Heat vs Celtics Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions | NBA Playoffs Game 5 Betting Preview (May 25)
Pictured: Caleb Martin. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)
- The Boston Celtics look to extend their season as the host the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
- However, instead of targeting a side in this game, our NBA betting expert is playing numerous player props.
- Continue reading to see who Andrew O'Connor-Watts is backing in Heat vs. Celtics Game 5.
Heat vs. Celtics Odds
|Time||8:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Boston Celtics finally managed to win a game against the Miami Heat, but it may have come too late. In 149 instances, no NBA team has come back from a 3-0 deficit to win the series. Fourteen of those teams won two straight to force a Game 6, but just three have forced a Game 7.
Few have accomplished the feat in all of professional sports. The last one to do so in a Conference Finals (or equivalent) was the Boston Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS. They famously won the World Series that year for the first time in franchise history since 1918, breaking the Curse of the Bambino.
While a comeback is highly improbable, a switch did seem to flip and the Celtics played in a way we hadn’t seen from them in this series thus far. Their defense locked in for the second half and Boston finally looked like the team it was throughout the regular season. Whether the Celtics can sustain that high level for another three games remains to be seen.
Let’s break down the odds and I’ll give out my betting picks for the Miami Heat vs. the Boston Celtics Game 5.
The Heat have been the surprise of the playoffs. They started their improbable run by becoming just the sixth No. 8 seed to upset a No. 1 seed.
That surprise is thanks in part to increased production from their role players, most notably Caleb Martin and Gabe Vincent.
Martin is averaging 12.9 points per game in the postseason and 18.5 in this series, up from 9.6 during the regular season. His points prop at 12.5 is very appealing.
Vincent scored 17 in Miami’s Game 4 loss and 29 in Game 3, but he injured his ankle in Game 4 and is questionable for Thursday’s game. His props are still available and the under could have some value, despite his recent performance.
This high-level production from the role players has been a surprising change from the regular season. The Heat had just a 112.3 Offensive Rating in 82 games — good (or bad) enough for 25th in the league, according to NBA Advanced Stats. In the playoffs, the Heat offense is third (116.8), trailing only the Denver Nuggets (119.7) and Boston Celtics (117).
That spike in offense has led to an over/under record of 10-4-1 (71.4%) in the playoffs, compared to a 51-47-1 mark during the regular season (52%).
The Celtics looked headed toward another disappointing result after two quarters as they failed to take a commanding halftime lead. The first two minutes were mostly back and forth until the Celtics found themselves in a familiar situation with an offensive possession starting to break down at the hands of Jaylen Brown in the corner. In that moment, something happened that seemingly hadn’t happened all playoffs: head coach Joe Mazzulla called a timeout in the middle of the possession.
One criticism of Mazzulla has been his hesitancy to call timeouts when things get rough. He usually opts to let things play out, either a sign of trust that his players will work through the adversity, or a possible symptom of paralysis.
Whatever the reason, his timeout in that moment boosted the Celtics. They came out of that timeout and Derrick White hit a wide open 3 — something he’s done at a high volume this series. Boston then turned up the defensive intensity and went on an 18-0 run.
The Celtics defense has largely been the issue in this series and in the playoffs writ large. Despite a rough start, they finished the season with the second-best defense in the league (110.6). In the playoffs, they’re 10th in Defensive Rating (113), worse than the Warriors, Kings and Nuggets.
My favorite play for Game 5 is over 215.5. Boston is 11-6 to the over in the postseason and Miami has gone over in over 70% of its games. Game 4 was the only game that stayed under, and it did so by just a point. (It certainly would have gone over if the Heat shot better than 25% from 3, or if the Celtics shot better than 66.7% from the free-throw line.)
The Heat scored 99 on Tuesday, but, according to ShotQuality.com, they were projected at 110.2. The Celtics scoring 116 was over their expected score of 107, but if we combine the two expected numbers, the over would have cashed.
I’ll also play some player props. Martin’s 3s prop of 1.5 is heavily juiced at most books (so tread lightly), but it’s a number he’s cleared in all four games this series and in six of his past seven. I’ll escalate that to 2.5 at +230.
Despite injury, Vincent’s points + rebounds + assists line is out there. It’s already been bet down from 18.5 to 17.5 at most books. I still like a play on the under at 17.5, despite him clearing that in three of four games this series. We don’t know how effective he’ll be if he does play, and he’s stayed below 17.5 in five of the past eight games.
Finally, Derrick White over 2.5 3s is +124 at FanDuel, but there are some +130s out there, so shop around. He’s cleared that line in every game this series.
Picks: Over 215.5 (-110) 1 unit play to 216.5 | Caleb Martin over 1.5 3s (-140) over 2.5 (+230) to win .5 units | Gabe Vincent under 17.5 PRA (-110) to win .5 units | Derrick White over 2.5 3s (+120) to win .5 units play to -110
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