For the first time since 2012, the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat will play in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The 2020 NBA playoffs have been full of excitement, drama and surprises.
For example, many people expected the first-place Milwaukee Bucks to at least reach the conference finals after dominating the regular season with the league's best record. But the Bucks' run was halted by the Heat, who eliminated Milwaukee in just five games during the conference semifinals.
The Celtics needed seven games to eliminate the defending champion Toronto Raptors and reach the conference finals for the third time in the last four years. Boston's two previous conference finals appearances over that span ended in disappointment -- a five-game loss in 2017 and a Game 7 defeat in 2018, both to LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers.
The C's face a more beatable opponent in the Heat, but this series should be anything but easy for Boston. The Heat are a well-coached team loaded with depth and 3-point shooters.
One x-factor for the Celtics is the potential return of veteran forward Gordon Hayward, who sprained his ankle in Game 1 of the first round against the Philadelphia 76ers and hasn't played since. Getting Hayward backs would give Boston another versatile scorer, a quality outside shooter and a primary ball-handler who can start or come off the bench.
Here are the latest betting lines and prop bets for the Celtics vs. Heat series and the playoffs as a whole.
Series winner: Celtics -140, Heat +115
Exact series outcomes: Celtics 4-0 (+900), Celtics 4-1 (+475), Celtics 4-2 (+400), Celtics 4-3 (+450), Heat 4-0 (+1300), Heat 4-1 (+700), Heat 4-2 (+500), Heat 4-3 (+475)
Total games in series: Four (+550), Five (+250), Six (+190), Seven (+190)
Here's a roundup of predictions for Celtics vs. Heat.
Chris Forsberg, NBC Sports Boston: Celtics in 6
A. Sherrod Blakely, NBC Sports Boston: Celtics in 6
James Herbert, CBS Sports: Celtics in 6
Chris Mannix, Sports Illustrated: Celtics in 6
Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated: Heat in 7
Tim Bontemps, ESPN: Celtics in 6
Zach Lowe, ESPN: Celtics in 7
Dave McMenamin, ESPN: Celtics in 7
Ramona Shelburne, ESPN: Heat in 6
Keith Smith, SB Nation's Celtics Blog: Celtics in 5
John Hollinger, The Athletic: Celtics in 6
Odds provided by our partner, PointsBet