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Thursday NBA Playoffs Odds, Picks: Our Best Bets for Celtics vs. Heat, Game 2 (May 19)

Thursday NBA Playoffs Odds, Picks: Our Best Bets for Celtics vs. Heat, Game 2 (May 19) article feature image
Credit:

Via Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat and Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics.

  • The Heat are home favorites against the Celtics in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday.
  • With Marcus Smart potentially returning for Game 2, how are our experts betting this matchup?
  • Check out their picks and analysis below.

The 2022 NBA Playoffs continue on Thursday with Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Heat took a 1-0 series lead after a 118-107 win in Game 1, but will the Celtics bounce back in Game 2?

Our NBA analysts have a bevy of angles that they are taking in tonight’s matchup, including props, spread picks, series props and more.

They share their best bets for this important Game 2 matchup below.

NBA Odds & Picks

Click on a pick to skip ahead
Tyler Herro Player Prop
Jaylen Brown Player Props
Game 2 Spread
Game 2 Spread & Series Prop
Game 2 Total

Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat

Pick
Tyler Herro Over 15.5 Points
Book
DraftKings
Tipoff
8:30 p.m. ET
TV
ESPN

Munaf Manji: In Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, I’m looking for Tyler Herro to step up and take some of the scoring pressure off of Jimmy Butler.

Going back to the 2020 bubble when these teams matched up in the Eastern Conference Finals, Herro averaged 19 points per game on 51.5% shooting from the floor. In Game 1 on Tuesday, Herro scored 18 points in 27 minutes of play. In fact, Herro was the second-leading scorer in Game 1 and overall for the Heat this season.

Expect more defensive pressure on Butler to open up opportunities for Herro to knock down 3-point shots and get to the basket. I expect Herro to play close to 30 minutes per game and get the same shot volume this series as Butler.

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Pick
Jaylen Brown Over 6.5 REB (+111) | Over 7.5 REB (+164)
Book
FanDuel

Brandon Anderson: I’m expecting a big series from Jaylen Brown, and he got off to a good start. Well, he sort of got off to a good start. It was a slow first few quarters for Boston’s second wing star, but he closed with a huge fourth quarter and finished Game 1 with 24 points and 10 rebounds, adding four 3s and giving the Celtics a chance late.

Brown was my pick for ECF MVP before the series, and I’ll bet him again at +1600 at FanDuel. Jimmy Butler and Jayson Tatum are the best players in this series, but they’re dueling and could end up somewhat cancelling one another out. Tatum especially has his hands full with Butler and P.J. Tucker defending him, so that puts Brown in a spot where he needs to step up and make a difference.

That was even more true in Game 1 with Marcus Smart and Al Horford out, and Horford is expected to miss Game 2 as well. That leaves Boston short its most important big, and it also leaves them, well, just short. Brown has been a terrific playoff rebounder, upping his RPG from 6.2 in the regular season to 7.2 in the playoffs over the last three years, playing more minutes and hitting the glass when his team needs it.

Over his last 24 playoff games, Brown is averaging 7.5 RPG. This line has moved up from 5.5 in Game 1, but now we get plus-juice with a line still in our favor at 6.5. I’ll also play the over 7.5 again at +164. Brown has had at least eight boards in 13 of his last 24 playoff games, hitting that prop 54% versus an implied 38%.

If you like Boston to win the game, you can also play a special PointsBet parlay available on a Boston win plus Brown over 6.5 rebounds at +350. That’s a great way to boost your Celtics ML play.

If you want to keep riding Boston — and don’t forget that ECF MVP bet — you can also play him to go over 2.5 3s. Brown has three or more 3s in seven of his last eight games against Miami, averaging 3.6 makes on 8.0 attempts over that stretch. He’s over that number in all four games against the Heat this year. Miami gives up a high volume of 3s, so Brown should keep seeing volume.

I’m expecting these Brown prop lines to rise as the series moves forward, so I’ll play the overs now before they jump. Pick your weapon — or weapons — of choice and fire away.


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Pick
Heat -3.5
Book
BetMGM

Raheem Palmer: The Miami Heat took a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals with their 118-107 victory on Tuesday night. The Heat have been dominant at home in the postseason, going 7-0 SU and 6-1 ATS, winning by an average of 16 points per game.

Miami’s performance at home during the postseason truly exemplifies how role players shoot better at home as this team is scoring just 101.2 points while shooting 43.6% from the field and 26% from behind the arc on the road vs. 112.9 points while shooting 48.2% from the field and 36% from 3 at home. Nonetheless I’ve seen enough to upgrade Miami’s power rating at home during the postseason while downgrading them on the road.

