Is Jimmy Butler Playing? Jimmy Butler will play for the Heat as they head to Boston to take on the Celtics for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The game is expected to tip-off at 08:30 PM ET, Wednesday, May 17th, 2023.
Given how strong the Celtics have been this postseason, it’s no surprise they come into Game 1 an 8 point favorite, with many expecting them to take an early 1-0 series lead.
The Celtics and Heat are set to clash once again in the Eastern Conference finals. Butler of the Heat is confident in his team’s ability to secure the NBA title, declaring that this year belongs to them. The series opener will take place on Wednesday, with Miami visiting the Celtics.
This marks the third meeting between the two teams in the past four seasons at the conference finals. The Celtics will have a new coach, Joe Mazzulla, leading them this time, replacing Ime Udoka, who was fired prior to the season. Mazzulla faces the challenge of matching wits with the highly respected Erik Spoelstra, the coach of the Miami Heat.
The regular season saw Boston and Miami splitting their four matchups, each team winning on their home court. Both teams are well aware of each other’s strengths and will bring a high level of intensity to the series. The Celtics’ Jayson Tatum and the Heat’s Butler will be key players to watch, as they have delivered impressive performances against each other in previous matchups.
ODDS AND PREDICTIONS
The Celtics have emerged as the third-best team against the spread this season, including the playoffs, boasting a cover rate of 56.8 percent, as reported by teamrankings.com. In contrast, the Heat find themselves ranked 27th in covering spreads, with a cover rate of only 42.4 percent. With injuries to Herro and Oladipo, Miami’s lack of depth will likely become more apparent in this series, especially considering Boston’s array of talented perimeter players who excel in scoring.
Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been consistent contributors, each averaging 24 points or more, while Marcus Smart, Malcolm Brogdon, and Derrick White all contribute with over 12 points per game. Additionally, Boston’s ability to contain MVP candidate Joel Embiid in the post suggests that Bam Adebayo will also struggle to put up significant scoring numbers against Al Horford and Robert Williams III.
Although Butler is exceptional, the defensive prowess of White, who recently made the First Team All-Defense, and former Defensive Player of the Year Smart will pose significant challenges. Consequently, Boston is the superior team in this matchup and is likely to establish their dominance in Game 1. Therefore, it is recommended to bet on Boston to win and cover the spread in Game 1.
Spread: Celtics -8
Moneyline: Celtics -375, Heat +300
Pick: Celtics -8
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