Eastern Conference finals tip off this evening. The Miami
Heat host the Boston Celtics in Game 1 this evening and, after three
days of rest, are installed as -8 favorites. The Celtics are big underdogs to advance to the NBA finals. How do we see the series going down?
though I believe these series prices are a bit high, they are what we have to
expect after Lebron James and Dwyane Wade dominated in the final three games of
the Pacers series. Both averaged 33 points per game in Games 4, 5 and 6 against
Indiana, and both had 40-point performances.
Celtics, on the other hand, got pushed to the brink against a very young and
talented Sixers team. Even though the Celtics probably should have beaten them
a bit easier, they got the job done when it mattered, and beat Philadelphia by
double figures in Game 7 at TD Garden.
public started in heavily on the Heat when the Game 1 line was released, but
after it has gone up to -8 ½ in most sportsbooks, the money has leveled off a
bit. Currently, 54% of the money is on the Heat laying points in Game 1.
series is going to have a lot of storylines. The obvious ones include
Lebron’s pursuit of a title and the last showdown for Boston’s Big Three.
However, there is a lot more to this series than what is on the surface.
starters, the Heat did not win a game against the Celtics this regular season.
Boston went 3-0 SU and ATS against Miami during the regular season. They have
now covered four games in a row against Miami, and five of their last seven
against the Heat.
This series boils down to a couple of things. First and most obvious, can
the Heat’s Big Two continue to play like they did in the last half of the
Pacers series. If they do, this series will go no more than five games. Whenever
Bosh comes back, they will be unstoppable if that’s the case. However, until he
is back, I expect the Celtics to try to double-team both Lebron and Wade. Personally,
I consider the Celtics defense a lot better than the Pacers’. The Celtics were
a top three defensive team during the regular season. If their bodies are up to
it, they might be able to accomplish doubling both superstars.
also plays a large factor, and both teams are either temporarily or permanently
missing key components. Chris Bosh isn’t expected back in either Game 1 or 2,
and Avery Bradley for the Celtics is out for the playoffs after having surgery
on both shoulders. Both were critical to their team’s success.
Boston, Rajon Rondo will play a very important part. He had his worst playoff
game of his career in Game 6 against Philly, and then followed it up with one
of his better, a triple double and a heroic Game 7 performance. He will have to
be Game 7 Rondo and even more if the Celtics want any chance against Miami.
I consider Miami the favorite, and I see them winning in six or seven
games. Boston is just a little too banged up to compete. However, if they can
forget about the pain, and effectively defend the Big Two, Boston could steal a
game in Miami and then this series will be turned around completely.