Celtics Gear Up For Heat As Boston Looks To Continue Playoff Push

by NESN Staff

March 24, 2015

After taking sole possession of the final playoff spot in the NBA’s Eastern Conference with a dominant upset victory over the Brooklyn Nets, the Boston Celtics will be gunning for back-to-back straight-up and against-the-spread wins when they face the Miami Heat on Wednesday.

The Celtics claimed victory over the Nets on Monday while pegged as five-point road underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The win ended the club’s three-game SU and two-game ATS losing streaks that had threatened to extinguish its fragile playoff hopes.

But with the Nets, Charlotte Hornets, and Indiana Pacers all struggling for SU wins in recent outings, opportunity knocks for Boston, which will enter Wednesday night’s Heat vs. Celtics betting matchup at TD Garden with a slim half-game lead over the ninth-place Hornets.

While a Celtics playoff berth would surpass expectations set in the preseason, when they were written off as 200/1 long shots in NBA futures betting at the sportsbooks, it has been their success on the NBA betting lines that has been truly impressive.

Since opening the season on a 5-9 ATS run the Celtics have consistently rewarded sports betting fans, going 36-20 ATS since the beginning of December including a solid 20-10 ATS record on the road.

However, Boston has struggled against the Heat, going 1-2 SU and ATS in three previous matchups this season according to the OddsShark NBA Database, including a disappointing 83-75 loss in early February while pegged as 3.5-point home favorites.

The Heat’s visit to Boston marks the third game in their current four-game road trip that opened on Sunday with a 93-75 loss to Oklahoma City, followed by a date with Milwaukee on Tuesday night in which they take on the Bucks as slim one-point favorites.

With just a 1.5-game lead over the Celtics in the standings the Heat will be hungry for a SU win over Boston, but could be depleted by a tough schedule that will have seen them play four games in six nights.

The Celtics follow up Wednesday’s game with a visit to MSG on Friday night when they take on the last-place New York Knicks.

Boston picked up a pair of SU and ATS wins over the Knicks in February after dropping a 101-95 decision on home court back in December. The woeful Knicks start the week at the bottom of the NBA standings, enduring a four-game SU and ATS losing streak, and have posted just two SU wins in their last 13 games, going 4-9 ATS.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

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