NBA Picks: Back Celtics +2 vs. Heat as Spread Holds Steady

Darin Zank

Sunday, December 21, 2014 12:56 PM UTC

Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014 12:56 PM UTC

Boston is perfect since trading away Rajon Rondo – 1-0 straight up and against the spread. Addition by subtraction? The Celtics look to extend a three-game overall winning streak when they visit the Miami Heat Sunday afternoon.


Celtics-Heat Betting Odds
Most of the NBA betting odds market opened this game with Miami favored by a point and a half, the total proffered at right around 199. In the early betting the total had been bumped a couple of points, to 201 while the spread is more stable for now.

Celtics-Heat: The Match-Up
Boston went off this season with a wins OVER/UNDER of 27. With help from a recent spurt the Celtics are now on pace to win 34 games.

Monday night Boston feasted on forlorn Philly 105-87, covering as a five-point favorite on the road. Wednesday night the Celtics shot 55 percent from the floor in beating Orlando at home 109-92, covering as four-point favorites. And Friday night Boston shot 57 percent in knocking off Minnesota 114-98, covering as a six-point favorite.

So after starting this season 4-11 Boston has actually won six of its last nine games, and gone 8-2 ATS over its last 10 contests.

Boston's three newcomers – G Jameer Nelson and forwards Brandan Wright and Jae Crowder - all watched Friday's game. Whether they'll play Sunday, and how much, is uncertain. At 10-14 Boston owns the eight seed in the Eastern Conference at the moment.

Miami, meanwhile, went off this season with a wins betting total of 44. So far, the Heat is on a pace to play UNDER that number. Miami is 0-2 so far on its current seven-game home-stand. Wednesday night the Heat lost to Utah (a team that's 8-20) 105-87, shooting just 39 percent from the floor, falling outright as four-point favorites, and Friday night they lost to Washington 105-103, but covered as six-point home dogs.

Miami shot 53 percent from the field Friday night, and 9/19 from 3-point land, but allowed the Wizards to shoot 49 percent and committed 27 fouls and 16 turnovers. At 12-15 Miami owns the seven seed in the East.

Celtics-Heat, Recent History
Boston actually took the season series from Miami last year two games to one, and went 3-0 ATS. But there are some key people who played for both teams last season who won't be at Sunday's game.

Celtics-Heat, Key Numbers
Boston ranks seventh in the league in FG shooting at 46.5 percent, while ranking 17th in FG defense, allowing opponents to shoot 45 percent. The Celtics also leads the league in assists with 26 per game, while turning the ball over 15 times per contest.

Miami ranks 10th in FG shooting at 46 percent, but 28th in FG defense, allowing foes to shoot almost 48 percent from the floor. The Heat also rank second-worst in rebounding at -4.8 per game, and own a 20/13 assist-to-turnover ratio, which is nothing special.

Celtics-Heat Betting Trends
Boston is 3-6 SU but 6-3 ATS on the road this season.
Miami is 4-9 at home this season, with five losses in a row, and just 4-8-1 ATS.
Boston is 14-9 on the totals this season, as Celtics games have averaged 210 points.
Miami is 12-15 on the totals, as Heat games have averaged 193 points

Injury Update
Miami F Chris Bosh, who's averaging 22 points and eight boards this season, has missed recent action with a calf strain, and he's unlikely to play Sunday.

Celtics-Heat Free Pick
Boston is the hotter team as of late, while Miami is kind of a mess. The Heat play poor defense, and they don't rebound very well. And they'll likely be without Bosh. So we like the Celtics in this NBA pick.

Free NBA Pick: Boston +2 at Bookmaker

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