NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Player Prop Forecast

NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Player Prop Forecast article feature image

The Eastern Conference Finals are set to kick off on Tuesday night with the Boston Celtics hosting the Indiana Pacers. The Celtics and Pacers have two of the most dynamic offenses in the league and this should be an exciting series from a player props perspective.

One of the overarching concerns will be the health and availability of Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis has not played since the first round of the NBA Playoffs and is expected to miss at least the start of this series. His absence swings some of the matchups and the rotations for the Celtics and will be one to watch.

One of the notable takeaways from the games without Porzingis is that Jayson Tatum plays the entire 1Q as his rotation. His 1Q points line has continually been set at 7.5. He has exceeded that number in 11/12 games this season and just missed it with 5 in Game 5 against the Cavaliers. He averages 11.8 points in the 1Q and has torched Indiana this season. On the season he has 30+ points in every game and is averaging 32.5 ppg. This should translate to the 1Q without Porzingis and I'll be grabbing Tatum to exceed 7.5 1Q points in Game 1.

The second Celtics' star to watch is Jaylen Brown. While Brown gets plenty of flak for struggling to dribble with his left hand, this is an incredibly exploitable matchup for him. Brown has that downhill mentality and is a relentless pursuer of the rim. On the season he sees a spike without Porzingis and averages 24.7 ppg without him compared to 22.3 with him. Plus, this matchup against the Pacers has been favorable for him. Brown is averaging 28.4 ppg and 6.2 rpg in 5 games against Indiana this season. One game was without Tatum and he dropped 40 points on the Pacers but he has consistently dominated in this matchup. I will be betting Jalen Brown over 24.5 series ppg (-115 DK) here.

I normally like to bet on series leader props; however, this series has clear expected leaders with Tatum for points, Tatum for rebounds, and Haliburton for assists. If I could parlay those I probably would. The one that I think is most vulnerable is points with Jaylen Brown (+500) as the biggest risk. The best way to handle these bets will be to see if anyone gets off to a slow start through either one or two games and then look to buy into the market. The books will need to price it in and there is value to be had.

One series leader market that may be exploitable is Most Blocks. I am looking at Al Horford with Porzingis ruled out. Horford is averaging 1.3 blocks per game this season against the Pacers with at least one block in each game. He should see a bump without Porzingis in his minutes but he has been successful in this matchup regardless. In four games against the Pacers this season he is averaging 7 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists to go along with the 1.3 blocks. He is +800 to lead the series in Blocks and given Indiana's propensity for attacking the rim, Horford should see some opportunity here.

Haliburton will be leaned on in this series and he needs to be the best player on the floor for Indiana to have a chance. Haliburton did record a triple double against the Celtics this season, but he has not been a great scoring threat otherwise. He has two double-doubles in four head-to-head games; however, in two games he played just 13 and 22 minutes. Haliburton should see some upside in this matchup and can exceed 8.2 assists per game this series. He averaged 9 assists per game when these teams played and was the clear engine of the offense.

When these teams played this season, Boston generally faired well and even though Indiana bested them in the In-Season Tournament, an entire season of play demonstrates that this is Boston's series to lose. The price for Tatum Eastern ConferenceMVP is mispriced. Tatum is the best player on the Celtics and the price difference between his MVP and the Celtics' winning is off. Tatum is (-220 FD – 68.75% implied) to win ECF MVP. Boston's series price is (-1100) which has a 91.67% chance of winning. While Brown is a threat, I don't think it is close enough to be actionable and would rather bet Brown for scoring leader (+500) as his most likely scenario to towards an ECF MVP.

Best Bets

  • 1 Unit – Jaylen Brown over 24.5 Series ppg
  • 0.25 Units – Al Horford Blocks Leader (+800 Bet365)

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Nick Sterling
Jul 12, 2024 UTC