NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions: Anderson’s Bets for Heat vs Celtics Game 5 (Thursday, May 25)
Pictured: Grant Williams. (Photo by Eric Espada/NBAE via Getty Images)
- The Celtics extended the series with a win over Miami and will now host Game 5.
- Brandon Anderson digs into the matchup and offers up his best bets for Thursday's contest.
- Continue reading for Anderson's analysis and best bets for Heat vs. Celtics Game 5.
Celtics vs. Heat Odds
Well, the Celtics are not dead and buried just yet.
We know teams that go down 0-3 are 0-149 in league history. But the Celtics are already an outlier.
Just 18 of those 149 teams went down 0-3 with the first two at home, and 15 of those 18 were swept. Boston is now in a position only three teams in NBA history have seen, with a series favorite returning home for Game 5.
Those teams won only one more game combined, but 0-3 is nowhere near as damning as 0-149. Boston is back to being a big favorite in Game 5, and the Celtics are a shorter price to come back and win the series (+220) than Miami is to win just Game 5 (+240).
Suffice to say things are getting very interesting.
So, did Game 4 tell us anything new and provide reason to believe in Boston, or did it just delay the inevitable?
Game 4 Showed Breadcrumbs of Why Boston Can Still Win This Series
On the surface, it’s easy to write off Game 4 as shot variance.
Boston got hot and made 18-of-45 3s, hitting that magic 40% rate where the Celtics are now 36-2 SU on the season. Miami shot just 8-of-32 (25%) from 3. It’s a make or miss league, and here we are.
That was certainly a big part of the story in Game 4, but it’s reductive to wave the game away on just shot variance, just as much as it would be to have done the same with the three Miami wins.
Game 4 might have been nothing — but there might have been a bunch of little somethings too.
We can’t predict 3-point shooting percentage, but focus on the 45 and 32 above. Boston got up almost 10 more 3s than it had averaged the past three games. That’s a sign the Celtics are doing what they like to do, and it’s a concerning margin for Miami.
So is 10 Boston turnovers to Miami’s 15 — almost the exact reverse of what the first three games looked like. The Celtics aren’t typically a high turnover team, but the Heat force plenty of turnovers and have really gotten under Boston’s skin in these postseason matchups.
Boston’s defensive intensity ticked up in the second half of Game 4. That means closeouts on shooters and more turnovers forced, leading to faster offensive sets and more of the shots the Celtics want. It’s all connected.
Additionally, we saw Gabe Vincent, Miami’s starting point guard, badly roll his ankle in the fourth quarter and briefly exit the game. Kyle Lowry may also be nursing an injury and the Heat are already missing Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo. Miami is starting to run out of bodies, while Boston might be the deepest team in the league.
The series is starting to drop breadcrumbs.
Back Boston in Game 5 — At Least to Start Out
None of that means the Heat are cooked. Far from it.
Miami still has three more chances to win once. Boston is back home, but is sub-.500 at home 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.
Boston is live.
I’ll back the Celtics in Game 5 — cautiously. Give me Boston first half.
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.
Bet: Boston -4.5 1st Half -106 (BetRivers)
The Big Man Battle May Be Quietly Determining the Series
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 alts! He’s scored 12 or more in 46% of his games with 25 minutes, as he’s now played in three straight.
Bets: Grant Williams Over 6.5 Points -110 | 10+ Points +230 | 12+ Points +425 (Bet365)
While Boston is finding some big man answers, Miami’s leading big has faded.
Bam Adebayo had 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists in Game 1, then put up a monster 22/17/9 line in Game 2. He was super aggressive in both games, averaging 15 shots and attacking relentlessly.
In the two games since, that aggression has faded. Adebayo has dropped to 11.5 PPG on just six shots per game, and he’s plummeted from 12.5 to 4.0 RPG. Adebayo has had single digit rebounding chances in each game except Game 2 (26).
I’ll fade Adebayo by going under 26.5 points + rebounds. He’s crashed from 33.5 PR in the first two games to 15.0 since. Under 21.5 PR is +260 at FanDuel if you want the escalator.
Bets: Bam Adebayo Under 26.5 Points + Rebounds | Under 21.5 Points + Rebounds +260
Beware of Role Players Getting Squeezed Out
When it gets late in any series, it’s a good idea to start eyeing unders for role players.
I see three that catch my eye — and all three are for players who look like they’re playing hurt.
I’ll start with Kevin Love under 4.5 rebounds. He left Game 3 hurt and played only the opening stint of each half in Game 4. He’s being pulled away from the basket and has averaged only 3.5 rebounding chances over the past two games, going under 4.5 in both.
Gabe Vincent rolled that ankle pretty bad, and though he came back in, the day after is often another story. Vincent was scorching hot, going 6-of-9 from 3 in Game 3, but has attempted five or fewer triples in his past seven games otherwise with zero or one make in all but one of them. Treat Game 3 like the outlier it was and play Vincent under 2.5 3s.
I wonder if Malcolm Brogdon is also playing hurt. He had a huge role in Game 1, scoring 19 points in heavy minutes with 10 2-point attempts. He’s taken only nine 2s in the three games since and scored just two total points in the past two games as his minutes have cratered. I’ll play Brogdon to go under 9.5 points.
You might consider half unit plays on these lower lines, or you can put some of the props together for a fun same game parlay if you want to enjoy a good sweat.
Bets: Kevin Love Under 4.5 Rebounds -112 (BetRivers) | Gabe Vincent Under 2.5 3s -140 (DraftKings) | Malcolm Brogdon Under 9.5 Points -105 (BetMGM)
Anderson’s Game 5 Betting Card
- Celtics 1H -4.5
- Grant Williams Over 6.5 points | 10+ Points +230 (0.5 Unit) | 12+ Points +425 (0.25 Unit)
- Bam Adebayo Under 26.5 PR -113 | Under 21.5 PR +260 (0.25 Unit)
- Kevin Love Under 4.5 Rebounds -112
- Gabe Vincent Under 2.5 3s -140
- Malcolm Brogdon Under 9.5 Points -105
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