The Daily Sweat: Heat look to sweep Celtics, set up Finals showdown with Nuggets

Will the Boston Celtics show any fight in Game 4?

The Celtics entered the conference finals round as the favorites to win the NBA title, but have been no match for Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat through three games of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Entering Game 4, the Celtics find themselves in a shocking 3-0 hole to the Heat after an embarrassing no-show in Game 3. After the Heat went into Boston and upset the Celtics in Games 1 and 2, the Celtics were blasted 128-102 in Game 3 in Miami.

The game was so lopsided that Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla pulled his starters with his team down by 30 points entering the fourth quarter. Boston’s two stars, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, combined for just 26 points on a woeful 12-of-35 from the field and 1-of-14 from 3. Miami, meanwhile, received excellent outings from role players like Gabe Vincent (29 points), Duncan Robinson (22 points) and Cody Martin (18 points) in a dominant victory.

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) during Game 2 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference Finals series, Friday, May 19, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) during Game 2 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference Finals series, Friday, May 19, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Now, the Celtics will look to avoid suffering the same fate of the Los Angeles Lakers, who were swept in the Western Conference Finals by the Denver Nuggets.

And not only are the Celtics facing elimination, they are actually underdogs for the first time all postseason for Game 4 on Tuesday night. The Heat are favored by 1.5 points at BetMGM with the total listed at 216.5.

The Celtics were favored by nine points in Game 1, 10 points in Game 2 and then were 4.5-point road favorites for Game 3. The outcome was the same each time, so the oddsmakers have the Celtics in the rare underdog role for Game 4. It’s the first time the Celtics are underdogs since April 7 vs. Toronto as they rested their starters in their second-to-last regular season game.

Plenty has changed since then as the Celtics find themselves staring at a potential sweep, an outcome that seemed unthinkable when the series began last week.

Here’s a look at the rest of the sports betting slate for Tuesday.

Golden Knights look to take 3-0 lead

The NHL playoffs are starting to look a lot like the NBA playoffs.

The Nuggets already swept the Lakers and the Heat can do the same to the Celtics. In the NHL, the Florida Panthers took a 3-0 series lead over the Carolina Hurricanes in the East Finals on Monday night. Over in the West, the Vegas Golden Knights can do the same in their series with the Dallas Stars.

Vegas won Games 1 and 2 at home, both in overtime. For Game 3, Dallas is the favorite playing on home ice. The Stars are -145 at BetMGM while Vegas is +120.

15 games in MLB

It’s a busy day in baseball with 15 games on the schedule.

Among the teams in action are the suddenly hot New York Mets, who have won five straight after a slow start to the season. The Mets are in Chicago to face the Cubs and the odds are even for this matchup at Wrigley — both teams are -110 on the moneyline.

The team with the longest active winning streak is the Houston Astros. The Astros have won eight straight and are coming off a 12-2 road beatdown of the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday. The Brewers have lost five of their last seven but will look to get back in the win column on Tuesday in Game 2 of their three-game series with the defending World Series champion Astros. The Astros are -135 favorites. The Brewers are +110 at BetMGM for Tuesday’s game.

What’s the best bet?

I’m going to go ahead and just take the Heat -1.5 to close this thing out. I’m not overthinking it. Boston will come out and compete hard in the first half before the Heat start taking control of the game midway through the third. The Celtics have not shown any mental toughness in this series. Why would they start now?