NBA Playoffs expert picks, odds for Wednesday: Celtics vs. Heat, Thunder vs. Pelicans Game 2s

The NBA Playoffs continue Wednesday night with Game 2s for the No. 1 vs. No. 8 matchups: Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder vs. New Orleans Pelicans. The odds for both favor the top seeds by a significant margin, but the Pelicans took Game 1 down to the wire. Would it be the NBA playoffs if there weren’t plot twists?

Still, our experts are picking solidly along party (seed) lines for tonight’s games. The Celtics are playing some of their best ball, and it’s hard to see the Heat challenging that core without Jimmy Butler or Terry Rozier. The Thunder, meanwhile, didn’t look like themselves for a lot of Game 1 against a Pelicans team playing sans Zion Williamson, but Shai Gilgeous-Alexander came through in the clutch to put them up 1-0.

We’ve got odds, previews and predictions for Celtics-Heat and Thunder-Pelicans below.

All odds from BetMGM. Find the best deals on StubHub for tickets.

No. 1 Boston Celtics vs. No. 8 Miami Heat

How to watch: 7 p.m. ET on TNT

Celtics lead series 1-0

Series odds: Celtics’ odds unlisted, Heat +4000

Oof, those Boston threes. They just kept raining down on Sunday, with the Celtics tying a franchise playoff record of 22 3-pointers — and an NBA first with every player who had minutes in the game sinking at least one from deep.

Boston came out hot from the start, leading by 14-0 in the first three minutes, and never really cooled. They led by double figures the entire second half and closed the game out 114-94 in a wire-to-wire win. Jayson Tatum got his first career playoff triple-double with 23 points, 10 boards and 10 assists. But even that wasn’t the most impressive part of watching this game. Six Celtics had double-figures, and the way this Boston team moves the ball is a thing of beauty.

The Heat, meanwhile, have their work cut out for them without two of their top playmakers in Butler and Rozier. For a beat on Sunday, it looked like Miami was bringing it back. They kept Boston scoreless for the final two minutes of the first quarter and opened the second quarter with a Jaime Jaquez Jr. bucket that brought the score within three, the closest it would get before Boston pulled away again.

Bam Adebayo had 24 points on 18 attempts. The bench combined for 29 points, 17 of which went to Delon Wright, a bright spot in an otherwise dim night for Miami.

It’s hard to see this Celtics team losing one in this series. The odds of a Boston sweep are -175.

Expert picks for Celtics vs. Heat

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No. 1 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. No. 8 New Orleans Pelicans

How to watch: 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Thunder lead series 1-0

Series odds: Thunder -1200, Pelicans +750

What happened to the Thunder on Sunday? They were 9-point favorites heading into the game but nearly fumbled against a Zion-less Pelicans squad. The game was, in the words of The Athletic’s William Guillory, “an exhausting rock fight.” Both sides struggled to create shots, and the game was tied 43-43 at halftime.

Though the Thunder managed to pull away in the third quarter, New Orleans brought it back and tied it with 3:58 to go in the fourth. A critical floater by Gilgeous-Alexander drew a foul and put the Thunder three points ahead with 32 seconds left. The Pelicans weren’t able to get back the lead and lost 94-92.

But the Thunder had a bad game (by their standards) and still managed to win. The Thunder haven’t scored under 100 since they lost to the Bucks 118-93 13 games ago.

With Williamson still sidelined, the Pels did a great job limiting the Thunder, but they are going to need Brandon Ingram to step up if they want another shot at beating this Thunder core, which isn’t likely to play as poorly again. Ingram averaged 20.8 points per game during the regular season but only got 12 points on 5-of-17 shooting on Sunday. Gilgeous-Alexander had 28 points on 11-of-24 shooting, and Jalen Williams contributed 19, plus 4 assists and 7 rebounds.

Expert picks for Thunder vs. Pelicans

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(Photo of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Cooper Neill / Getty Images)

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