In an NBA Eastern Conference finals that most experts predicted would go 7 games, the hype has been lived up to. Not only has the on-court product been fascinating to breakdown, so has the gambling.
The Boston Celtics began the series as a -130 favorite to win the series. The Miami Heat closed at +105 to win the series before Game 1.
Celtics -1.5 | Over/Under 209
If not for the heroic block of Bam Adebayo on Jayson Tatum at the end of overtime, this series could be a whole different story. Instead, the Heat took a 1-0 lead, covered the spread (+1.5) and the Over hit during the end pf regulation. If the game hadn't gone to overtime, the total would have been 212.
Vegas thought that the Celtics would bounce back. Brad Stevens is a great coach, Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, and Jaylen Brown are smart players, they thought the right adjustments would be made. Boston closed as a 3-point favorite (-3.0) and the total was set at O/U 208.
Well, the Heat proved everyone wrong again. They moved to 10-1 in the playoffs with a 106-101 victory. They covered the spread again, but this time the under barely hit. The game ended at 207.
Vegas doubled down on Boston again. Favored by 3.5 points (-3.5) the Celtics did not disappoint again. With a 117-106 victory they brought the series to 2-1, making Game 4 have massive implications. The Over hit again, like it did in Game 1, but this time it crushed it. The game ended at 223 while Vegas had the O/U at 209. How much of this had to do with the return of Gordon Hayward to the Celtics' lineup.
So what will happen tonight? Boston is again favored by 3.5 points, just like in Game 3. The O/U is set at 211.5. Analytics are so important in gambling. Play the numbers. Use the stats to your advantage. There was one clear difference between the first 2 games and Game 3. That was Gordon Hayward. Check out what they had to say on ESPN's "The Jump" about his impact.
Erik Spoelstra and the Heat will have tweaked their game plan to try and limit Hayward's effectiveness. The game should be hovering right around that total again, along with the spread always being close.
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