Heat vs. Celtics prediction and odds for Game 1 of Eastern Conference Playoffs (Take points in opener)

Feb 11, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA;  Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) gets called for a foul on
Feb 11, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) gets called for a foul on / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

In a rematch from the last two Eastern Conference Finals, the Heat and Celtics meet yet again in the postseason when the Heat travel to Boston for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. 

Miami, without Jimmy Butler, smoked the Bulls in the Play-In Tournament finale in order to lock up a spot in the postseason, but now face the best team in the NBA in the regular season, the Boston Celtics. Miami stunned Boston in the postseason last year, but the Celtics are far better this season and are overwhelming favorites to advance. 

However, can the Heat pull another stunner and compete with the Celtics yet again, despite the injuries? 

Let’s break it down with our Game 1 betting preview. 

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Heat vs. Celtics odds, spread and total

Heat vs. Celtics how to watch

  • Date: Sunday, April 21st
  • Game Time: 1:00 PM EST
  • Venue: TD Garden
  • How to Watch (TV): ABC

Heat vs. Celtics injury reports

Heat injury report

  • Duncan Robinson - back - Questionable
  • Jimmy Butler - knee - OUT
  • Terry Rozier - neck - OUT

Celtics injury report


Heat vs. Celtics key players to watch

Miami Heat

Bam Adebayo: With no Butler, the Heat are going to rely on Adebayo to keep a lid on the Celtics league best offense. The Heat know that the offense has a limited ceiling, but the defense will remain stout with him shutting off the rim and bringing the likes of Kristaps Porzingis away from the rim to open up driving lanes. He may not put up a monster stat line, but Adebayo’s impact will be felt in this one. 

Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum: After an ankle turn in Game 7 last year against the Heat, Tatum will look to avenge last year’s loss in 2024. He has been steady against the Heat this season, averaging about 25 points, nine rebounds and six assists, but has been a net positive in all three games. 

Heat vs. Celtics prediction and pick

The Celtics swept the season series with Miami, but two of those were decided by single digits. 

Yes, Butler won’t be on the floor, but the Heat have been as good on defense when he is off the floor than when he is on it, a negligible difference in points allowed per 100 possessions, per PBPStats. 

The Miami offense does average seven fewer points per 100 without Butler on the court, but I’d rather lean on the Heat’s defense to limit the Boston offense that is incredibly reliant on the three-point shot. The Heat will let teams shoot from deep, 25th in opponent three-point attempts per game, but 5th in three-point percentage allowed. 

If the Celtics are going to keep chucking away from distance, give me the team who has a game under its belt in a playoff setting without Butler and a disciplined defensive scheme that can stymie the perimeter attack and have Adebayo roaming around the rim. 

I’ll take the points in the opener. 

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.