Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics Monday NBA Preview & Free Pick

Heat vs Celtics NBA Handicapping

Because the talent divide in the NBA is so great, long winning streaks are possible. Talent almost always wins out, and on occasion a superstar call in the finals seconds assures that the underdog won’t be able to pull off an upset.

Miami Heat (51-14) at Boston Celtics (36-29)
Monday, March 18
TD Garden, Boston
8 p.m. EST
Odds: Heat -5 from Bovada
O/U: 189

Matchup | Preview

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So it is with Miami, which owns the best player on the planet playing at his peak along with a supporting cast that is good enough to pick up the slack on those rare times when LeBron James is unable to dominate.

The formula has worked like a charm for 22 straight games – home and away, good refs and bad refs, other teams packing it in or playing hard. And tonight the Boston Celtics get perhaps the league’s last chance until March 31 (Miami at San Antonio) to put a stop to it all.

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The Celtics have rebounded nicely since Rajon Rondo went down for the season the last time these teams met, in Boston on Jan. 27, six days before Miami’s put things in high gear and the streak started. Boston won that Rondo injury game, and has continued to flourish even after rookie big Jared Sullinger and veteran guard Leandro Barbosa were also lost for the year with injuries.

Tonight Boston may be without its defensive glue, Kevin Garnett, whom the team says is dealing with hamstring issues. Garnett missed last Saturday’s game against Charlotte, but the thinking in Boston was that he was just getting a little extra rest in anticipation of extended minutes against the Heat.

The team now says he’s 50-50 for tonight, so no one knows what to think. [ad-6571516]

Boston coach Doc Rivers understands the hype and the fact that Heat-haters are looking at tonight’s game as an Alamo-type last stand, but says in reality it’s just another stop on the 82-game regular-season grind:
“I think [winning the game] is important for short term, but what does that get you when you play Atlanta in the first round?

You know, it doesn’t do anything that you beat Miami. They could care less. If you caught Miami later, I guess for us, knowing that you can beat them.

But we already know that. We’ve beaten them earlier in the year.”


There likely won’t be a line on this game until oddsmakers get word on Garnett one way or another, but the chances are good that Boston will do everything it can to turn this one into a taffy pull. It might be worthwhile to look at the O/U rather than the side.

Bettors have looked at Miami-Boston lines in the 186-188 range during the regular season, but playoff games between these two last season were a full 8 points lower (178).

Despite what Rivers says, this one will have the look and feel of a playoff game, and with the Celtics trying to control tempo, an UNDER play deserves a long look if the posted number is 188 or higher.

By Lawrence Paul

Lawrence Paul is back in the saddle as a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. He's got an AMAZING knack for predicting when a team will have a letdown! Stick with our resident gambling experts sports betting tips all season long!