The Miami Heat have long sensed that it’s their destiny to take reach this year’s NBA Finals, but first they must overcome the Boston Celtics for the Eastern Conference title. It promises to be an intriguing series, with both teams nursing injuries and arriving starting with questions over their capacity to eventually contend for the championship.
Miami, despite the possible absence of Chris Bosh for the entire series, are 1.17 favourites to reach the Finals, with Boston hefty 5.05 outsiders. But there are plenty of reasons to back the Celtics to snuff out the Heat.
In the regular season, Boston won the head-to-head 3-1. Although this is a different environment, they should take some confidence from those results, especially with Bosh’s ongoing health issues. Neither side was at full strength for the last meeting between these sides (a 78-66 Boston win) but in the game prior to that, the Celtics allowed LeBron James to score 36 points and still secured a 115-107 victory.
That sort of form suggests it’s worth a punt at the match going over the total points forecast of 179.0, at 1.91. And despite their lack of real rest since closing out the 76ers on Saturday, take a punt on Boston at +8 on the handicap at 1.91 – or even just to win outright at a generous 4.40.
Elsewhere, with the countdown to the Olympics now under way, it’s worth keeping an eye on the bets available in the forthcoming international friendlies. Croatia and Great Britain get an early outing tonight with the London 2012 hosts worth a look at 3.20.
Bet of the Day: Take Boston to shock Miami in Game 1 at 4.40