Betting tips for NBA Eastern Conference finals: Celtics-Heat Game 3

The venue switches to Boston, but the intensity between the Heat and the Celtics should stay the same. NBAE via Getty Images

All odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook.


What you need to know for Celtics-Heat Game 3

Lowry's influence: You might guess that Jimmy Butler delivers stronger production when tasked with more creation whenever Kyle Lowry is sidelined, but he's actually averaged 2.2 more DraftKings points per 36 minutes with his point guard on the floor in nearly 1,400 minutes between the regular season and playoffs. Victor Oladipo, meanwhile, enjoys a team-high surge (+4.3 DK points per 36) while playing next to Lowry this season. With Lowry listed as questionable to play in Game 3 due a hamstring injury, it's difficult to gauge his own statistical outcomes, but it's helpful to consider his positive influence on two key peers.

Smart passing: The Celtics got a huge boon with Marcus Smart being available for Game 2's blowout victory in Miami. Potential assists are defined as passes that lead directly to a possession event (shot, foul, turnover). Smart tallied a game-high 19 potential assists in Game 2 thanks to 70 total passes, 34 more than any teammate. It could be rewarding to ride Smart's productive distribution role, as his passing prop sits at 6.5 dimes for this game in Boston.

Smart to back Marcus: Sometimes things are as simple as they seem and this is lining up to be one of those instances. No player took more shots in Game 2 than Smart did in his return to action and, given that the Heat were willing to give Payton Pritchard 16 looks in Game 1 (double his shot total in any other game this postseason), it seems evident that Miami is employing the "make Celtic guards beat us" strategy. Will that work? Who knows, but it very much gives us a buying window on their point props if we can project usage. After scoring 24 points and handing out 12 assists with just one turnover, it stands to reason that Smart is their guard of choice, thus making him a strong play in the prop markets as this series shifts to Boston.

-- Jim McCormick & Kyle Soppe


Game of the night

Miami Heat at Boston Celtics
8:30 p.m. ET, TD Garden, Boston


Line: Celtics (-6.5)
Money line: Celtics (-270), Heat (+220)
Total: 207.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 216.4 points
BPI Win%: Celtics (70.4%)

Ruled out: Sam Hauser (shoulder)
Note: BPI numbers factor in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play.

Questionable: Kyle Lowry, P.J. Tucker, Gabe Vincent, Max Strus

Notable: Both games in this series have gone over the point total, a change in style after seven of Boston's first 11 games this postseason cashed under tickets.

Best bet: Marcus Smart over 25.5 points+assists+rebounds

On both ends of the court, Smart made a difference for the Celtics. He touched the ball 97 times in Game 2. Smart had the second-most touches in any playoff game of his career. He will continue to play an active role in Game 3 -- Eric Moody

Best bet: Jimmy Butler over 39.5 points+assists+rebounds

In Game 2, Butler proactively tried to involve his teammates, but they struggled. The 2022 playoffs have seen Butler average 29.8 PPG, 5.2 APG, and 7.6 RPG. The Heat need a huge performance from him to win in Boston. The winner of Game 3 in a tied best-of-seven series has gone on to win that series 73.4% of the time, including a 5-1 record this season. Last round, the Celtics overcame a Game 3 loss to win the series over the Bucks. -- Moody

Best bet: Over 207.5 points

While these teams are both great defensively, they actually match up well with each other offensively as well. Also, both teams are great at turning defense to offense, so even during stretches when one team is being shut down, the other is typically able to put larger-than-expected values on the board. Through their last four matchups (going back to the regular season), these two teams have averaged 218 points per game.-- André Snellings

Best bet: Jayson Tatum over 27.5 points

Tatum has been in a scoring zone for weeks, now, averaging 31.5 PPG over his last six outings against the Bucks and Heat. Tatum popped for more than 20 points in the first half of Game 1 and, even with a slower second half, scored 29 for the game. He had 27 points in Game 2, but in only 31 minutes, because he was able to sit out the fourth quarter of the blowout. The Heat have their backs against the wall, and presumably will play better than they did in Game 2, so Tatum will be called upon to carry his typical scoring load. -- Snellings

Best bet: Jimmy Butler over 26.5 points

Butler is averaging 29.8 PPG for the entire playoffs and has been even hotter of late, with averages of 33.0 PPG and 56.9 FG% in his last six outings. Even against the vaunted Celtics defense, Butler has scored 70 points in the first two games of the series on 62.2 FG%, while scoring at least 29 points in both outings. Butler and the Heat will be trying to bounce back from their blowout loss in Game 2, and Butler will have to stay hot for his team to have a chance to re-take control of the series. -- Snellings