Heat vs. Celtics Bets: Jimmy Butler's Moment

The winner of Game 5 has a historic advantage for winning the entire series, who will get the nod for tonight's pivotal matchup in Miami?

Game 5 between Boston and Miami has all the makings of an NBA classic.

The winner of Game 5 earns a distinct advantage in the series, with an over 82 percent historical win rate. This series brings even more uncertainty, with a myriad of injuries forcing player uncertainty. Boston has both Marcus Smart and Robert Williams questionable, with Smart having sat out Game 4 with a sprained ankle.

Miami actually has five players questionable for tonight’s battle, including point guard Kyle Lowry, shooting guard Max Strus, and forward P.J. Tucker. Reserves Gabe Vincent and Tyler Herro are also questionable, with Herro missing Game 3 as well.

Two of the last three games in this series have been decided by 20 points or more, but tonight promises to be a much closer contest. Boston has been the NBA’s best road team against the spread, with a 66 percent (31-16-1) cover rate. The Heat have been dominant at home in the playoffs, with their Game 2 loss to Boston as their only blemish at FTX Arena.

Who will earn the critical Game 5 win in tonight’s Eastern Conference Finals?

Here are my picks for tonight’s tension-filled battle.

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Heat vs. Celtics Betting Odds

Heat Celtics
Spread +2.5 -2.5
Moneyline +120 -136
Over/Under 204

*Lines accurate at the time of publication.

Heat vs. Celtics Wednesday Night Picks

Jimmy Butler Over 35.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists (-113, BetMGM)

The most challenging part of handicapping this series has been predicting player efficiency despite injuries. There have been several big performances by players listed on the pregame injury report, and disappointing output from players battling unknown challenges.

In the biggest game of the year, I expect a vintage performance from Miami forward Jimmy Butler.

Butler is actually off the injury report heading into tonight’s game, a great sign in the biggest game of the season. He is playing at an elite level in the playoffs, bolstering all individual stats across the board. In 14 playoff games this season, Butler is averaging 26.5 points and 7.2 rebounds, while shooting 51.5 percent from the field. He has also raised his 3P accuracy from 23.3 percent to 33.3 percent in the playoffs.

This number has decreased because of the injury uncertaintly, but with Butler now without an injury designation, I am full confidence that “Big Game Jimmy” will return. He beat this number in seven consecutive playoff games prior to his Game 3 injury at halftime. Even in Game 4, it was hard to assess his production because of Miami’s huge first-half lead.

Excluding Game 1 of the opening round series against Atlanta, Butler beat this number in ten of subsequent 11 games. In the biggest home game of the year, with Butler not listed on the injury report, I’m betting Butler gives us another fantastic performance.

Risk: 1.13units on BetMGM to win 1 unit. (Bet up to -110)

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Heat vs. Celtics Under 204 Points (-110, DraftKings)

The bigger the game, the slower the pace.

After two high-scoring games, the series totals have been trending down the past three matchups. Miami and Boston have combined for consecutive game totals of 229 points, 212 points, and 184 points in Game 4. The defensive adjustments have made scoring more challenging, and that trend should continue in Game 5.

Boston brings the NBA’s best defensive scheme. The Celtics are allowing just 105.3 points on the road, second only to ironically, Miami. Boston has continually stifled the Heat in this series, especially in half-court sets. Per Mike Gallagher, the Heat have attempted 41% of their shots from the mid-range area. In the first two rounds they were at 31%, similar to their season-long average. The challenge has been the Celtics incredible defense, keeping the Heat from getting to the basket and scoring proficiently from beyond the arc.

However, I also think the Celtics will struggle to score with injuries still plaguing Marcus Smart and Robert Williams. The Heat allowed the third-fewest points per game this season, and are 10-5 (66.7%) to the under in their playoffs games this year.

With so much at stake, and so many injuries on both teams, I’m backing the under even at the low total of 204 points.

Risk: 1.10 units on DraftKings to win 1 unit. (Bet up to -120)

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