The Boston Celtics will host the Miami Heat on Monday night in Game 4 of the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals. It’s time to continue our NBA odds series and make a Heat-Celtics prediction and pick for Game 4.
The Celtics are coming off a stunning Game 3 loss in this series. After losing Game 1 thanks to a terrible third quarter, Boston flexed its muscles in Game 2 and blew the doors off Miami. With the series shifting to Beantown, the Celtics seemed prime to take the lead with a strong Game 3.
Instead, the Heat ran out to a 21-point lead after one quarter and led by as many 26 points in the second quarter. Boston came storming back and looked poised to finally overtake Miami in the fourth quarter, only to fall short despite the absence of Jimmy Butler because of a knee issue. The Celtics’ 24 turnovers played a central role in their defeat, with those miscues leading to 33 Heat points.
There were a number of injuries in Game 3, with Butler, Tyler Herro, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart all dealing with something. Robert Williams missed the game with his ongoing knee problems. Their statuses could play a key role in the outcome of Game 4.
Here are the Heat-Celtics Game 4 NBA Playoffs odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
NBA Playoffs Odds: Heat-Celtics Game 4 Odds
Miami Heat: +7 (-110)
Boston Celtics: -7(-110)
Over: 206 (-110)
Under: 206 (-110)
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Why The Heat Could Cover The Spread
The fact that the Heat were able to hold on against the Celtics despite losing Butler for the entirety of the second half was nothing short of incredible. They also won despite Herro struggling with his shooting (4-of-15) and then sitting out at the end because of a groin injury.
Miami got a complete team effort in Game 3, led by the resurgence of Bam Adebayo. After a quiet first two games, Adebayo came out with the necessary force to dominate on Saturday, going for 31 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals. If the Heat get that version of Bam again, they can absolutely cover the spread in Game 4 and perhaps even steal another game on the road.
Not only was Adebayo incredible offensively in Game 3, but he anchored a terrific defensive performance. His four steals were part of a 19-steal night for Miami’s ferocious defense, which hounded Jayson Tatum into a brutal game. P.J. Tucker deserves a lot of credit there as well, and Tucker also hit a number of big shots.
Kyle Lowry and Victor Oladipo both chipped in four steals. Lowry didn’t shoot well in his return to the lineup from a hamstring injury by going 4-of-11, but his defense and leadership were crucial. Oladipo got the start in the second half for Butler and made his presence felt defensively, even as his offense struggled.
The Heat have been at their best in this series when they force turnovers and get out in transition, creating easy opportunities on the break. Miami’s half-court offense has been a slog against Boston’s elite defense, so getting those fast-break opportunities is crucial.
The Heat initially had six players listed as questionable, including Butler and Herro after their issues last game. While it looks like Butler and four of the others will play, Herro has been ruled out.
On the other side, if Boston is without Smart and/or Williams again (they’re both questionable), that’s a boost for Miami.
Why The Celtics Could Cover The Spread
The Celtics are known for their resilience. In fact, they’ve been historically dominant after losses in these playoffs. We saw them come back from three different series deficits against the Milwaukee Bucks, and then they destroyed the Heat in Game 2 on the road after losing Game 1. We should expect a far sharper Boston effort in Game 4.
This effort will be led by Tatum, who suffered through a 3-of-14 shooting night in Game 3 to go along with six turnovers. He made just one of his seven 3-point attempts. When the Celtics have really needed Tatum to deliver, he has stepped up in a big way.
Plus, it doesn’t seem like the nerve issue in his neck is going to keep him out of this game, because he’s listed as probable. Perhaps it affects his performance, but the best bet is that Tatum will play at a high level in what’s close to a must-win game.
Tatum should get enough help, even with the injuries. Jaylen Brown is coming off a 40-point night, and Boston’s defense has generally done a good job on Miami. As long as the Celtics don’t constantly cough up the ball and let the Heat get going in transition, Miami struggles to score efficiently.
The injuries are somewhat concerning, but both teams are banged up right now. Not having Herro is a tough break for the Heat because of his shotmaking ability.
Final Heat-Celtics Game 4 prediction and pick
The Heat shocked everybody in Game 3 to earn back home-court advantage. But given the Celtics’ track record after losses in these playoffs, they should be expected to bounce back in a big way, no matter what the injury report says. Boston is also simply the more talented team and will play with more focus in Game 4, allowing them to run away with the victory to tie things up.
Final Heat-Celtics Prediction & Pick: Celtics: -7 (-110)