The Eastern Conference Finals is set, and for the third time in four years, the Miami Heat are taking on the Boston Celtics.
These two teams have gone through very different paths to make the Eastern Conference Finals, and it now sets up a rematch of last seasons’ series. Boston won that series in seven games, but oddsmakers expect things to be much easier for the Celtics this time around.
The Heat, the No. 8 seed, shockingly upset the Milwaukee Bucks in five games before taking down the New York Knicks in the second round in six games. Miami is a perfect 5-0 at home in the playoffs heading into its matchup with Boston.
Despite being the NBA Finals favorites for most of the season, Boston has not rolled through the playoffs the way some may expect. The Celtics needed six games to beat the Atlanta Hawks, and then they fell behind 3-2 to the Philadelphia 76ers before taking that series in seven games.
Jayson Tatum scored 51 points in Game 7 against Philly, an NBA record, but will he be as dominant against a Miami team that has defended at a high level all postseason?
Here’s a look at the latest odds to win the series as well as the expected exact outcome for the Eastern Conference Finals:
Heat vs. Celtics series odds
Heat vs. Celtics correct score (Exact outcome odds)
Heat vs. Celtics series prediction and pick
At -525 odds, the Celtics are being given an 84.0 percent chance to win this series.
Even though they are the title favorites, this is an utterly disrespectful line given what Miami and Jimmy Butler have done this postseason.
Boston has struggled at home in the playoffs, losing three games at TD Garden, and that could be a issue against a Miami team that has protected home court. The Celtics played sloppy at times against Philly, and they may not be able to get away with that against a better Miami defense.
This series, as many do, is going to come down to which stars show up. The Celtics lost games where James Harden dropped 40 points in the second round, but they also closed out the series behind five dominant quarters from Tatum.
The issue is, Butler has shown up time and time again in the playoffs while Harden and Joel Embiid are notorious for falling short.
The Heat not having Tyler Herro is tough, but I think the team is being disrespected, especially with Bam Adebayo playing one of the best postseasons of his career.
I’m going to go out on a limb and take Miami to continue its Cinderella run and win this series in seven games.
Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.