As the Boston Celtics were drilling the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, I received a text message from a very respected Las Vegas bookmaker about his expectations for the series.
“(The Celtics) might win this in five,” he boldly opined.
Let me assure you, this fella is far from a prisoner of the moment. He’s been high on Boston for months and truly believes the C’s at full strength are the team to beat in the postseason. I just wasn’t expecting a prognostication about Boston winning four straight games to send Miami off for tee times.
“I’m enthralled with this team,” the bookmaker added.
Thanks to expanded betting markets at multiple American sportsbooks, we can bet on series exotics. For example, DraftKings Sportsbook is dealing prices on series correct score, series spread and total games.
So if you’re picking up what the aforementioned bookmaker is throwing down, there’s money to be made. The Celtics are +330 ($100 wins $330; pays out $430) to bounce the Heat in exactly five games. That is the second most-likely outcome after Boston in six (+180).
Celtics correct series odds via DraftKings:
BOS 4-2 +180 ($100 wins $180)
BOS 4-1 + 330
MIA 4-3 +380
BOS 4-3 +450
MIA 4-2 +950
MIA 4-1 +1600 ($100 wins $1,600)
When you consider Boston is already a 6.5-point favorite for Saturday’s Game 3 at TD Garden, the line implies a Celtics victory around 72 percent of the time. And the number shouldn’t be drastically different for Game 4 on Causeway Street, either.
So assuming Boston wins Games 3 and 4 as six-plus point favorites, the C’s would return to South Beach as a one-possession underdog for Game 5 with the ability to put the Heat away for good. At that point, Boston would be +160 to win the game outright.
But you could potentially be holding +330 in your back pocket if you bet Boston in five.
There’s no doubting how important it was to get Marcus Smart and Al Horford back in the lineup Thursday. Their knowledge of Ime Udoka’s defensive system — not to mention Smart’s on-ball defense on Jimmy Butler — simply cannot be underestimated. Miami pick-and-rolled Payton Pritchard to death in the series opener and that just won’t work against the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Feeling bold enough to take the Celtics to complete a gentleman’s sweep?