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Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics Game Preview and Prediction

The Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics will lock horns for the second time this season in the Eastern Conference showdown from TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Heat overcame the Celtics 115-99 on the home court just eleven days ago, but the Celtics are strong favorites on this one to beat Miami for the first time after three consecutive losses in their H2H matchups.

NBA: Monday, January 21, 2019, TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, 6:00 PM ET

 

The Heat finally showed some efficiency on the road

The Miami Heat (22-22; 24-20 ATS) is coming off a convincing 117-103 road victory over the Chicago Bulls to put an end to their three-game losing streak away from home. In those three losses at Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Detroit, the Heat was averaging 87.0 points per contest, so the prolific performance at Chicago is a huge relief even though the Bulls are among the worst teams in the league. Miami is 5-3 straight up and ATS in its last eight games on the road, while the Heat is the best team in the league with a 13-8 ATS record on the road this season.

Erik Spoelstra continues to rotate a lot, but Josh Richardson is the main player in this Miami team. The versatile guard is averaging 17.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game, but he’s struggling with his shooting, recording just 41.2% from the field. Justise Winslow is playing very well at the moment, averaging 14.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game over his last ten outings, while Dwyane Wade is adding 14.0 points and 4.1 dimes per contest coming off the bench. The Heat is scoring just 108.1 points per 100 possessions (22nd in the league) on 44.4% shooting from the field (26th), allowing 107.8 points in a return (7th) on 43.9% shooting from the field (2nd).

Looking for their ninth straight home win

The Boston Celtics (28-18; 24-22 ATS) are on a three-game winning streak following a 113-105 win at the Atlanta Hawks this past Saturday. It was their first victory on the road after three consecutive losses at Brooklyn, Orlando, and Miami, but the Celtics have been playing brilliantly on the home court, winning eight contests in a row. During that span, the Celtics had a couple of impressive displays, beating the Indiana Pacers 135-108 and the Toronto Raptors 117-108, while Boston is 17-5 straight up and 15-7 ATS in their 22 games at TD Garden this season.

Kyrie Irving is leading the Celtics with 23.4 points and 6.8 assists per game while hitting 49.9% of his field goals and 41.3% of his 3-point attempts. The sophomore Jayson Tatum is averaging 16.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest, while Marcus Morris is adding 14.8 points on 48.1% shooting from the field. Gordon Hayward is a huge disappointment, as he’s tallying just 11.0 points and 4.7 rebounds a night after missing the previous season due to a leg injury. The Celtics are scoring 112.4 points per 100 possessions (11th in the league) on 45.9% shooting from the field (15th) and 36.8% from downtown (6th), conceding 106.3 points in a return (5th) on 44.2% shooting from the field (4th).

Trends:

Miami Heat:

  • 1-3 SU and ATS in the last four road meetings with the Eastern Conference
  • 1-4 SU and 3-2 ATS in the last five road meetings with Boston
  • Over is 9-4 in the last 13 games overall

Boston Celtics:

  • 5-0 SU and ATS in the last five home meetings with the Eastern Conference
  • 8-3 SU and 6-5 ATS in the previous 11 meetings with Miami
  • Over is 8-5 in the last 13 games overall

The Winner Prediction

The Celtics had a lot of ups and downs during the season, and the matchup with the Heat could be a tricky one, as Miami is playing tough, physical defense. The Celtics have lost three straight duels with Miami, but it could be an extra motive to put on a strong performance here and finally beat the Heat. The Celtics are just 2-4 ATS in their last six games overall, but they are 7-1 ATS in the last eight outings at TD Garden, so I have to take them on this one even with a spread near double-digits.

The Pick: Boston Celtics -8.0 (-110)

The Total

The betting trends are suggesting the over, but both Miami and Boston are top 10 defensive teams that mostly make their opponents’ life miserable, as Miami is 2nd in the league in opponent shot percentage, while Boston is 4th in the league. Likewise, the Heat is struggling with its shooting percentage, so I’m backing the under here even though the Celtics are scoring 120.8 points per game over their previous five showings on the home court.

The Pick: Under 212.5 points (-110)

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