It’s getting towards the business end of the NBA Playoffs now, with the Conference Finals slated to get underway on Wednesday, the 16th of September with the Boston Celtics facing off against the Heat in the East.
The two great rivals played out some historic series when Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James and Dywane Wade were playing for the respective teams and this series is set to be another one to remember. We have a full series preview and our betting tips below.
Series Schedule - *if necessary
Game 1 - Wednesday Sep 16 (10am AEST)
Game 2 - Friday Sep 18 (10am AEST)
Game 3 - Sunday Sep 20 (10.30am AEST)
Game 4 - Tuesday Sep 22 (10am AEST)
Game 5* - Thursday Sep 24 (10am AEST)
Game 6* - Saturday Sep 26 (10am AEST)
Game 7* - Monday Sep 28 (3am AEST)
If you polled 100 people on who they thought would reach the Eastern Conference Finals, maybe 1 or 2 would have got this matchup correct. The Miami Heat were fantastic in the opening round, sweeping the Pacers before shocking the basketball world with a dominant win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Round 2. The Heat have lost just one game through the first two rounds and have looked like arguably the best team in the competition.
Unlike many of the other remaining teams in the playoffs, the heat don’t really have one player that has the keys to the car. Their success isn’t dependant on the performance of one player, and throughout their four wins over the Bucks, it was almost a different guy that was the standout player in each game.
The interior defence of Bam Adebayo and the playmaking of Jimmy Butler are both big factors to the Heat’s success but arguably their most important is the three point shooting of the surrounding cast in the likes of Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Jae Crowder, Goran Dragic and Kelly Olynyk. The Heat were the 2nd ranked team in 3pt% this season at 37.9 and will rely on the three ball throughout the conference finals series.
Facing the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals will be the Boston Celtics, who breezed past the Philadelphia 76ers with a first round sweep but needed all seven games to defeat the reigning champion Toronto Raptors in Round 2. Boston’s defence was in full flight in their series against the Raptors, keeping their opponents to fewer than 100 points in all four of their wins.
One massive factor for the Celtics could be the return of star Gordon Hayward. The talented wing played the first game against the 76ers in Round 1 but has missed every game since with an ankle injury. The return of Hayward gives the Celtics another valuable scoring and playmaking option that they lacked at times against the Raptors.
The key to the Celtics victory here is stopping the Heat three ball, luckily for htem, they are very equipped to do so. They have elite defenders all over the perimeter in Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum and throughout the regular season, they had the best 3pt defence in the league, allowing their opponents to shoot just 33.5% from beyond the arc.
What a tough matchup to call between two teams that are really evenly matched. On paper, you have to give the slight edge to the Celtics, especially with another star player in Hayward set to return. However, the Heat have never been a team that you judged on paper, they have something extra that has made them so dominant throughout this series.
The Celtics start as favourites, which we think is a bit odd given how the Heat dispatched of the Bucks in the second round. We are finding it hard to split these teams, and regardless of who advances to the finals, we think it will be a long series.
We tipped winning plays in both draws in the US Open and are back at it again with the French Open. Check out our best futures betting tips for the tournament right here! read more
The Group 1 Underwood Stakes headlines the program as we back up from Group 1 racing at the Valley on Friday night! Find Trent Crebbin's preview and betting tips for the day's action here! read more
We return to ‘Fight Island’ this weekend in Abu Dhabi for UFC 253 which is full of action fights that is headlined by a clash between two undefeated stars of the Middleweight division. Israel Adesanya attempts to defend his UFC gold for the second time against the Brazilian Paulo Costa and we have you covered with betting tips here read more
The best Australian sports betting sites ensure safe and successful online betting for punters. Here's our list of the best betting options in Australia. read more
Julian Vallance from Sportsbet takes us through some of the key factors which he uses with pricing upcoming horse races such as performance ratings. Check out his video from Sportsbet here. read more
Over-Round is an important concept for both punters and sportsbooks. It's how Australian sportsbooks make money! All punters should understand over-round, how to spot it, and how to find better value on the Betfair Exchange. read more
Ever wondered why you can get such great odds at Betfair in comparison to other online bookmakers? We break down why that is the case and why Betfair isn't just for professional punters here read more
The weather’s getting warmer and the horse racing schedule is heating up – that means Spring is here. Palmerbet is doubling down on the best time of the year with ‘40 Days of Value’, spring-loaded with bigger odds, hot tips and other offers to make it a Spring Carnival season to remember for punters. read more
That's it! The 2020 AFL regular season has come to an end and Brisbane's Lachie Neale has surely done enough to secure the 2020 Brownlow Medal with another brilliant game in Round 18. Let's take a closer look at our Round 18 Brownlow Medal vote predictions! read more
There's just one more round to go in the 2020 AFL season. Round 17 has completed and the Brownlow votes are locked away. It was a quiet round for those at the top of our Brownlow leaderboard, but there were a couple of stand out performances this weekend. Let's take a closer look at each match with our Round 17 Brownlow vote predictions. read more
2020 AFL Brownlow Medal predictions and vote tracker. Our AFL experts offer round-by-round Brownlow votes including a rolling Brownlow leaderboard and tracking for the 2020 AFL season. read more