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NBA Eastern Conference finals: Celtics vs. Heat odds, Game 6 picks, prediction from expert on 36-16 roll

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The 2022 Eastern Conference finals continue with a potential elimination game on Friday evening at TD Garden. The Boston Celtics lead the Miami Heat by a 3-2 margin, with Boston aiming to close things out in Game 6. After Miami won two of the three contests, Boston is riding a two-game winning streak, and the Celtics will play in front of their own fans with a chance to clinch a berth in the NBA Finals. The injury report is busy for both teams, with Marcus Smart (ankle) and Robert Williams III (knee) listed as questionable for the Celtics. Tyler Herro (groin), Kyle Lowry (hamstring), Max Strus (hamstring), P.J. Tucker (knee), and Gabe Vincent (hamstring) are listed as questionable for the Heat.

Tipoff is at 8:30 p.m. ET in Boston. Caesars Sportsbook lists Boston as the 8.5-point home favorite, while the over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 201 in the latest Celtics vs. Heat odds. Before making any Heat vs. Celtics picks or NBA predictions, you need to see what SportsLine expert Zack Cimini has to say.

A Las Vegas handicapper who’s never afraid to buck conventional wisdom, Cimini excels in multiple sports. Over the past 34 NBA picks, Cimini is 23-11, returning almost $1,100 to $100 players. He is also on an amazing 36-16-1 run with his last 53 against-the-spread picks involving the Celtics, returning $1,748 to $100 players.

Now, Cimini has set his sights on Celtics vs. Heat, and just locked in his picks and NBA playoff predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see his picks. Here are several NBA odds and betting lines for Heat vs. Celtics:

  • Celtics vs. Heat spread: Celtics -8.5
  • Celtics vs. Heat over-under: 201 points
  • Celtics vs. Heat money line: Celtics -450, Heat +350
  • Celtics vs. Heat tickets: See tickets at StubHub
  • BOS: The Celtics are 11-5 against the spread in playoff games
  • MIA: The Heat are 9-7 against the spread in playoff games

Featured Game | Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat

Why the Celtics can cover

Boston’s defense is in a groove, but the Celtics are also scoring at a high level. That combination leads to Boston’s +8.7 net rating in the series against Miami, and the Celtics are shooting 80.1 percent on more than 29 free throw attempts per contest. While the Heat are struggling to create quality shots, Jayson Tatum is averaging 26.9 points per game in the postseason and Jaylen Brown is averaging 25.0 points per game on 43.6 percent 3-point shooting in the series. 

Defensively, the Celtics are absolutely dominating the proceedings, holding Miami to 88.5 points per 100 possessions in the last two games. Over the larger sample of the full series, the Celtics are allowing fewer than 1.05 points per possession to the Heat, and Miami has an ugly 50.6 percent true shooting mark that includes only 40.7 percent from the field and 29.2 percent from 3-point distance. The Heat are also averaging only 19.6 free throw attempts and 19.4 assists per game against the Celtics, and Boston is averaging 7.6 blocked shots per game.

Why the Heat can cover

Miami projects as a desperate team in Game 6, and the Heat do have strong metrics to lean on in this matchup. Miami has an elite offensive rebound rate of 30.8 percent in the playoffs, and the Heat are committing only 11.6 turnovers per game in the series against Boston. In the regular season, the Heat also led the NBA in 3-point accuracy at 37.9 percent, and they are likely due for positive regression after two games of substandard perimeter shooting. 

On defense, Miami is elite, dating back to a top-four mark in overall defensive efficiency during the regular season. The Heat led the NBA in points allowed in the paint and, in the series, Miami has been even better in limiting Boston to only 37.2 points per game in the paint. The Heat are also opportunistic, forcing a turnover on 16.1 percent of defensive possessions against the Celtics and averaging 8.8 steals per game in the series. Miami is also a stout defensive rebounding team, with opponents securing fewer than 26 percent of missed shots.

How to make Heat vs. Celtics picks

For Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, Cimini is leaning over on the point total, but he also says a critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back. He’s only sharing what it is, and which side of the Heat vs. Celtics spread to back, at SportsLine.

So who wins Celtics vs. Heat? And which side of the spread is a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Heat vs. Celtics spread you need to jump on Friday, all from the expert that has crushed his NBA picks, and find out.  

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