How much is desperation worth to the NBA Playoffs odds? Apparently not enough.
The Boston Celtics, still stinging from an all-time public pantsing Sunday, are set as underdogs for the first time during the postseason as they try to avoid elimination against the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Tuesday’s spread is a tipping point for the NBA betting markets, which made Miami a home underdog for Game 3, with the Celtics expected to return serve after dropping the opening two games to the Heat at home. That pressure didn’t pay out and now books seem to be bailing on Boston’s chance in Game 4.
I run down this spread and Over/Under for Game 4 of the East finals and give my best NBA picks and predictions for Celtics at Heat on May 23. Be sure to also check out Rohit Ponnaiya's three favorite Game 4 player props for tonight's game!
Celtics vs Heat Game 4 best odds
Celtics vs Heat Game 4 picks and predictions
Boston bettors are doing their best to block out the events of Game 3.
Thoughts of Jaylen Brown going o-fer from beyond the arc and Jayson Tatum falling back to Earth like a SpaceX rocket will forever scar Celtic pride. But lost in the deflating balloon noise of Sunday’s defeat was a solid showing from veteran Al Horford… while it lasted.
Horford played just 19 minutes but came out swinging, at least by Game 3 standards. He went 3-for-6 from the field, including 2-for-5 from 3-point range. He surpassed his modest point total of 6.5 in the first half but logged less than four minutes of floor time in the second half with the Celtics trailing by 23 points in the third quarter.
It was Horford’s sixth straight single-digit output on the score sheet, going back to a goose egg in Game 5 with Philadelphia. But had Boston not pulled the plug on the veteran forward and their starters in the final frames of Game 3, Horford could have easily gone for more.
That abbreviated appearance Sunday has kept his points prop for Game 4 in the same spot, sitting at 6.5 points for a do-or-die showdown in South Beach. The juice on the Over for this modest ask is starting to tick up, with some shops dealing it as high as -135. You can still get the Over between -111 and -117 at a few books.
Game 4 projections sit near the same as Game 3, with some models calling for more than nine points and my number coming out just shy of nine. Horford was one of the few Boston players to show any success from distance in Game 3 and he can also mix it up around the rim and hit a jumper of high pick-and-pops.
Hopefully, Horford can make quick work of his scoring prop again in Game 4 and let us enjoy the second half in peace.
My best bet: Al Horford Over 6.5 points (-111)
Celtics vs Heat Game 4 same-game parlay
Al Horford Over 6.5 Points -111
Bam Adebayo Over 17.5 Points -125
Caleb Martin Under 11.5 Points -104
Horford’s projections called for more points in Game 3, and he could have gotten well above his Over 6.5 with more minutes in the second half. My number for his scoring is higher than it was in Game 3.
I’ve been on the “Bam Bus” all postseason, and after Adebayo notched just 13 points in the blowout win, his scoring prop is down to 17.5, with his projection well above that number at 20.5 points for Game 4.
On the low end, Heat guard Caleb Martin has boosted his points prop to 11.5 O/U with efforts of 18 and 25 points the previous two games. Martin’s projections all come in below 10 with my number sitting at 9.7 points, staying Under his total on Tuesday night.
Not intended for use in MA.
Affiliate Disclosure: Covers may receive advertising commissions for visits to a sportsbook or betting site.
Celtics vs Heat Game 4 spread and Over/Under analysis
Oddsmakers have seen enough. After setting the Miami Heat as home underdogs in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals — a line that closed Miami +4.5 — bookies opened the odds for Game 4 with the Heat as 1.5-point home chalk.
Game 4’s current spread marks the first time the Celtics have been underdogs in the 2023 NBA Playoffs and is only the 10th time the Celtics have been pups all season, with an impressive 8-1 ATS mark in the previous nine games catching points. That said, the C’s are dogs for a reason, lugging a net rating of -13.8 into Tuesday’s tilt.
Miami has absolutely busted Boston in the first three games of this series, stealing two wins in TD Garden before dropping the desperate Celtics on their head with a 26-point ass waxing Sunday (which you usually have to pay extra for in South Beach).
Boston didn’t have any answers for the Heat on either end of the floor. The Celtics watched as Miami fired at a near 57% rate from the floor, including 19 for 35 from long range. With the defense in the dumps, Boston’s offense couldn’t throw a grape in the ocean in Game 3, most notably the Celtics’ inability to hit from 3-point range.
Boston finished the game a dogshit 11-for-42 from deep, with stars Brown and Tatum leading that turd of a showing by shooting a combined 1-for-14 from beyond the arc. The Celtics enter Game 4 making just over 29% of their long-range looks for the series, which sounds much worse when you say 31 of 106 from downtown. Yuck.
The Game 4 Over/Under total hit the board as low as 214.5 points and has climbed to as high as 216.5 points.
It’s clear by this point that the Celtics have no answer for the Heat’s offense, which has posted scores of 128, 123, and 111 points against a once-mighty Boston defense that ranked among the league’s elite. Miami has an offensive rating of 124.4 in the series and is shooting almost 52% from the floor.
The Over opinion moving this total upwards is buying into a better showing from Boston’s stars. It can’t get any worse than Game 3, can it? The Celtics shot worse than 40% from the floor in Game 3, coughed the ball over 15 times, and head coach Joe Mazzulla is so far out of his depth the lifeguards are requiring him to wear water wings in Game 4.
This current Game 4 Over/Under is the tallest total of the series after the first three games played Over totals of 212, 214, and 214.5 points. The Celtics are 6-1 O/U in their seven road games so far in the playoffs while the Heat boast a 4-2 O/U record inside the Kaseya Center this postseason.
Best NBA bonuses
Looking to do some NBA betting? Here are two of the best bonuses* available:
A) New users at FanDuel can bet $5 and get $150 in bonus bets! Sign Up Now
B) Get a no-sweat NBA SGP or SGPx every day at DraftKings! Opt-in Now
*Eligible USA locations only. Also, check out our full list of best sportsbook promotions for 2023.
21+. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER
Celtics vs Heat betting trend to know
The Over is 22-7 in Heat’s last 29 games overall. Find more NBA betting trends for Celtics vs. Heat.
Celtics vs Heat Game 4 game info
|Location:||Kaseya Center, Miami, FL|
|Date:||Tuesday, May 23, 2023|
|Tip-off:||8:30 p.m. ET|