference in the NBA Finals. It’s an accomplishment that could provide a real confidence boost for the team, though — not that they are really short of swagger.
Heat at Celtics Betting Storylines
The Celtics have long had to perform without Rajon Rondo, and it has gone remarkably well for them — they are 16-6 without their point guard. Now they could be without their biggest star. Kevin Garnett is nursing a groin injury that could have him out of this game — or at the very least limited. I think he’ll be out, but then I thought that Kobe Bryant would be out against the Pacers on Friday with his ankle injury, so what do I know? Garnett played very well the last time these teams met — he had 24 points and 11 rebounds when his team beat the Heat on Jan. 27 — Miami’s second to last loss. The team is 2-0 without Garnett this year, though, so there is some hope. Those two wins have come against Charlotte on Saturday and at Phoenix earlier in the year, though, so this is just a slight step up in class.
The Heat didn’t exactly break a sweat on Sunday afternoon in their win in Toronto. There was a strange and somewhat concerning stat that emerged from that game, though. The Heat won by 17, but they were badly outrebounded — 47-23 — on the day. Some of that is because Miami shot the lights out while Toronto couldn’t have put the ball in the hoop if they were hovering inches above it — you can’t get a rebound if you score a basket. Still, it’s not the first time they have outshot their opponents, so it’s a somewhat concerning trend — at least in the sense that we need to find something mortal about this team.
You can only sort of consider this a back-to-back situation for the Heat. They are playing their second game in two days, but yesterday’s game in Toronto was early afternoon, and the travel is easy, so they have had ample rest here. Still, even if they are less than completely rested, it is hardly a concern for the team — they have previously played back-to-back games 10 times this season, and they have won the second game nine times. That’s better than their overall win percentage, so you could even argue that they are better on short rest than they are in general.
This one has the chance to be a defensive contest. The Heat are a Top 10 defensive squad by most measures, and they are currently riding a 10-game streak of games in which they have held their opponents to less than 100 points. The Celtics are a better defensive team by most statistical measures.
Heat at Celtics NBA Odds and Betting Trends
BookMaker has opened the Heat as four-point favorites with the total at 189.
The Celtics have won their last 10 regular season home games against the Heat. Boston is 10-1 ATS in their last 11 at home. Miami is 8-1 ATS in their last nine road games. Despite the defensive strength of both teams, seven of the last eight meetings have gone over the total.
Heat at Celtics Picks and Betting Predictions
I like and respect the Celtics, but I just can’t take them here. Miami is playing so well right now, and they are very comfortable on short rest. LeBron James is playing very special basketball — he just recorded a career-high 32nd double-double on the season. Garnett’s loss will be felt — or his limited effectiveness if he can go. Miami just has too many weapons. The Heat are the play.
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