Cavaliers vs Celtics Game 5 Prediction: NBA Odds, Expert Pick (Wednesday, May 15)

Cavaliers vs Celtics Game 5 Prediction: NBA Odds, Expert Pick (Wednesday, May 15) article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: Jayson Tatum.

Cavaliers vs Celtics Game 5 Prediction: NBA Odds, Expert Pick (Wednesday, May 15)

Wednesday, May 15
7 pm
Cavaliers Odds
-110 / -110
Celtics Odds
-110 / -110
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Here's everything you need to know about Cavaliers vs. Celtics on Wednesday, May 15 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today's game.

The Celtics took a commanding 3-1 series lead on Monday, with a 109-102 win in Cleveland. The Cavaliers were without Donovan Mitchell, who missed his first game of the series with a calf strain. 

Given the nature of calf strains and their ability to turn into more serious injuries, I'm not expecting Mitchell to play in Game 5. Cavs big man Jarrett Allen also continues to appear on the injury report and risks missing his seventh straight game.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Despite Mitchell’s absence, the Cavs managed to cover the 11.5-point spread in another instance of a team covering despite missing a high-usage star. I like backing teams in this situation because it tends to be a letdown spot for the opposing team, while motivation will be high for Cleveland without its go-to guy.

Additionally, the Cavs' roster construction is particularly equipped — for better or worse — to withstand an injury to a starting player because of its roster redundancy. Mitchell and Darius Garland both need the ball in their hands to be most effective, while Allen being out hurts the defense, but improves the spacing because it means Isaac Okoro or Marcus Morris Sr. gets the starting nod instead. Both are much better shooters than Allen and better defenders than Mitchell.

Without Mitchell, Garland’s skills are maximized and he can fully run the offense (again, for better or worse). He doesn’t always get the most efficient buckets, but he does get buckets without Mitchell in the lineup. His Points + Rebounds line is appealing if Mitchell is out again.

Boston Celtics

Boston has now been without Kristaps Porzingis for more games than it has had him in this series. Game 5 will be his sixth straight game out, although he has resumed on-court activities and could suit up in the conference finals.

Without Porzingis, Boston head coach Joe Mazzulla has had to make some rotation adjustments, namely playing Jayson Tatum the entire first quarter instead of just the first eight or so minutes, but he’s also been the biggest recipient of the usage vacuum that Porzingis left. Unsurprisingly, the lineup change has led to big first quarters for Tatum, who's averaging 10.8 first-quarter points in the five games without the big man in the playoffs.

Another recipient of extended run since the injury is backup center Luke Kornet. He’s been the natural next man up without Porzingis in the lineup and has been productive in his minutes. He’s gone from 4.3 minutes per game to 13.7 since the injury. Al Horford has struggled in the past few games, so we could see Kornet step up in his place and get a few more minutes in Game 5, especially if this turns into a blowout.

Cavaliers vs. Celtics

Betting Pick & Prediction

I like a few player props in this game since I don’t have a strong read on the side or total. I lean toward the Celtics coming out strong in this game after playing with their food in Game 4. but the line is too steep for me to get involved.

I will take a play out of my colleague Joe Dellera’s playbook and bet Tatum over 7.5 first-quarter points. He’ll play all 12 minutes and since I expect Boston to come out firing, I think it’ll be led by Tatum.

The other play is Kornet to record a block at -135. He’s gotten at least one block in all but one game since Porzingis has been out. The only game he failed to record one is when Cleveland blew out the Celtics in a 118-94 victory back in Game 2. He got his minutes, but there wasn’t much defense at the end of the game.

Finally, I’ll bet Garland to exceed his points + assists line at 25.5. Garland sees a usage spike without Mitchell and he’s averaged 31.7 P+A over the past three seasons against Boston, recording 26+ in seven out of nine games in that span. He’s also exceeded in six of the last 10 games without Mitchell.

Cavaliers vs Celtics Picks

Jayson Tatum Over 7.5 1Q Points
Luke Kornet Over 0.5 Blocks
Darius Garland Over 25.5 Points + Assists

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Daniel Preciado
May 27, 2024 UTC