If there is anything we have learned from watching the Celtics vs. Heat series, both teams are inconsistent when the pressure rises. Both teams in games 4 & 5 struggled to produce their offensive potential with Boston averaging 97.5 points and Miami averaging 81 points.
In game 6, Jimmy Butler woke up and chose violence. After scoring a total of 27 points in games 3, 4, & 5, Butler caught fire and scored 47 points in game 6. It took this effort from Jimmy to show his team why they were not going down in Boston on Friday night. The likelihood of Jimmy scoring over 40 points in game 7 tonight is slim. In his playoff career, Butler has only scored 40 or more points 6 times in 97 playoff games.
With game 7 going back to Miami, some interesting trends have been happening on the total line. On Friday night, shortly after the conclusion of game 6, the O/U total line opened across multiple sportsbooks at 198.5. Since then, the line has dropped down to 196.5 and even as low as 195.5.
While the O/U total line has moved drastically in less than two days, the number we all need to look at is the team total for the Celtics. According to Covers, the Celtics team O/U team total is set at 99.5. In this series alone, Boston has gone over 100 points in 5/6 games played against the heat. In the playoffs, the Celtics have gone over 100 points in 15 of their 17 games.
With the spread currently at -3 in favor of Boston, Vegas and other books are saying that the final score for this game will be around 100-96 with the Celtics winning. Not only should the Celtics win, but they will have to score over 100 to do so. Miami does not have the depth to keep up with the Celtics defensively. In game 6, the Heat did a great job of taking Tatum out of the 4th quarter and limiting him to only one FG attempt. With Butler taking control and Tatum being a non-factor, there was no surprise why the Heat pulled away in the end.
One thing that stands out in this game 7 matchup is that the Celtics have better offensive weapons in Tatum, Brown, and Smart than the Heat does with Butler, Lowry, and Tucker. I trust the Celtics to score well over 60-65% of their points with these three guys alone. I can’t say the same for the Heat. Without Butler working his magic again, Lowry and Tucker are too inconsistent to carry the weight. Look for this game to stay close and Tatum to take more control in the 4th quarter than last game.
I can see both of these teams scoring over 100 points in this game, but with the chance of Miami laying an egg offensively, the better play is for the Celtics to score over their projected team total of 99.5.
Best Bet: Celtics TT over 99.5 for 1U (-110)
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