- The Miami Heat are now the -150 favorites to win the Eastern Conference.
- Miami defeated Boston 11118-107 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
- Al Horford remains unavailable for Game 2 while Marcus Smart is listed as probable.
The Miami Heat replaced the Boston Celtics as the betting favorites to win the Eastern Conference Finals after winning Game 1 of the series. With Al Horford still out and Marcus Smart listed as probable to play in Thursday’s Game 2 at the FTX Arena, the Heat have seen their conference odds shorten further.
Boston opened as the -165 odds on favorite to win the Eastern Conference Finals after dethroning the Milwaukee Bucks as NBA champions in the East semifinals. But without Smart and Horford in Game 1, the Celtics went from +1.5 to +4.5 points underdogs prior to tip-off and lost to the Heat by 11 points at 118-107.
After the game, the Heat supplanted the Celtics as the East betting favorites at -125 odds. Now with Smart and Horford once again uncertain to play in Game 2, Miami is now the -150 favorite to win the East at the best NBA betting sites.
Smart Aiming to Return in Game 2 But Horford Unlikely
Sources to @ChrisBHaynes: Celtics G Marcus Smart is aiming towards a return in Game 2 against the Heat, but Al Horford is unlikely.
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) May 18, 2022
Early reports on Wednesday suggested that Marcus Smart is aiming to return from a foot injury in Game 2 after the Celtics upgraded his status from out to probable. Smart suffered a right foot sprain during Boston’s Game 7 win against the Milwaukee Bucks. According to sources, Smart’s status will depend on how his foot will respond to treatment heading to Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Celtics are not expecting Horford to be cleared from health and safety protocols by Thursday and will likely play Game 2 without their starting center. Horford tested positive for COVID-19 just hours before the Game 1 tip-off, causing Celtics head coach Ime Udoka to make adjustments on the fly. Robert Williams III played a very good game in Horford’s absence with 18 points, 9 rebounds, and two blocked shots. But Boston missed Horford’s veteran presence and poise when the Heat made their third-quarter run.
Without two of their starters who also happen to be two of their top defensive players, Jimmy Butler feasted on the Celtics with 41 points to give the Miami Heat a 1-0 series lead. Without Smart, Butler toyed around with every defender that Udoka placed in front of him, including Grant Williams and Jayson Tatum. Tatum finished with 29 points, but he scored only 8 in the second half when the Heat were pulling away.
Celtics are a +4 in Game 2
Heat take Game 1.
GM 2 Thursday:
Celtics +4 @ Heat
Total = 206
Updated Series Odds:
— Dave Mason (@DaveMasonBOL) May 18, 2022
The Heat opened as -4.5 point favorite to win Game 2 but those odds have since dropped by half a point to -4.0 in the latest BetOnline betting boards. According to early betting data from the DK Sportsbook, 59% of the bets and 89% of the dollars have been wagered on the Celtics at +4 odds despite Horford sitting out the game and Smart’s status uncertain.
Bettors may be aware that the Celtics are still 11-4-1 ATS despite losing Game 1 and 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 games in Miami even if the Heat coveted the spread in their last two head-to-head meetings. . Boston is also 19-7-1 ATS in their last 27 road games and 7-1-1 ATS in their last nine games as road underdogs. During their current 34-10 SU and 28-15-1 ATS run, Boston has lost back-to-back games only once.
However good the betting trends look for the Celtics in Game 2, there is no doubt that Horford will be sorely missed by the team. The 35-year-old Horford averaged 13.0 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.7 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game against the Bucks while having his big moments on both offense and defense.