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The Eastern Conference Finals will witness a familiar clash between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics, marking the third meeting in four seasons. Miami's presence in the postseason seemed improbable this year, having battled through the play-in tournament to secure their spot. However, they have embarked on a remarkable journey through the East, culminating in an impressive 4-1 series victory over the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks.

While the Celtics enter the series as the favorites, they have faced formidable challenges in both the Atlanta Hawks and the Philadelphia 76ers. Boston managed to survive against the 76ers, largely due to an outstanding performance by Jayson Tatum, who set a franchise record by scoring 51 points. Despite his struggles throughout the series, Tatum ultimately found his rhythm when it mattered most.

The Celtics emerged victorious in last year's Conference Finals against the Heat, but it was Miami who triumphed in the 2020 bubble series. This time, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will face off against rookie head coach Joe Mazzulla, who, at a youthful 34 years old, has done a great job in guiding the Celtics this season.

As we approach the highly anticipated series opener, it's worth examining the game's lines and sharing some NBA picks and parlays.

Heat vs Celtics Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under – NBA Playoffs Betting Lines 5/17

Moneyline: Miami Heat (+280), Boston Celtics (-358)
Spread: Miami Heat +8.5 (-110) , Boston Celtics -8.5 (-110)
Total: Over/Under 210.5 points

Heat vs Celtics Injury Report

Danilo Gallinari remains the only name on the injury report for an otherwise healthy Boston Celtics roster, while the Miami Heat are a little light on guards.

Tyler Herro is not yet ready to return for the Heat and has been ruled out of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals as he works his way back from a hand injury. They also lost Victor Oladipo to yet another knee injury which is unfortunately another setback to his NBA career.

Heat vs Celtics Prediction

Boston is the favorite here, and the 8.5 point spread for the series opener supports that notion. The Celtics will be looking to get an early advantage this time around against a mildly wounded Miami Heat team, and the focus must be on taking shot opportunities away from Jimmy Butler.

The duel between Butler and the tenacious Celtics defense promises to be a captivating spectacle, particularly after witnessing Boston's impressive display in stifling the Sixers during Games 6 and 7, leading to statement victories and their advancement to the Conference Finals.

Erik Spoelstra, no stranger to this stage, deserves commendation for guiding the Heat, who appeared utterly adrift towards the end of the regular season, to a sudden resurgence, placing them within striking distance of the NBA Finals. While they may be considered the underdogs, it would be unwise to underestimate their potential in this matchup.

Anticipate a series focused on defensive prowess, with Jimmy Buckets and Jayson Tatum competing on the offensive end of the floor, each seeking to become the hero of the night. Miami embodies discipline and a well-structured approach, allowing them to capitalize on any subpar performance by the Celtics, who have displayed a tendency for turnovers and lackluster shooting in previous playoff encounters against Atlanta and Philadelphia.

Undoubtedly, Spoelstra's wealth of experience will benefit the Heat, providing them an edge in making adjustments and adapt their game plan on the fly. While Joe Mazzulla deserves recognition for his accomplishments in Boston this season, experience remains invaluable, and Spoelstra boasts a wealth of it having been here many times before.

In all likelihood, Boston should secure a victory in Game 1, but they must tighten their game and avoid costly mistakes to prevent the Heat from gaining any momentum on the road. Allowing the series to be tied at 1-1 heading to Miami could spell serious trouble for the Celtics.

Best NBA Same Game Parlay Picks Today for Heat vs Celtics - NBA Playoffs Game 1: 4-Leg Parlay Picks (+1000)

Jayson Tatum Points Total

I’ll start the NBA same game parlay picks today with Jayson Tatum, despite being a potentially risky move. For sports bettors, Tatum’s performances so far in the playoffs will have caused a rollercoaster of emotions. Despite experiencing multiple games with fewer than 20 points against the Philadelphia 76ers, he delivered an astonishing performance in Game 7, shattering the franchise record by scoring 51 points and effectively sealing the series victory.

He needs to get off to a hot start and should be capable of doing so coming into the series confident and fired up after his monumental performance last time out. I’ll take Tatum to score 30+ points.

Leg-1 SGP Pick: Jayson Tatum Over 29.5 Points (-105)

Al Horford Blocks Total

This one is a little unorthodox but after watching the series against Philadelphia and the way Al Horford defended inside, the value in his blocks line at 2+ for the game is unavoidable in my eyes.

Horford defended the interior remarkably well on several occasions against Philly, including doing a stellar job on league MVP Joel Embiid. He averaged 2.1 blocks per game including five blocks in Game 4 and another three in the all-important Game 7.

 Leg-2 SGP Pick: Al Horford 2+ Blocks (+125)

Max Strus Three Pointers Total

The Boston Celtics shoot a tonne of threes, and it is likely that the Miami Heat will aim to counter that with their own barrage of long-range shots. With Tyler Herro absent from the lineup, Max Strus emerges as a primary option from beyond the arc, seeing a significant increase in his three-point attempts per game. Against the Milwaukee Bucks, he averaged 3.4 attempts, but that number rose to eight attempts per game in the series against the New York Knicks.

Strus displayed his shooting ability by taking ten three-pointers in three of the six games against the Knicks, and he maintained an average of 2.8 made attempts per game throughout the series. With this in mind, I’m expecting similar numbers from Strus in the upcoming series against Boston, making him a player to watch for this NBA same game parlay predictions.

Leg-3 SGP Pick: Max Strus 3+ Three Pointers Made (-125)

Point Spread

In the opening game of the series I expect to see Boston pull away and emerge victorious. However, It would be naive to ignore the coaching experience of Erik Spoelstra against a rookie head coach who is still learning and adjusting as the playoffs unfold.

Spoelstra has achieved something truly impressive with the current Heat roster, with Jimmy Butler leading the charge. Should the Boston Celtics show any signs of a sluggish start, it could prove to be a costly mistake, as the Miami Heat love to capitalize on such situations.

Boston are the favorites to win, and rightly so, but Miami having the +8.5 line makes them the better value pick against the spread.

Leg-4 SGP Pick: Miami Heat +8.5 (-115)

Odds subject to change*

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