Boston Celtics vs Miami Heat NBA predictions, picks, odds & spreads: Heat can rise at home

May 25, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) controls the ball against Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) in the first quarter during game five of the Eastern Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics have won back-to-back games since falling 3-0 behind against the Miami Heat in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, but the Heat still have two more chances to clinch — and they may need only one. The Heat started the 2023 NBA Playoffs as the #8 seed after losing their first game in the play-in tournament against Atlanta before beating the Bulls to make the field for the first round. They have not looked back since, eliminating #1 seed the Milwaukee Bucks in 5 games before knocking out #5 seed the New York Knicks. The Heat then raced into a 3-0 lead in this series against Boston but questions are being asked of them now after back-to-back losses.

The Celtics have had to battle hard in these playoffs, beating the Hawks in 6 games and the 76ers in 7, and they need to find it in themselves to win a Game 6 and 7 again as teams face off in Florida on Saturday (8:30 pm ET, TNT). Let’s take a look at the odds, betting lines and our expert’s predictions for Game 6.

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Boston Celtics vs Miami Heat spread, odds & betting lines

Point spread: Celtics -2.5, Heat +3
Total points over/under: 210-210.5 points
Money line odds: Celtics -140, Heat +124

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Boston Celtics vs Miami Heat expert picks

Celtics vs Heat point spread pick: Heat ML (+124, FanDuel)

This series has been a tale of streaks. In the first 3 games, Miami won the turnover battle each time and shot a combined 47.8% from 3-point range. In the last 2 games, Boston has won the turnover battle and shot a combined 40.5% from three. Boston now has a 9-1 record when shooting better than 39% from three and just a 1-7 record when shooting worse than 39% from downtown. Since last season, including the playoffs, the Celtics have now shot 35.8% from three and the Heat are now up to 34.2% from three. That’s why Miami has proved to be the superior team in these playoffs: they can find ways to win without going nuclear from beyond the arc while Boston’s rookie head coach Joe Mazzula has been losing the adjustment game to Erik Spoelstra.

Expect that to be in play in Game 6 as the Heat will make adjustments in their defense and possibly lineup, featuring the return of point guard Gabe Vincent and the introduction of Haywood Highsmith into the regular rotation. Highsmith provides length, athleticism, and two-way firepower to the Heat that is currently not provided by the slow-legged Kevin Love. That will be the key for the Heat to bounce back and force negative regression for Boston’s shooters. Expect Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Caleb Martin to dominate the ball in what the Heat will treat as an elimination game on their home court. That should lead to a bounceback effort where the Heat clean up their offensive turnovers and put on display their deep, versatile roster that is 6-1 on the money line at home in these playoffs.

Be sure to check out our full Boston Celtics vs Miami Heat predictions

Celtics vs Heat over/under total pick: Under 210.5 (-110, BetMGM, DraftKings)

This game should be a close one, determined in clutch time, likely thanks to negative shooting regression, particularly from Boston against Miami’s zone defense, and a cleaner offensive game from Miami in which they refuse to lose the turnover battle for the third straight game. All of those signs point toward a slower pace and the line movement on this total agrees.

With Gabe Vincent likely making his return to the Heat’s starting lineup in Game 6, the identity of Erik Spoelstra’s team should be back to normal, forcing Boston to make slower decisions on defense against a 2-3 zone defense, and slowing down offense to get the ball to Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. In the regular season, both teams ranked in the bottom 10 in the NBA in PACE after the All-Star break. Any sort of regression to the mean should suggest that this will be a defensive battle in which both teams could take till clutch time to hit 100 points, a game after they combined for 207 points despite being efficient from three. I’ll back the under in Game 6.

Read our Celtics vs Heat Same Game Parlay and First Basket Scorer Best Bets

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