NBA playoff betting: Celtics are significant favorites over Heat to win the East
The Celtics don’t have home-court advantage against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals but are still significant favorites to win the East.
Boston is at -160 at BetMGM to go to the NBA Finals after beating the Milwaukee Bucks 109-81 in Game 7 of their conference semifinal matchup on Sunday. Boston pulled away in the second half thanks to a massive disparity in three-point shooting.
The Celtics were 22-of-55 from behind the arc as Grant Williams was 7-of-18 from three. The Bucks were a hard-to-believe 4-of-33 from deep as Bobby Portis was the only Milwaukee player to make multiple threes. The 54-point difference between the two teams from three was more than enough for the Celtics to cruise in the third quarter after taking a five-point lead into halftime.
Miami, meanwhile, has the rest advantage ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 after beating Philadelphia in six games on Thursday night. The Heat are hoping to get Kyle Lowry back for the Celtics series after he missed most of the series against the Sixers because of a hamstring injury. Lowry, however, did not practice on Sunday.
The Heat are +130 to win the series and got the top seed in the East thanks to a 53-29 record in the regular season. Boston started off very slowly and was the best team since the calendar flipped to 2022 thanks to Robert Williams’ increased influence. The Celtics’ defense has been stifling with Williams on the court and the team was able to beat the Bucks on Sunday without him. Williams could be on track to play on Tuesday and will be a significant asset against the Heat’s Bam Adebayo.
The star of whichever team that wins the series could enter as the favorite for Finals MVP. Boston’s Jayson Tatum is currently the No. 2 Finals MVP favorite behind Stephen Curry (+190) at +300. Jimmy Butler is +600 to win MVP while Jaylen Brown is +1200 and Marcus Smart is +2000. The Celtics are the No. 2 Finals favorites at +240 behind the Warriors at +190. Golden State will find out Sunday night if it will play either the Phoenix Suns or Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference finals.