Thursday NBA Playoffs Player Props & Picks for Celtics vs. Heat, Game 2: Bet Grant Williams, Jaylen Brown and Gabe Vincent (May 19)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Grant Williams #12 of the Boston Celtics rips the ball from P.J. Tucker #17 of the Miami Heat.
- Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals matchup between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat tips off on Thursday night.
- Boston will play without Al Horford, and Miami will be without Kyle Lowry. Those key player absences result in some tantalizing betting opportunities in the NBA props market.
- Below, check out Brandon Anderson's NBA player props betting guide for tonight's Eastern Conference Finals matchup.
Boston expects to get Marcus Smart back, while Kyle Lowry and Al Horford are still expected to miss. So how can we play those absences for props?
We’ll use the Action Labs Player Prop tool projections to find value on various player props at a variety of sportsbooks. Below, I have laid out three prop bets that I’m playing in Game 2. Let’s jump right in.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Jaylen Brown, Over 6.5 REB (+111) | Over 7.5 REB (+164)
|Celtics vs. Heat||Heat -3.5|
|Time | TV||8:30 p.m. ET | ESPN|
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 truer 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 where 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 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 number 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.
Grant Williams, Over 1.5 Steals + Blocks (+140)
I have long been a huge Grant Williams admirer, back to his days dominating at the University of Tennessee and ranking him top five on my draft board coming out, so it’s been pretty fun seeing Williams get his flowers over the past couple weeks on basketball’s biggest stage.
Williams has become a mainstay in this Celtics rotation. He was one of Boston’s better defenders against Giannis Antetokounmpo last round, and he’s playing an even bigger role for Boston right now while Horford is out. Williams is a stout, tough defender, and though he’s probably still hitting open 3s against the Bucks somehow right now, defense will always be his calling card.
Williams has outstanding defensive intelligence, and you can see it in the way he’s organizing his team and getting everyone on the same page and in the right place. He has a nose for the ball and always seems to be involved, and that gives Williams a great chance to get some steals and blocks.
Williams played almost 35 minute in Game 1, and he should see a similar load with Horford still out. So far this season, in games with at least 32 minutes played, Williams has recorded at least two stocks (steals + blocks) in 12 of 18 appearances. That’s a 67% hit rate on the over, which should imply -200 juice, but we’re getting plus juice instead.
It’s always tricky playing defensive stats since they’re so tough to come by, but I’m expecting plenty of Williams in a pivotal game and a defensive battle. Let’s just hope he gets those two stocks somewhere along the way.
Gabe Vincent, Over 2.5 Assists (-175)
While Grant Williams is the main beneficiary of his team’s missing star, Gabe Vincent is the next man up for the Heat. With Kyle Lowry out, Vincent is getting the start, and it’s pretty cool to see a guy few had even heard of before he played a big role on Team Nigeria’s Olympic berth last summer and win over Team USA now starting games in the Conference Finals one year later.
And Vincent has been pretty good! He’s not Kyle Lowry, but in true #HeatCulture fashion, Vincent plays tough defense, moves the ball wall, does the little things, and makes winning plays. He is a role player who knows what he’s being asked to do, and he does it well.
Vincent scored 17 points in the series opener, hitting a trio of 3s, and he also added not one, not two, but three blocks. But he’s still the nominal point guard after all, so we’re playing his assists.
Vincent has started seven playoff games this Miami run, and he’s averaging 3.6 APG in those starts. He’s gone over 2.5 dimes in six of the seven playoff starts, and he was over that line in 21 of 27 regular season starts too. That’s a combined 79% hit rate, more than enough to merit drinking the -150 juice on this prop. He’s also averaged 6.1 Potential Assists per playoff start, so that reinforces our position since we don’t even need to convert half that many.
Our Props Tool rates this a 10 out of 10, and we’re projecting Vincent at 4.4 assists so that gives us a real margin of error for a line set so low. Vincent had almost as many Game 1 passes as Jimmy Butler, so he’s involved when he’s out there. We just have to hope his Heat teammates knock down a few shots.