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Celtics try to even series vs. Heat

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Celtics try to even series vs. Heat

It should be the Boston Celtics’ turn on Monday night.

The Miami Heat won and covered in Game 1, the Celtics came back and won and covered easily in Game 2, and then the Heat pulled a big upset in Game 3, winning straight up as a 6.5-point underdog.

The Celtics are again 6.5-point favorites at BetMGM for Game 4 in what becomes a critical game for them. Boston is capable of coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the Eastern Conference finals, with two games remaining in Miami, but that’s a road they’d rather avoid.

One issue for the Heat on Monday is their injury report.

The biggest injury is to Jimmy Butler, who left Game 3 with a knee issue. Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes said Butler intends to play in Game 4. However, Butler could have issues again during the game, be less effective than usual or simply wake up not feeling as strong as he hoped. And that would be a massive loss for Miami.

Miami also has Kyle Lowry (hamstring), Tyler Herro (groin), PJ Tucker (knee), Max Strus (hamstring) and Gabe Vincent (hamstring) listed as questionable. Missing any of those players (other than perhaps Lowry, who has played only six playoff games due to injury) would be a big loss for Miami. And again, just because they’ll play does not mean they’ll be effective through injury.

Boston is a very good team and now it has some urgency. Miami has been underrated all season and if it is fairly healthy for Game 4 it should be competitive enough to cover a fairly big spread. But, if you like the Heat, keeping an eye on injury reports before placing a bet on them might be the wisest move.

Kyle Lowry (7) of the Miami Heat reacts after a late basket in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics in a Game 3 win.  (Photo by Elsa / Getty Images)

Kyle Lowry (7) of the Miami Heat reacts after a late basket in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics in a Game 3 win. (Photo by Elsa / Getty Images)

Here’s a first look at the sports betting slate for Monday:

Blues try to keep pace with Avalanche

In the NHL playoffs, the St. Louis Blues have been competitive against the Colorado Avalanche, the Stanley Cup favorites most of the season. But they still have lost two tight games and need to win on Monday to avoid a daunting 3-1 hole in the series. The Blues are +135 underdogs in a huge game. It’s hard to believe they could come back from 3-1 down in the series to advance.

The Tampa Bay Lightning looked to close out the Florida Panthers, who had the best regular-season record in the NHL but might get swept out of the playoffs in the second round. The Lightning have won the Stanley Cup the past two seasons and are simply built for the playoffs. They’re -125 favorites to finish the sweep on Monday.

MLB has 12 games on Monday

There are some intriguing MLB series starting Monday. Two good ones start on the West Coast, with the Milwaukee Brewers visiting the San Diego Padres and the New York Mets at the San Francisco Giants.

The Brewers, which had the best 40-game start in franchise history, take on a Padres team that is 27-14, a game better than Milwaukee so far. The Padres are small -115 favorites. The Mets, trying to survive some pitching injuries, are +120 underdogs at the Giants.

What’s the best bet?

As crazy as it sounds, given how the series has gone, the Panthers are a threat to be the rare team to come back from 3-0 to win its series against the Lightning. If they win Monday, Game 5 would be back at home, then they’d just have to win Game 6 to force a seventh game. Florida as phenomenal during the regular season. It’s at least possible. Tampa Bay is an experienced team and it will not let the Panthers have that hope; take the Lightning as a -125 favorite.

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