NBA Predictions: Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat

Boston Celtics at Miami Heat
Tuesday, 12/27/11, 8:00 PM EST, TV:  TNT
Opening Point Spread:  Miami -10
Current Betting Line:  Miami -10.5
Opening Total:  N/A
Current Total:  N/A
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Miami Heat look primed to run away with the Eastern Conference this year
Wade will matchup with Manu Ginobili tonight

Boston was unable to hold onto a second-half lead in dropping a 106-104 decision to the New York Knicks as five-point road underdogs on Christmas Day.  The Celtics played that particular contest without the services of star forward Paul Pierce, who is listed as questionable with a heel injury.  Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said that Pierce would come off the bench due to being limited in practice.  Boston is 15-13 ATS after allowing 105 or more points the last two-plus seasons.

The Celtics will need to get a major performance out of point guard Rajon Rondo on opening day, scoring 31 points and dishing out 13 assists.  Boston should anticipate that Miami will match up star LeBron James on the former Kentucky Wildcats guard.  Rondo averaged 10.0 points and 7.6 assists in the team’s playoff series loss to the Heat, playing the final two-plus games with a dislocated left elbow.  Boston won the regular-season series, 3-1, and guard Ray Allen led the squad in averaging 20.3 points per game on 57.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

Miami tallied an impressive 105-94 win over the Dallas Mavericks to open the season as 4.5-point road favorites, gaining revenge from an NBA finals loss in six games.  “We tried to play aggressive,” commented James after the game.  He finished with 37 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.  Star guard Dwyane Wade got his 2011-12 campaign off to a great start, putting up 26 points and eight rebounds.  Miami is 20-10 ATS in December the last two-plus years.

The Heat and Celtics meet for the first of four match-ups this season.  Miami is 36-55 all-time versus Boston during the regular season, including a 21-26 mark when playing games in South Beach.  James set several opening night team records, including his 37 points and 15 free-throw makes.  Miami opens up its home schedule tonight and is 13-10 in home openers, winning the last three.

Bettors will likely back the Heat due to their 6-2 ATS mark in home games, while the Celtics are 3-7 ATS on the road.

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