It's been a while since the Boston Celtics played a quality opponent. That's about to change in a hurry.
The Celtics kick off a challenging stretch versus Eastern Conference playoff contenders Wednesday night when they host the Miami Heat at TD Garden.
The Heat are fresh off an overtime win over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday that lifted them past the Celtics into a tie for second place in the East at 15-5.
Boston, meanwhile, dispatched the New York Knicks on Sunday but is 4-4 in its last eight games after a hot start.
We also cooled down over the weekend with our betting predictions, but what better chance to warm back up than Celtics vs. Heat?
Here are our moneyline, point spread and point total predictions for Wednesday night, as well as two NBA locks against the spread.
(All odds provided by WestGate Superbook.)
Miami Heat at Boston Celtics, 7:30 p.m. ET
Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Heat, which tips off Wednesday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Tommy & Mike have the call at 7:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.
Moneyline: Here's a fun fact: The 15-5 Heat are 0-3 on the second night of a back-to-back this season, losing by an average margin of 16.3 points. They played in Toronto on Tuesday night. I'll take the rested Celtics (-275), who have been off since Sunday.
Point Spread: Back-to-back stats aside, I'm wary of giving the Celtics six points against a Heat team that's 7-3 against the spread in its last 10 games. C's Swiss Army knife Marcus Smart also won't play due to illness. I think the Heat (+6) keep this close.
Point Total: Boston and Miami both boast top-10 defenses in defensive rating and points allowed. The Heat have scored 108 points or more in five straight games, though, while the Celtics average 109.1 points per game at the Garden. They should hit the OVER on the 209.5 point total with ease.
Darren's record picking the Celtics' moneyline, point spread and point total: 27-17-1
NBA Locks of the Night
Milwaukee Bucks (-8.5) at Detroit Pistons: The Bucks have absolutely demolished bad teams during their 10-game winning streak. The Pistons are a bad team. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Co. should roll to another double-digit victory in Detroit, where they're 4-1 in their last five games.
Los Angeles Lakers (+2.5) at Utah Jazz: The hottest team in the West is an underdog against a Jazz team that should be without starting point guard Mike Conley. Oh, and the Lakers have won nine straight on the road. Seems like a no-brainer.
Darren's record picking NBA locks against the spread: 15-14-1
Celtics vs. Heat odds: Best NBA picks, predictions for clash of East elites originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston