Celtics vs. Heat prediction, pick, Game 1 odds, TV channel, live stream, how to watch NBA playoffs online

he Celtics and Heat will face off in the No. 1 vs. No. 8 matchup in the Eastern Conference, which is also a rematch of the Eastern Conference finals from a year ago. Boston will surely want to exact some revenge against a Heat team that upset them a year ago, and while Miami isn’t a team you should write off, Boston is a far stronger team than it was a year ago.

The Celtics have been the most dominant team all season, as the additions of Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis have fit in seamlessly and made them stronger on both ends of the floor. Then there’s Jayson Tatum, who turned in another MVP candidate season. It’s easy to see why Boston is heavily favored, but Miami won’t go away easily.

The Heat, proved once again that you can never count them out, even if Jimmy Butler is sidelined, and after an injury-riddled season, they’ll try and upset the Celtics. But if there was ever a team that could pull something like that off, it’s Miami.

As we prepare for the Celtics and Heat matchup, here’s what you need to know ahead of this Eastern Conference first-round series.

Celtics vs. Heat Game 1
Date: Sunday, April 21 | Time: 1 p.m. ET
Location: TD Garden — Boston
TV channel: ABC | Live stream: fubo (try for free)
Odds: Celtics -14; O/U 208.5
Celtics: This is really Boston’s to lose, not just this game, but the whole series. Miami won’t have Butler, but that doesn’t mean the Celtics should take this game lightly. It’ll be important for Tatum, Brown and Porzingis to make a statement in this game, because it’ll set the tone for the rest of the series. On defense, Boston will have to focus on not letting Tyler Herro and Jaime Jaquez Jr. go off the way they did against the Bulls in the Play-In game.

Heat: Miami will be playing with their backs against the wall without Butler who has an MCL injury and is expected to miss several weeks, but we saw in that win against Chicago that its defense can carry them far. Miami’s done a good job of defending Boston in the past, but with Porzingis now in the mix, it’ll make things tougher for the Heat. Miami’s best bet to try and steal this game is making the Celtics uncomfortable on offense and controlling the pace a bit. The Heat are going into this shorthanded and can’t afford to let Boston to work up a huge lead because Miami doesn’t have the depth to withstand that.

If Butler were healthy this might be a more compelling series, but with him out I don’t see how Miami stands a chance. The Celtics are just too dominant and have very few weaknesses for the Heat to exploit. The Pick: Celtics -14

Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 1 prediction, TV channel, live stream, watch NBA playoffs online, game time, odds

We’re getting Round 3 in the first round of the playoffs as the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers will meet in the first round for the third time in four years. This may be one of the most exciting matchups of the first round in either conference, as both teams could make a deep run in the playoffs if they win this series. For the Clippers, they looked like a dominant team earlier in the season as the “Big 3” of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and James Harden seemed to be clicking, but they enter the postseason with health questions surrounding Leonard, which could significantly impact this matchup.

Dallas is riding high as the playoffs begin, with the Mavericks having the fifth-best record post All-Star break. Luka Doncic received some late MVP buzz, Kyrie Irving has been playing tremendous and the Mavericks seem to be peaking at the right time.

As we prepare for the Clippers and Mavericks matchup, here’s what you need to know ahead of this Western Conference first-round series.

Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 1
Date: Sunday, April 21 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Crypto.com Arena — Los Angeles
TV channel: ABC | Live stream: fubo (try for free)
Odds: Mavericks -2.5; O/U 223
Clippers: L.A.’s chances hinge on the health and availability of Leonard. He’s listed as questionable for Game 1 as he’s dealing with knee inflammation, and if he isn’t able to go, it’ll put the Clippers’ backs against the wall at home. Paul George and James Harden are certainly capable of carrying the load on offense, but this team is at its best when Leonard is healthy and performing at a high level on both ends of the floor. Even if he does play, he may not be at 100%, and could run the risk of either worsening the swelling in his knee, or being a liability on the floor.

Mavericks: This will be Luka Doncic’s third time facing the Clippers, and surely he’ll want to finally get a win against this team. This is perhaps the best team he’s had around him facing L.A., and Dallas could be getting their rookie big man Dereck Lively II back for Game 1, which only adds to the depth the Mavericks have. Lively missed the last eight games of the regular season with a right knee sprain, but he isn’t listed on Dallas’ injury report for Game 1 which is a positive sign. The combination of Lively and Daniel Gafford gives the Mavericks 48 minutes of rim protection, something they’ve never had before.

Given Leonard’s injury status, I’m going with the Mavericks to win Game 1. I feel like Doncic will want to set the tone for this series, and he’s historically played incredibly well against the Clippers on the road. The Pick: Mavericks -2.5

Mavericks have Game 1 edge vs. Clippers, why Heat can keep it close

Now that the 2024 NBA postseason has begun, the basketball betting 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.

Miami Heat at Boston Celtics
This series has some of the most lopsided lines you’ll ever see. The Celtics opened as -8000 favorites. Their sweep line of -110 implied better than a 50-50 chance at sending Miami home without a win. They might do that, but that doesn’t mean the Heat will make this easy. The Heat are 9-3 in their last 12 Game 1s. That is despite starting eight of those series as the lower seed. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is going to come up with some weird wrinkle that stifles Boston for a quarter or two. The Celtics should win. I refuse to pick a blowout in a Spoelstra Game 1. The Pick: Heat +13.5

Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Clippers
This is a somewhat speculative pick. Given how closely the Clippers guard medical information, there’s a chance we don’t know if Kawhi Leonard is playing until minutes before tipoff. The mere chance to grab the Mavericks at close to a pick ’em if Leonard doesn’t play is valuable, but even if Leonard does suit up, remember, Dallas took three of the four games in Los Angeles the last time these two teams played in the postseason. It’s also fair to wonder how Leonard will handle any rust or pain in this one. Leonard has returned from missing a game or games just three times this season, but in those games, he never topped 24 points and averaged less than 17. Mavericks at -1.5 is a reasonable bet even if the Clippers are at full strength. The chance that they aren’t just makes them even more tempting. The Pick: Mavericks -1.5

Indiana Pacers at Milwaukee Bucks
The Pacers went 4-1 against the Bucks this season. Giannis Antetokounmpo played in all five of those games. This would be relevant against any opponent. It is especially important against the Pacers because Antetokounmpo had separate 54- and 62-point games against Indiana this season. Indiana’s defense is designed to limit 3-point attempts at all costs, and the tradeoff to doing so is very limited rim-protection. Antetokounmpo punishes them for that. The rest of the Bucks? Not so much. The Pick: Pacers -1.5

New Orleans Pelicans at Oklahoma City Thunder
Oklahoma City has one weakness: rebounding. Here’s my overarching prediction for Game 1: the Pelicans try to stifle Oklahoma City’s offense by letting Jonas Valanciunas “guard” Josh Giddey, but really just hang around the rim and beat Chet Holmgren for rebounds. There are adjustments the Thunder can make to that, like starting Isaiah Joe in place of Giddey. That probably isn’t a Game 1 adjustment. Expect Valanciunas to rack up the rebounds against a Thunder team that doesn’t mind conceding them. The pick: Valanciunas over 8.5 rebounds