Celtics vs. Heat Game 5 Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s 5 Best Bets (May 25)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jaylen Brown.
- Our NBA staff has five best bets for Game 5 of Celtics-Heat tonight.
- Brandon Anderson, Joe Dellera, Matt Moore and Raheem Palmer all have picks for this matchup.
- Check out their analysis and best bets below.
With Game 5 between the Celtics and Heat in Miami tonight, our Action Network NBA analysts have five best bets for this crucial matchup. They are targeting player props, a team total, and spread picks.
NBA Odds & Picks
Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat
Joe Dellera: Jaylen Brown had one bad game in Game 4, but the volume and usage is still there – he’s made three or more 3s in six of seven against the Miami Heat this year, and he’s cleared this in nine of their last eleven games.
Even in Game 4, he still attempted six 3s, and he is averaging 3.3 makes on 7.6 attempts (43.4% shooting) against Miami this year.
The offense is funneling Brown opportunities, and he has taken eight, seven, nine, and six 3-point attempts in this series. Even with the down game, Brown has led the series in scoring by piling up 25 points per game with an efficient 116.8 points per 100 shot attempts, especially given the defenses in this series. Consequently, expect him to bounce back from a down game and make over 2.5 3s in Game 5.
Raheem Palmer: The Eastern Conference Finals series between the Celtics and Heat has been anything but predictable as both teams have taken turns blowing out the other. In many ways we’ve seen outlier performances from both teams in their wins, however it’s clear the Heat come into this pivotal Game 5 with more struggles on the health front with Jimmy Butler (knee) and Tyler Herro (groin) both dealing with injuries that caused them to miss time in this series.
While Robert Williams and Marcus Smart have also missed time, we’ve seen the Celtics overcome their losses. The Heat aren’t nearly as deep, and with Kyle Lowry still recovering from a hamstring injury, it feels like the Heat don’t have enough offensively, particularly against a Celtics team which boasted the top ranked Defensive Rating in the league this season (106).
Excluding Game 3, where the Celtics laid an egg for much of the game, it feels like they’ve been the better team throughout much of this series, and they likely win Game 1 if they aren’t coming off a grueling seven-game series against the Milwaukee Bucks. Nonetheless, I’ll back the Celtics here to win and cover Game 5.
Brandon Anderson: I don’t want to take a side in this game.
I like the Celtics better, but the books apparently do too, making Boston a road favorite in Miami where the Heat had been untouchable all playoffs before the Celtics shot the leather off the ball in Game 2.
Boston has been the better team over the course of the series. The Celtics have more playmakers and scorers, and I trust them more on both offense and defense. But Miami is really good, mentally and physically tough, and not going to go away easy. The Heat know they need this one, and they may get it.
I still prefer Boston, but playing the team total gives me more outs. If the Celtics do get the road win, it’s very likely the Celtics go over 102.5 points. Boston’s defense just about always shows up, so it’s the offense that dictates Celtics victories. Boston had scored 108 or more in every playoff win until going under this line by half a point after 15 minutes of Game 4 garbage time.
But the Cs can go over this even in a loss too with the number so low. They scored 103 and 107 in two losses this series, hitting this over. That makes Boston 3-1 to this over for the series, and the team is averaging 110 points per game against Miami, including 117 PPG on the road. Since Boston became this juggernaut version of itself in late January, the Celtics are averaging over 104 points per game even in losses.
A Celtics win almost certainly clears this number, while a loss might still give us a coin flip. Boston has gone over 102.5 points in 12 of 15 postseason games, hitting this over 80% of the time. That’s the best play for Game 5 because it gives us multiple paths to victory.
Matt Moore: You should absolutely wait to see if Jimmy Butler plays in this game. He’s not listed on the injury report for Game 5.
Assuming he plays, Miami is 9-5 straight up and against the spread in the playoffs since Butler joined the Heat in games where he scores more than 20 points and 6-3 SU and ATS at home (2-0 this postseason). In these playoffs, Miami is 2-1 SU and ATS after Butler scores fewer than 20, including Games 3 and 4 when he scored just eight and six points.
Butler is a lot like Jayson Tatum in that the game can come and go from him at times, but he usually responds when called upon. Miami is 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS at home in these playoffs. They’ve been lights out in these types of games.
For the Heat to be getting points in this spot with Butler not on the injury report is absolute madness. There is a market perception that seems heavily aligned with the public narrative that Boston is somehow leagues beyond the top seed in the East.
Brandon Anderson: Jaylen Brown continues to be massively important for Boston this series. Jayson Tatum has his hands full with P.J. Tucker and Jimmy Butler giving him all he can handle defensively, and Tatum has a big defensive role too. But that means Brown gets the softer matchup on both ends, and it means he has a size advantage as well. And until a poor Game 4, he had taken advantage of it.
Brown had just 12 points, seven rebounds, and a single 3-pointer in Game 4, all three numbers his lowest of the series. But even including that game, he’s still leading Boston in both points and rebounds for the series. Brown is now averaging 25.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, and he should have a bounce-back game here.
Let’s start with the 3s, since that one’s more straightforward. Brown made only one trey last game, but he had a few others go halfway down and finished 1-of-6. Some nights the shots just don’t fall, but the volume was still there, and Brown has still gone over 2.5 made 3s in six of seven Heat games on the season and nine of his last 11 against Miami overall. Keep playing the over.
As for the rebounding, that’s not a new trend for Brown. He’s a terrific positional rebounder and has averaged 7.6 RPG over his last 25 playoff games, so this line remains too low. Brown has at least seven boards in all four games this series, so he’s gone over the line all four times, and this prop gets even better if Robert Williams is limited or out, leaving the Celtics smaller overall and Brown playing bigger.
Brown actually leads both teams in rebounds with 34 on the series compared to 30 from Al Horford and 29 from Bam Adebayo. Brown is still +330 to lead the series in rebounding at DraftKings, and he’s +1900 to lead in RPG at FanDuel. Horford is the leader there at 10.0 RPG — remember he missed Game 1 — but Brown is in play on both of these the way he’s rebounding this series.
You know what else he’s still in play for? Conference Finals MVP. If you already tailed along the way, you probably don’t need to triple-down here, but at +1300 at FanDuel, Brown is still a juicy pick to win the first Larry Bird trophy. He’s ahead of Tatum in points and rebounds per game, and he’s shooting better from the field and on 3s while also committing eight fewer turnovers.