NBA picks, best bets: Celtics to keep Heat in check as East finals shift to Boston; take the under in Game 3

USATSI

With the 2021-22 NBA regular season betting now in the books, the basketball market is hotter than ever. CBS Sports will be providing daily picks for the duration of the postseason. Sam Quinn will make at least one pick for every game between now and the NBA Finals. All lines courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.

Featured Game | Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat

So … it turns out Marcus Smart and Al Horford are fairly important to Boston. The full-strength Celtics torched the Heat in Game 2 because having their full starting lineup unlocks their switching scheme. Butler had a far easier time bullying lesser defenders in Game 1, and as such, the Celtics had to commit more resources to him and less to Miami’s shooters. Not so much of an issue in Game 2, and with the Celtics getting Derrick White back in Game 3, their defense should be even more fearsome. The pick: Celtics -6.5

The over has hit in consecutive games, but not for sustainable reasons. Smart and Horford explain the high-scoring Game 1, and Boston making 20 3-pointers was responsible for most of the Game 2 scoring. With standard shooting, the point total is going to lower a fair bit. White’s return helps Boston’s defense. If Kyle Lowry is healthy enough to play? All the better. As limited as he was against Philadelphia, he should be a defensive upgrade over Gabe Vincent unless he is significantly compromised. The pick: Under 207.5

Bam Adebayo has now played six games since Joel Embiid returned to Miami’s second-round series against Philadelphia. He’s scored 12 or fewer points in five of them. This is n’t a big enough sample to suggest anything overarching about Adebayo as a playoff performer, but he’s just not doing much to create his own shots against centers that he ca n’t punish through his sheer athletic advantage. Maybe he’s injured. Maybe he needs Lowry to set him up more than we realize. But right now, Adebayo just isn’t scoring. The pick: Adebayo under 13.5 points

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