ESPN's fantasy basketball and basketball betting tips cheat sheet is your pregame destination for basketball betting predictions and our best intel and data, featuring ESPN's proprietary Basketball Power Index (BPI) to help you make smart fantasy and wagering decisions. NBA game odds for Tuesday are provided by Caesars Sportsbook.
What you need to know for Celtics-Heat Game 4
The Miami Heat are one win from joining the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals. The improbable run from the eighth-seeded Heat includes them being favored over the Boston Celtics tonight for the first time in the series. For those seeking some DFS competition, note that tonight features a Showdown format that caters to this single game.
The Showdown format tasks managers with selecting a team captain, a player who will earn 150% more fantasy points given this distinction. A key option for captaincy is Jayson Tatum, who struggled badly from the field in Game 3's blowout loss but should consume a massive workload tonight. His rebounding and defensive production will help build big lines. Marcus Smart is also an ideal utility option given his ability to rack up assists and rebounds even when his shot isn't falling.
It's no shocker that Jimmy Butler also merits consideration, especially if he's tasked with playing nearly 40 minutes again. He's logged at least 40 minutes over the past five games, cruising past 50 DraftKings points each time. Complementary options for Miami are fairly plentiful, while my model favors Caleb Martin as the ideal glue guy to pair with Butler in lineups. With everything on the line, it will be interesting to see which players step up.
-- Jim McCormick
Breaking down Celtics-Heat Game 4
Records (against the spread)
Celtics: 57-25 (45-36-1)
Heat: 44-38 (30-49-3)
Line: Heat (-1.5) Total: 216
Money line: Heat (-120), Celtics (+100)
Celtics: Danilo Gallinari, (OUT - Knee)
Heat: Kevin Love, (GTD - Lower Leg); Tyler Herro, (OUT - Hand); Victor Oladipo, (OUT - Knee)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play
Best bet: Celtics ML (+100). It's a hard sell and I understand that, but sweeping is no easy task. Boston shot a lousy 39.8% from the field and 26.2% from 3 in Game 3. Positive shooting regression is on the way. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were nearly absent in Game 3 with a combined 26 points. The Heat are the better team and will win the series. But the Celtics will surprise and win Game 4 with their backs against the wall. -- Erin Dolan
Best bet: Jimmy Butler over 41.5 points + assists + rebounds. Butler has been a dominant force this postseason averaging 29.9 PPG, 5.6 APG and 6.7 RPG. He has outshined Jayson Tatum in this series, highlighting the gap between them. Butler knows how difficult it is to reach the NBA Finals and I'd be shocked if he lets the opportunity for the Heat to compete for a championship slip through his fingers. Expect him to be relentless in Game 4. -- Eric Moody
Best bet: Over 216.0 points. The Celtics are teetering on the edge of elimination, and I'd be shocked if they don't unleash an offensive onslaught on Tuesday night. The Heat and Celtics have averaged a combined 228.3 points in the first three games of the series and six of the past seven matchups between these two teams have met or exceeded 216 points. This is going to be another high-scoring game. -- Moody
Best bet: Celtics +1.5. Game 3 was an embarrassment for the Celtics and perhaps they just want it all to end now, but I think they find a way to get a game or two in this series. This remains a talented, well-coached team with star players and experienced veterans. I bet the Celtics win this one. -- Eric Karabell
Best bet: Jaylen Brown over 23.5 points. Brown has struggled with his shot and Miami defenders have certainly played a role, but to go 2-for-20 on 3-point attempts in the first game, it just seems like he will improve soon. Brown also figures to be more aggressive; he has shot four free throws in the series. Brown averaged 26.6 PPG this season. Is he really not going to approach this number in this series? -- Eric Karabell