The Celtics are even heavier favorites for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday against the Heat after they dropped the series opener Wednesday.
Boston can be found as a 9-point favorite following its 123-116 loss at home to Miami, its frequent foe on this stage. Jimmy Butler led all scorers with 35 points and caused havoc with six steals in the upset win as the Easts No. 8 seed won Game 1 for the third round in a row. Jayson Tatum responded with 30 points of his own on the heels of his 51-point performance in Game 7 vs. the Sixers but the three-point differential proved too much for the Cs to overcome.
Below youll find a few betting picks, notable trends and one question for Game 2, which tips off at 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT.
Jimmy Butler Keeps Stuffing the Stat Sheet: Bet Butler Over 34.5 Points + Rebounds
Butlers 35 points on Wednesday were his most since Game 5 of the Milwaukee series. And that scoring output alone would have put him over his 34.5 combined points and rebounds prop (-115) for Game 2, not to mention his five boards. In the Knicks series, he only hit the over on this prop one time across five games, though he did so in four of five games against the Bucks and his playoff averages of 31.5 points and 6.5 boards put him over the mark comfortably.
Jayson Tatum Gets Active on the Glass: Bet Tatum Over 9.5 Rebounds
Tatum has been the Celtics best rebounder in the postseason and he leads the team with 10.4 boards per game. In Game 1, though, he corralled just seven misses, which matched his lowest output in the playoffs. Tatum has hit double-digit rebounds in nine of 14 games and grabbed as many as 18 in a game against the 76ers last round. Given the way both offenses shot in the series opener, there werent a lot of rebounding opportunities to go around — Jaylen Brown led all players with nine. Look for those shooting numbers to regress and for Tatum to record another double double. (Hes -125 to double double but the over on his 9.5 rebounding prop is -118, so youre better off just betting on his boards.)
Max Strus Overs Keep Cashing: Bet Strus Over 12.5 Points
Strus is in the midst of an incredible run of outperforming his point totals. Hes hit the over on his scoring prop in six consecutive games dating back to Game 2 of the New York series — not coincidentally, hes taken 10 or more shots in each game as well. Struss over/under for Game 2 in Boston is up to 12.5 points (with +104 odds on the over), which hes cleared in each game on this current stretch. He went for 15 points on Wednesday on 6-10 shooting (3-5 from beyond the arc) and, crucially, played 34 minutes, which was well above his postseason average.
Can the Celtics Cover at TD Garden?
Boston began the playoffs 2–0 against the spread at home after covering 10-point spreads in Games 1 and 2 against Atlanta. Since then, the Cs have gone just 2–4 against the spread in front of their fans, and that includes the series opener against the Heat when they were favored by 8.5 points and lost outright. Boston can be found as a 9-point favorite in Game 2. After the Celtics lost the first game of the 76ers series at home last round, they rebounded with a 34-point win to avoid going down 0–2 and covered the 7.5-point spread several times over.
NBA Playoffs Betting Record: 20–22
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