The Celtics come off a grueling seven-game series against the Bucks with only one day off between games. They’re at a disadvantage against a rested Heat team, particularly with the injury to Marcus Smart and Al Horford in the health and safety protocols.

While both missed Game 1, Smart is probable, and Horford is doubtful for Game 2. Although the Celtics won three out of the four quarters in Game 1, they still lost due to a horrific third quarter in which they were outscored 39-14. The Celtics turned the ball over at will and were out-rebounded, and yet it still feels like we didn’t see Miami’s best game.

The market will primarily be on the Celtics as many will have trouble seeing this team go down 0-2, but I think the Heat are undervalued here. I still like the Celtics to win the series, but they’ve yet to match Miami’s intensity, and that may not happen until they’re back home at the TD Garden. I’ll back the Heat to win and cover the spread in Game 2, but I fully expect this series to be tied 2-2 with both teams coming back to Miami for Game 5.


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Pick
Celtics +3.5 | Celtics Win Game 2 & Series (+225)
Book
DraftKings

Brandon Anderson: Game 1 did not go Boston’s way, but really it was about what we should’ve expected.

Every trend pointed toward Miami in Game 1. We know how good one-seeds are at home to start a series, and we definitely know how tough a turnaround it was for Boston coming off a brutal seven-game series against Milwaukee that ended barely 48 hours before. On top of all that, the Celtics lost two of their four best players for the game with Marcus Smart injured and Al Horford a late protocols scratch.

All things considered, it’s honestly quite impressive that the Celtics hung around as well as they did. Boston hung 62 on a great defense in the first half and led comfortably most of the way before those tired legs gave out after the half. The Heat went on 22-2 and 17-3 runs to open and close the third quarter, and that was all she wrote.

That third quarter was simply the remnant of Game 7. Those were tired legs, and the Celtics made an uncharacteristic number of sloppy plays, mental mistakes, and turnovers, often leading directly to easy Heat points. The Celtics also put the Heat at the line 34 times, again fouling characteristic of a tired team.

Don’t discount the Smart injury that came in Game 7 either. His absence was huge because it meant 30 minutes from Payton Pritchard, giving the Celtics a weak defensive link for Miami to attack, and the Heat did so mercilessly in the fourth quarter in particular. Smart’s likely return — make sure he plays before making this bet — strengthens the entire team defense and re-balances the minutes.

This is a game Boston has to get, even without Horford. The Celtics can’t afford to go down 0-2, needing four of five against a really tough Miami team, with one of those a road Game 7. I liked the matchup for the Celtics coming into the series, and nothing we saw in Game 1 changed that for me. That means I have to like the ML play here in an important spot and trust the better team.

If Boston does get the win here before heading home for two games, and also getting Horford back to further strengthen the defense, the Celtics will be in a great place to take control of the series. Thus it makes sense to get the extra bang for our buck and take a Game 2 to its logical conclusion — a more likely series win. I’ll probably play a Celtics title at +340 too at FanDuel. Win this game, and Boston is in a great position.

I’ll play the +4 cover too. Boston is now 34-10 since January 29, and five of those 10 losses are by a single bucket. In other words, Boston is 39-5 ATS against this line over that span, with two of four playoff losses also covering. Expect a battle, and if it’s close, look for Boston to steal home court and take control.

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Pick
Under 208
Book
FanDuel

Austin Wang: I picked Game 1 to go over the total of 203.5, and the combined final score of 225 easily sailed over. The Game 2 total opened at 206 and has been bet up to 208. I think this is an over-adjustment, and I am switching gears to the under for Game 2.

One reason Game 1 went over was 64 combined free throw attempts (including 51 in the second half). The Celtics and Heat had a Free Throw Rate of 40.5% and 42.5%, respectively. Teams coming off a game where they have a Free Throw Rate of 35% or greater have gone 115-84-8 (57.8%) to the under since the 2014-2015 season, per the Sports Data Query Language at Gimme the Dog. They have gone 20-9 (69%) to the under in this season’s playoffs.

The logic here is the referee crew calls the following game with a looser whistle to compensate for the excessive free throws while the players continue to play with the same intensity as the game before.

With one game under their belt and a glimpse of each other’s game plan, expect defensive adjustments. DPOY Marcus Smart has been upgraded to probable for Game 2, and his presence will improve the Celtics’ team defense and give them another ball handler. Jayson Tatum was the primary ball handler in Game 1 and gave up seven turnovers, many for easy fast break points. I expect them to clean this up.

These are two of the league’s best defenses and slowest-paced teams. The Celtics ranked first in Defensive Rating (106.2) and 24th in Pace (97.3), while the Heat were fourth in Defensive Rating (108.4) and 28th in Pace (96.5) in the regular season, per NBA Advanced Stats. I am playing the under at 208 and would play it down to 206.

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