The Boston Celtics (26-7) will be at home in TD Garden when they take on the Miami Heat (15-15). The games Over/Under (O/U) opened at 201 points with Boston set as an 8-point favorite. Action gets underway at 7:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, December 20, 2017, and it can be seen on Fox Sports Sun.
Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics Free Preview
The Heat were beaten by the Atlanta Hawks in their last matchup, 110-104. Josh Richardson put together a solid performance for Miami, leading both teams in scoring with 26 points on 10-for-19 shooting. Atlanta had a turnover percentage of 11.0 (better than their season average of 14.1). Miami, meanwhile, did an excellent job of getting and making free throws (25-30; 83.3 percent).
The last time the Celtics played, they defeated the Indiana Pacers, 112-111. Boston’s Al Horford had a good game, contributing 14 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Boston’s 0.658 effective field goal percentage was their largest strength over Indiana, who had a mark of 0.513. The Celtics mark was above their season average of 0.519.
Half-court execution will be at a premium when two of the leagues slowest-paced teams clash. Boston ranks 25th in possessions per game (97.3) and Miami is 24th (97.4). Also, the Heat’s 22nd-ranked offense (offensive efficiency of 102.9) will face a difficult test against the Celtics top-ranked defense (defensive efficiency of 101.5).
Of Miami’s 30 games, 18 have finished under the O/U total, while 17 of Boston’s 33 games have finished over the O/U total. Looking at straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) records, the Celtics have a sizable advantage. They are 26-7 SU and 21-10-2 ATS, while the Heat are 15-15 SU and 11-17-2 ATS.
Richardson has taken his game to another level over the last five games for Miami, averaging 14.4 points, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks per game.
These two teams have already met twice this year, each winning once. In the most recent game, Goran Dragic scored a game-high 27 points and the Heat beat the Celtics 104-98, covering as 1.5-point underdogs. He also recorded five rebounds. The two teams combined to put up 202 points, which was 6 points above the projected point total of 196 points. Miami had a better offensive rebounding percentage (18.9 vs. 14.6). Boston, meanwhile, had a much better turnover percentage (10.3 vs. 15.4).
Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics Betting Prediction
Predictions: SU Winner – Celtics, ATS Winner – Heat, O/U – Under
- The Celtics rank fifth in steals allowed per game (7.0) while the Heat rank 15th (8.0).
- Boston ranks fourth in blocks allowed per game (4.1) while Miami ranks seventh (4.3).
- Miami ranks 20th in points off turnovers per game (15.8) while Boston ranks 29th (13.9).
- Miami is third in the NBA with 20.1 assists allowed per game while Boston is fourth with 20.2 assists allowed per game.
- Miami is 9-8 ATS on the road with 11 unders, 5 overs and 1 push.
- Boston is 9-5-2 ATS at home with 9 overs and 7 unders.
- Boston is 18-0 when they hold opponents under 100 points, while Miami is 11-3.
- The Celtics are 19-3 when they reach the century mark, while the Heat are 11-6.
- The Heat rank first in three pointers allowed per game (24.8) while the Celtics rank sixth (26.5).
- Boston ranks second in second chance points allowed per game (10.4) while Miami ranks 19th (12.7).
- The Celtics rank 13th in rebounds per game (44.1) while the Heat rank 25th (41.0).
- The Heat rank 26th in points in the paint per game (39.9) while the Celtics rank 27th (39.4).
- Boston ranks 17th in fast break points per game (10.0) while Miami ranks 28th (7.6).
- Boston is 1-3-1 ATS with 3 overs and 2 unders in their last five games.
- Over their last five games, Miami is 2-3 ATS with 4 unders and 1 over.
- The Celtics have been outscored by an average of 3.8 points in their last five games. On the season, Boston has defeated opponents by an average of 5.3 points.
- During their last five games, the Heat have scored an average of 100.0 points per game (0.2 below their season average) and allowed an average of 95.4 points per game (6.8 below their season average).