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It’s “nut-crunching time” in the Boston Celtics (2-3) at the Miami Heat (3-2) Saturday in Game 6 of the 2023 NBA Eastern Conference Finals (ECF). Boston rallied back from a 3-0 deficit and now the pressure is on Miami to win this series.
The pace typically slows down in basketball when the pressure builds. So it feels like common sense to bet UNDERs in Games 6 and 7 in a playoff series. Yet the public cannot help themselves. People love betting Overs.
Per VSIN, 74% of the action at DraftKings Sportsbook for Celtics-Heat Game 6 is on the Over as of Saturday at 11:30 a.m. ET. More bets are on the Over in Game 6 than on Boston’s or Miami’s spreads and moneylines.
Since a contrarian mindset is a good place to be as a sports bettor, the UNDER 210.5 (-110) in Celtics-Heat Saturday is my favorite look. Also, because I cannot help myself, I’ll have some action on the HEAT PLUS THE POINTS in Game 6.
Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat Game 6 odds (DraftKings)
- Tip-off: 8:30 p.m. ET.
- Venue: Kaseya Center in Miami.
Totals in Games 6 and 7 are 16-29 Over/Under (O/U) over the last three postseasons with a -5.1 O/U margin. This includes the NBA Orlando Bubble playoffs where shooting improved in empty gyms and no travel fatigue.
Games 6 and 7 totals are 2-7 O/U with a -7.3 O/U margin this postseason. There are two counterpoints to this trend. First, the average final score of these 2023 playoff Games 6 and 7 is 108.6-103.9, which is more than the Celtics-Heat Game 6 total.
Second, we are getting late to the party on the Under. Celtics-Heat Game 6 opened with a 213.5-point total and got steamed down to the current number. But, there is still value in …
UNDER 210.5 (-110), down to 210
Miami’s starting PG Gabe Vincent missed Game 5 and is expected to play in Game 6. Veteran Heat PG Kyle Lowry was awful Thursday. If Vincent can’t give Miami good minutes then the Heat’s offense will suffer.
Remember, the Heat are also missing SG Tyler Herro. Miami’s injured backcourt forces Jimmy Butler to be the point guard. Butler likes to slow the game down and operate in the half-court.
Plus, Miami’s identity is a slower pace, defensive team. During the regular season, the Heat was 29th in pace and 9th in defensive rating. They allowed the 2nd-fewest paint points per game and forced foes into tough, contested 3s.
Furthermore, only 11.1% of the Heat’s 3-point looks in the ECF have been “wide-open”. The Charlotte Hornets’ 15.5% wide-open 3-point attempt rate was the worst in the NBA regular season.
Heat-Celtics Game 6 feels like it’s going to be one of those NBA playoff rock-fights. The Celtics played their best defense of the playoffs Thursday and Miami cannot get into an open-court shootout with Boston.
BET: UNDER 210.5 (-110) in Celtics-Heat Game 6
Gambling strategy: Put 0.75 units (u) on the Under 210.5 (-110), 0.25u on the Heat +3 (-110), and 0.25 on a player prop. For example, 1 unit = $100.
Miami +3 (-105), down to +2
Honestly, this is Part II of a Spite Bet I’m making against the Boston Celtics. It would be the worst thing in sports if they came back from a 3-0 deficit to win this series. Also, I hate the way the Celtics play.
They are front-running frauds. Boston’s offense is so corny and 3-point dependent, it’s annoying to watch. The bottom line is if the Celtics hit 40% of its 3s, they win. If they don’t, they lose.
This is going to be a simple analysis but it’s a best-of-seven series and 40% of seven is 2.8. Based on Boston’s 3-point shooting, the Celtics should win three games in the ECF. But, I’ll take the points with the Heat in Game 6 and Game 7, if necessary.
Miami needs to turn this into a half-court game and protect the ball. The real reason the Heat lost Games 4 and 5 is because they gave up 27.0 points per game off of turnovers.
The Heat have better half-court offensive efficiency than the Celtics in the ECF, according to CleaningTheGlass.com. Plus, Miami’s “clutch” net rating is +70.2 in this series.
“Clutch” is when a game has a 5-point margin with five minutes to play. Butler is one of the best closers in the NBA and can grind the Celtics down if Game 6 gets into “clutch” time.
Boston probably won’t hit 40% of its 3s in four straight games. If the Celtics do, well, a tip of the cap to them and I’ll root for the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals.
PS Player Prop: Heat SG Max Strus Points (10.5)
- Over 10.5: (-125)
- UNDER 10.5: -105
Teams rely less on role players in the championship rounds of playoff series. Strus already has the 2nd-lowest usage rate for Miami in this series ahead of only backup SG Haywood Highsmith.
He gave the Heat great minutes in Game 5 with Vincent out so Highsmith might eat into Strus’ minutes Saturday. Highsmith scored 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting Thursday, which was 2nd behind Butler’s 16 points in Game 5.
More importantly, I’m following Pinnacle Sportsbooks’s lead on this one. Pinnacle lists the UNDER for Strus’ point prop with heavier juice than the Over. The opposite is true for DraftKings and the other legal U.S. sportsbooks.
This is significant because Pinnacle is considered the sharpest shop in town. Pinnacle books the largest sports bets in the world and sportsbooks like DraftKings usually copy their odds. Apparently, DraftKings is lagging behind here.
BET: UNDER 10.5 Miami SG Max Strus points (-105)
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