Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:45 PM EST
Boston -1½ -110 over Miami
NBA Playoffs – Eastern Conference Finals – Game 1
6:40 PM EST. Miami has lost just one game in the postseason and they have covered in every game they have emerged victorious in. The one loss? An overtime defeat when the Heat opened as a two-point favorite against a Bucks’ team that was literally fighting for their lives down 3-0 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. However, one can easily chalk that result up to the Bucks looking to save face and avoid a sweep after being touted by all as the team to beat in the East previous to Miami exerting its will upon them. Beating Milwaukee was such ease resonated loudly but it’s not just the way the Heat beat Milwaukee that has elevated their stock. Miami also washed the floor with the Pacers by wiping them out in four straight games with each victory being by nine points or more. The Heat have barely broken a sweat in the first two rounds.
The Celtics also delivered a sweep in the first round of play but it wasn’t nearly as impressive when compared to the Heat. Boston eliminated a 76ers’ bunch that played like they didn’t want to be in the bubble. Boston covered in three of their four victories against Philly, and then they shifted into a higher gear when they opened up with two consecutive wins against the defending champion Toronto Raptors. However, from that point forward, Beantown had a difficult time delivering the knock-out blow. The C’s were separated from a 3-0 lead by way of a buzzer-beater basket that gave Toronto its first win of the series. From that point forward, the Dinos would take the Celtics to a seventh game. The series against Toronto was a hard fought one that was filled with momentum swings, riveting fourth quarters, a double OT game and much emotion. One could sense the relief Boston felt when the final buzzer rang to be rid of the Raptors. Some are suggesting that the series against Toronto wore down the Celtics but we’re going to suggest the opposite.
We cannot overstate how incredibly resilient and difficult to beat Toronto was. The Raps have nine threats that the Celtics had to deal with for 30 quarters straight. We assure you that the Celtics are not taking a step up in class here. The Celtics have more offense and defense at all three spots than Miami does. Of course, Jimmy Butler is going to be a pain and Miami is not a one-man show by any stretch but Miami’s stock is a bit too high right now and it’s time for them to get humbled by the better team. Miami deserves everything they have earned but their path to the Eastern Conference Finals has not been met with any resistance, which does not not bode well when the Celtics come knocking and puts immense pressure on each and every one of their possessions.
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Boston -1½ -110 (Risking 2.20 units - To Win: 2.00)