Free NBA Picks: Celtics vs. Heat

Jeff Grant

Friday, April 12, 2013 12:18 PM GMT

Friday, Apr. 12, 2013 12:18 PM GMT

The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat have had some fierce battles over the years, but both teams may be resting key players for the playoffs in Friday night’s meeting at AmericanAirlines Arena.


Let’s take a closer look at the NBA betting odds for this Eastern Conference affair, with the opening tip scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET on NBATV.

Take a look at our predictions for the First Round Playoff Matchups.

Alternating

Boston has alternated wins and losses over its last five games, as it comes off a 101-93 setback to the Brooklyn Nets as three-point home favorites Wednesday, while going OVER the total for a second consecutive contest.

The Celtics are 20-13 straight up (SU) and 15-17-1 against the spread (ATS) in April the last two-plus seasons, with the UNDER going 20-12-1 in those 33 opportunities.

Top dog

There’s no question that Miami is the clear favorite to walk away with its second straight championship in the NBA futures odds, as the team locked up the No. 1 overall seed in the upcoming playoffs with a 103-98 victory over the Washington Wizards as 3.5-point road underdogs Wednesday night.

The Heat are 12-2 SU and 9-5 ATS off an upset win as an underdog since the start of the 2010-11 campaign, with no clear advantage in the betting total (6-6 Over/Under).

Don’t slip to far

The Celtics currently occupy the No. 7 spot in the East standings, which would have them matching up with either the New York Knicks or Indiana Pacers in the first round, but they sit just three games ahead of the eighth-seeded Milwaukee Bucks.

Boston definitely wants to avoid starting a seven-game series against Miami next weekend, but it still plans to sit center Kevin Garnett and forward Paul Pierce in his affair, as both are dealing with ankle injuries.

Trending under

It’s very difficult to set up your NBA picks this time of year, which is why it’s important for handicappers to practice sound money management, but there might be a clear edge to exploit in this matchup.

The UNDER is 24-10-1 in the Heat’s last 35 games in April, while the Celtics have fallen short of the total in 20 of their last 32 games during this particular month on the calendar.

[gameodds]5/224557/43/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers take a look at the total when the number becomes available on the SBR Odds page, as the UNDER is 10-4 in the Celtics’ last 14 road games versus a team with a winning home percentage greater than .600.

Miami will likely be without the services of both Chris Bosh and LeBron James, while Dwyane Wade is expected to play limited minutes.

Recommendation: Under

comment here