Don’t Make These Mistakes When Betting on Boston


Here we go again. The Boston Celtics are yet again back in the Eastern Conference Finals. Following a career-defining 51-point performance by Jayson Tatum, the Celtics find themselves one step closer to a second-straight Finals appearance.

All is well, right?

The only obstacle headed their way: the eight-seeded Miami Heat and their incredible Cinderella-run led by Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and company.

Miami and Boston will face off for the third time in four seasons, with each postseason battle occurring in the Eastern Conference Finals. Miami powered through in 2020 in six games over Boston, but the Celtics stopped Butler’s heroics enough in 2022 to get even.

Boston enters Game 1 as eight-point favorites over Miami at home as of Tuesday night, per FanDuel. Looking at the full series, FanDuel set the Celtics as -550 to clinch a Finals berth over the Heat. That is a towering bar considering how close their last two postseason matchups were.

So, what are some of the best, strategic bets available in this series? Where can you find some ideal value, and what are some of the important factors to look at against Miami?

You can claim Celtics sportsbook promo codes on PickBoss.com for the Eastern Conference Finals. Here are some important points to take note over heading into this series.

Hammer the under on total points

Last year’s matchup versus Miami saw multiple instances of defensive battles. Both Boston and Miami rank high defensively, partly because each possesses versatility and usually tend not to turn the ball over.

Most games in this series will feature slow-tempo offense, especially if this series drags on to a fifth or sixth game.

In 2022, Miami averaged just 99.7 points per game for the series. It won three games by an average margin of victory of approximately eight points per victory. For context, Boston won three of its four games by an average of over 19 points per game with the exception of Game 7 (a 100-96 win for the Celtics).

Expect some ugly offensive performances in this series, especially when you factor in the familiarity between both teams. Not much has changed roster-wise between Miami and Boston this season compared to last year. Miami enters this series as a +390 underdog per FanDuel, but that does not mean these games will be total blowouts for Boston.

On that note…

Expect a five- or six-game series at a minimum

Given all that context, it’s wise to expect this series to at least be prolonged for a bit. Keep in mind that it did take Boston six games to beat the Hawks and seven games to beat the Sixers. Especially in this season, it’s taken more time for rookie head coach Joe Mazzulla to adapt over the course of a series.

Here are the odds for number of games the Eastern Conference Finals could be, per FanDuel:

  • Four games: +390
  • Five games: +190
  • Six games: +240
  • Seven games: +270

The best value heading into this series is +240 in hopes that the series will go to six games. Expect Butler to have at least one defining game like he did in 2022. Ditto for the Heat to get hot (no pun intended) from three, which powered them to an upset over Milwaukee earlier this postseason.

Avoid betting on Boston for Game 1

Celtics fans out there: don’t be tempted by jumping to conclusions.

Boston enters the Conference Finals coming off a grueling, seven-game series versus Philly. Based on the numbers out there, it’s wise to avoid betting until after Game 1. After all, we need to see this season’s iteration of both teams facing off in the postseason before making a proper judgement.

History is also not on Boston’s side, at least for Game 1 of the series. Per pickboss.com, over 60% of teams who win Game 7 end up losing Game 1 of the following series. Boston faces a shorter rest period, compared to Miami’s longer break. Even with home-court advantage, it isn’t a smart investment.

One thing to take advantage of: Boston as the clear favorite in this series.

Teams favored by at least 8.5 points in the past 40 NBA playoffs matchups won 39 times, 22 instances in which the overwhelming favorite covered, per pickboss.com. Upsets rarely happen, and look no further than Miami’s three close victories in the 2022 series.

Stick to what the history says

As The Lead covered recently, certain trends tend to stand out over the course of recent postseasons.

Yes, Boston possesses concerns with late-game execution and Mazzulla’s inexperience. The Celtics, however, do have a lot going for them.

First, Boston sits as the only team left this postseason with top-10 marks in offensive rating and defensive rating. Outside of the 2022 Warriors, every title team from the last decade (minus two exceptions by a hair) ranked top-10 in both those marks. It makes sense: on paper, the Celtics represent the most versatile, eight-man lineup in the NBA out of the four remaining playoff teams.

Second, especially after Game 7 versus Philly, comes the Tatum factor. No, it is unlikely that he will score 50 points again the rest of this postseason. However, he’s proven to still be an impact player even when the offense looks flat (example: Game 6 versus Philly). Based on our prior evaluation on postseason betting, Boston knows its playoff rotation and fits well within the context of a grind-it-out, defensive slug-fest.

Grab your popcorn. If the past says anything, this year’s series versus Miami will be another entertaining one.

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About Dominic Chiappone

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