NBA Odds, Best Bets Today: Expert Picks for Heat vs. Celtics Thursday, May 25

NBA Odds, Best Bets Today: Expert Picks for Heat vs. Celtics Thursday, May 25 article feature image

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics and Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat during the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals.

  • The Eastern Conference finals roll on Thursday with Game 5 of Heat vs. Celtics at TD Garden.
  • Action Network's NBA analysts have fiv best bets today, including the totals, player props and more.
  • Read on for their expert picks for Heat vs Celtics Game 5 below.

The Boston Celtics managed to keep their season alive with a dominant second-half performance in a must-win Game 4 on the road against the Miami Heat. The series shifts back to Boston for Game 5 with the Celtics favored heavily at home in another elimination game.

Action Network's analysts have five best bets today, including a pair of player props, and two angles on the first half. Check out their expert picks for Heat vs. Celtics Game 5 below.

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Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics

Grant Williams o6.5 Points + Escalators
8:30 p.m. ET

Brandon AndersonI have nine bets already for Heat vs Celtics and you can find them all in my Game 5 betting card here.

Throughout this series, I've written about the big man battle. It's much easier to focus on Jimmy Butler, Boston's two Jays, and all the shot variance, but the swing factor may be in the paint.

I wondered before Game 1 whether this was a Robert Williams series, and he's since been benched. It didn't appear to be an Al Horford series either, though he finally made some shots in Game 4 to break out of his funk.

Instead, Grant Williams went from a DNP-CD in Game 1 to Boston's leading big man in Game 4. His minutes have increased each game — up to 29 in Game 4 — and his scoring output has steadily increased from 9 to 10 to 12.

Boston needs Grant Williams' defensive versatility, and he's finding clean scoring opportunities. He's hit seven 3s over the past three games. I like him to go over 6.5 points. I'm compelled to play the escalator too, with 10+ at +230 and 12+ at +425. One shot could clear both alt lines! He's scored 12 or more in 46% of his games with 25 minutes, as he's now played in three straight.

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Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics

Celtics 1H -4.5

Anderson: This is another one from my betting card. Miami still has three more chances to win once. Boston is back home, but is sub-.500 at TD Garden in these playoffs. Also, the road team has won six of the past seven in this playoff rivalry.

The Celtics have shown they can lose the good process just as quickly as they found it in Game 4. But they've also reminded us just how good they can look when things are clicking.

The Celtics were +9.2 Net Rating in the first half this season, best in the NBA. They're +12.7 in home first halves during these playoffs. Typically with this team, we know right away if they're locked in.

The Heat are -6.7 in road first halves this postseason, even as they sit one game away from the Finals. Since the Bubble Finals run, Miami has been incredible in the second half, but shaky starting out.

I'm not ready to trust Boston late in a game, but I'll trust the Celtics to come out and give us at least one good half.

I'll back the Celtics in Game 5 — cautiously. Give me Boston first half.

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Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics

Under 110 1H

Chris Raybon: Fatigue always plays a factor the deeper we get into the playoffs and into each series, and this is no exception. If you count the play-in games for the Heat, both teams are up to 17 postseason games played, and this is their fourth straight game with only one day of rest between games – and it was a travel day at that.

We saw the pace creep to a series-low 92.3 last game, and it's been in the mid-to-low 90s all series. After a blistering 123 points were scored in the first half of Game 1, the first-half combined scores in Games 2-4 were all between 104-107 points.

Although Game 4 was a blowout, it saw six players still play at least 35 minutes – Jayson Tatum, (42), Jimmy Butler (39), Jaylen Brown (37), Max Strus (36), Marcus Smart (35, and Bam Adebayo (35) – so fatigue should continue to be a factor as the series heads back to Boston for Game 5.

The Celtics and their opponent have combined for 107 or fewer first-half points in four of their past five playoff games at TD Garden. Meanwhile, Heat first-half unders – regardless of venue – are 10-3-1 in the past month.

Per our Action Labs data, Eastern Conference first-half unders in Game 3 or later are 98-56-2 (64%) since 2018, including a 93-45-2 (67%) under record when the total is 114 or less.

In Game 5 or later, that mark improves to an absurd 45-15 (75%) and cashes by 5.5 points per game, on average. I would play this down to 107.5.

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Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics

H2H Points: Jimmy Butler +3.5 vs. Jayson Tatum (-110)

Bryan Fonseca: The point battle has been as follows:

35-30 Butler
34-27 Tatum
16-14 Butler
33-29 Tatum

So Butler has covered the 3.5 — and has flat out out-scored Tatum twice. Butler had 29 in Game 4, but it wasn't a great one. He missed some bunnies and forced a few jumpers, shooting 9-of-21; it was one of his worst games of the playoffs. Meanwhile, Tatum had his best game of the series: 33 points on 14-of-22 shooting, hit 4-of-9 from deep, and actually scored in the fourth.

Butler's averaging 29.7 points per contest in playoff road games during this run, and had 62 in the two Boston road games combined. Tatum is averaging exactly 30 points per home game in the playoffs and has more variance. The nine appearances include a 51-point game and a 7-point game, and he's hit 30-plus in 5-of-9. Butler has only gone under 25 once and has hit 30-plus in 3-of-7.

I'm not sure who wins the game tonight, but I expect Butler and the Heat to close this out either in Game 5 or 6, and as a result, a better showing than he had in Games 3 or 4 this series. With Gabe Vincent questionable, Butler may have to do even more offensively, and if Jaylen Brown could do anything, that +3.5 becomes much more attainable.

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Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics

Over 215.5

Andrew O'Connor-Watts: I'm betting a lot of props in this game and you can find those picks in the Heat-Celtics betting guide here.

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 points Tuesday, but, according to, 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.

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