The Miami Heat have been the best ‘under’ team in the NBA, but that is starting to result in some deflated totals such as this one vs. the fast-paced Boston Celtics at home Monday.
There could actually be some value on the ‘over’ in a game involving the best ‘under’ team in the NBA Monday night when the fast-paced Boston Celtics (9-8, 8-9 ATS) head down south to pay a visit to those Miami Heat (10-5, 7-8 ATS) at American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL at 7:35 ET in a game available on Sunshine Sports.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 192 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at -101.
13-2 for the ‘under’!
The Heat are determined to return to the NBA Playoffs after failing to make the post-season while finished below .500 last season in their first after LeBron James bolted to go back to Cleveland, and Miami improved to 10-5 by suffocating the New York Knicks 97-78 on Friday, with the easy ‘under’ in that contest bringing it to an amazing 13-2 this season, easily the best ‘under’ mark in the league.
The Celtics did make the playoffs last season as a seven-seed, but their goal this season is to win at least one playoff series after getting swept in the first round by the eventual Eastern Champion Cavaliers, and Boston has gotten off to a better start in its third season under Coach Brad Stevens as it is above .500 as an NBA pick thus far at 9-8, just 1½ behind the two-time defending Atlantic Champion Toronto Raptors in the division.
Faster Pace than Miami is Used To
While the Heat do play great defense, that 13-2 ‘under’ record has also been helped by not playing many fast-paced teams. In fact, Miami has played one team currently in the top three in the NBA in pace rating in the Sacramento Kings, and that game produced one of the two ‘overs’. The significance of that here is that the Celtics have the highest pace rating in the Eastern Conference and fourth highest in the NBA behind those Kings, Phoenix and Golden State!
That pace helps explain how Boston is 10th in the league in scoring at 101.8 points per game despite ranking only 22nd in field goal percentage at 42.9 percent. Granted the Celtics are also eighth in points against defensively allowing 97.6 per game, which should come as no surprise for a team coached by the defensive minded Stevens, but they have had some more defensive breakdowns since Marcus Smart went down with a knee injury.
Smart is still a couple of weeks away from returning and Boston could have used his defense last night in the first half of this Florida trip in a 110-91 loss in Orlando. Besides, if you simply look at the average total combined score of all Boston games this season, those 199.4 points per game are more than seven points higher than this posted total.
Top 10 in Field Goal Percentage
Meanwhile the Heat are actually ranked 10th in the NBA in field goal percentage at 44.7 percent with forward Hassan Whiteside developing into one of the more unstoppable players in the league, ranking second with his blazing 60.0 percent shooting while averaging 14.0 points and 11.4 rebounds. That team shooting percentage is an indication that Miami can up its 96.3-point average if drawn into a faster pace, such as when the Heat scored 116 vs. Sacramento.
Granted the Heat are without Luol Deng right now due to a hamstring injury, but Gerald Green has filled his void nicely, especially by scoring 25 points vs. the Knicks on Friday. Green is also a better three-point shooter than Deng although he is not as good of a defender, which is actually another boon for the ‘over’ in this spot at this low total.
Competition Has Helped Miami ‘under’
Finally, as amazing as Miami’s 13-2 ‘under’ mark is, part of that has to do with not facing many potent offenses as it is the ‘over’ that is actually 6-1 in the Heat’s last seven games vs. teams with winning records stretching back to last season. Also, the ‘over’ is 15-5 in the last 20 head-to-head meetings between these teams in Miami.
Given that the Celtics play at a faster pace than just about any team that Miami has gone ‘under’ against, we recommend going ‘over’ the deflated total when Boston visits Miami on Monday.
NBA Pick: Celtics, Heat ‘over’ 192 (-101)