Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics Game 1: Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds (5/17/23)

The Miami Heat (44-38) face the Boston Celtics (57-25) in the Eastern Conference Finals for the right to reach the NBA Finals. It’s quickly becoming a heated rivalry as these teams have now met in three of the last four ECF. Tyler Herro (20.1 PPG) will miss the entire series due to a broken hand, so Boston definitely holds the injury advantage heading into Game 1.

Check out below for Heat vs Celtics predictions, odds, trends, and starting lineups.

Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics Prediction

Prediction: 2 or More 3 Point FGs Made in the First 3 Minutes – Yes (+100 FD)

The main lines are well set to me, but this niche market holds value at +100. To win this prop, there must be at least two made threes total from either team when the game clock hits 8:59 in the first quarter.

48% of Boston’s FGA were 3PA during the regular season, while Miami sat at 40.8%. Those marks ranked 2nd and 9th respectively, so both teams were content to launch from deep. Each team will take around 6 FGA in the first three minutes for a total of 12 shots. Based on the regular season percentages, 5-6 of those would be 3PA. Therefore, they must combine to shoot 2/5 or 2/6 from three – 36.3% on average. Do they accomplish this 51% of the time (what’s needed for a +100 to be profitable)? I believe so given the shooting profiles and defenses involved.

Miami ranks 23rd defending the three-point line in terms of opponent shot quality and allows the second highest opponent 3PA% (per ShotQuality). In other words, the Heat constantly bleed quality looks from three.

Enter the Celtics, who produced a 37.7 3PT% during the regular season and have raised that to 39.5% during the playoffs. Brown, Tatum, and Horford are all excellent three-point shooters, while Smart can get hot at any moment. Look for the Celtics to absolutely rain down threes on this porous Heat three-point defense. It wouldn’t be shocking at all for Boston to hit this prop by themselves.

It may be necessary because the other side is far from ideal. The Celtics rank 3rd defending the three-point line in terms of opponent shot quality and allow the 16th highest opponent 3PA% (per ShotQuality). Miami also struggled with efficiency as they posted a 34.8 3PT% during the regular season.

However, the Heat have raised that to 36.8% for the playoffs, and they possess numerous threats. Love and Strus are deadly from three, Vincent is solid, and Butler has dramatically improved his three-point shooting to adequate levels this postseason. The Celtics offense will definitely carry, but Miami is extremely capable of contributing a 3PM.

Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics Betting Odds

The Celtics are a massive eight-point favorite with an atrocious -335 moneyline. It’s clear where the confidence lies in this matchup. For Miami’s +290 moneyline to hold a positive expected value, they must win here at least 26% of the time. Miami is 13-5 ATS in the last 18 meetings in Boston, so the line cannot be attributed to a lack of success.

Betting Trends

  • Heat are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games overall
  • Celtics are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 games overall
  • Heat are 13-5 ATS in the last 18 meetings in Boston
  • Over is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings in Boston

Key Matchups

Which areas will allow 3PA to flourish?


Turnovers usually lead to layups or dunks since opponents are able to attack the basket against a non-set defense. Therefore, protecting the ball will allow these teams a better chance of ending possessions with a 3PA. Miami’s defense routinely forces turnovers, and Boston’s offense is prone to foolish mistakes. If the Celtics can avoid their typical clumsy turnovers, then this prop has a superior chance of hitting.

Robert Williams III & Bam Adebayo

Both are non-shooters, so it would seem like they are massive negatives for this prop. However, their superb rim protection deters opponents from testing the paint and instead encourages opponent 3PA. Williams will play drop coverage too and allow the off the dribble three-pointer instead of a drive. In addition, both can grab offensive rebounds and kick it out for a wide open 3PA. These two centers may not directly contribute a made three, but their skills can indirectly lead to more 3PA.

Miami Heat Starting Lineup

PG: Gabe Vincent
SG: Max Strus
SF: Jimmy Butler
PF: Kevin Love
C: Bam Adebayo

Boston Celtics Starting Lineups

PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Al Horford
C: Robert Williams III

Key Injuries

Miami Heat Injuries: Tyler Herro (O), Victor Oladipo (O), Cody Zeller (Q)

Boston Celtics Injuries: Danilo Gallinari (O)

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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