Bank on Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat to return to form after a horrendous showing in Game 4. Despite being underdogs in their own court, Miami should have a strong performance as they look to outhustle and outscore the Boston Celtics, who have yet to string together consistently solid performances.
Let's be honest: the 2022 NBA Playoffs, particularly the Conference Finals, have been pretty lame lately. It's been blowout after every blowout and the Boston Celtics-Miami Heat series is the perfect example of it. So when we look at the Celtics vs Heat Game 5 picks, it's a good chance the team we're siding with wins in dominant fashion even if the NBA online betting lines say otherwise.
Celtics vs Heat Game 5 Preview: Tight Odds Signify Confusion
Don't let the odds fool ya: whoever wins Game 5 between Boston and Miami could be winning by more than a point or two. The average margin of victory for the series has been 15.5 points and this is taking into account that the fourth quarter had plenty of garbage time scoring. We bet Boston as the underdog correctly with our Game 2 picks and so far dogs have won two of the four games here.
|Away Team||Home Team|
|Boston Celtics -1.5||-110||-110||Miami Heat +1.5|
|Boston Celtics ML||-120||+100||Miami Heat ML|
|Over 203.5||-110||-110||Under 203.5|
Heat Must Recover From Their Worst Performance
It was a game to forget for the Miami Heat as they started Game 4 cold and finished that way. The Boston Celtics held the Heat to just 11 first-quarter points. Miami finished with just 82 points, which is the third-fewest points they've put up all season. Uncoincidentally, it was the fewest points Miami scored at home since they hosted Boston very early in the season.
Biggest lead each game this series:
Game 1: Heat by 20
Game 2: Celtics by 34
Game 3: Heat by 26
Game 4: Celtics by 32 pic.twitter.com/QI04eiYj4I
— StatMuse (@statmuse) May 24, 2022
“I think probably more than anything our offense really hurt us at the beginning,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said at the post-game press conference. “They just weren’t getting the purposeful execution that you need to on the road. They (Celtics) were able to get some relief points from that, get to the free-throw line, and they jumped out to that lead and that was the story for the rest of the game."
Miami's starters combined for just 18 points on 7-of-36 shooting. In fact, Jayson Tatum nearly had as many points from the free-throw line (14). Speaking of Tatum, he and the Celtics did not shoot the ball too effectively either. Boston shot just 39.7 percent from the field and made just 8-of-34 from 3. But Boston received 24 more free throw attempts than Miami and outscored it 32-8 in this area.
This turned out to be the major difference in the game. This is something we can't expect Boston to replicate for Game 5 in Miami nor can we expect them to hit 20-of-40 from downtown as they did for Game 2. The hot shooting may still happen for Boston, but it won't be 50%-from-3 hot.
Miami is 22-11 after a loss, which is the fifth-best in the NBA. The Heat are also 4-1 against the spread (ATS) as a home underdog and a return to form for Jimmy Butler, who has scored a total of 14 points in the last two games, should be icing on the cake for Miami.
Can the Streaky Shooting Be Trusted?
Streaky shooting goes both ways and we saw the bad version of it for Game 4 as the teams combined to make just 61 of their 168 attempts (36.3 percent). It may have been regression as Boston and Miami have been shooting well for the past three games and we expect the efficient scoring to return.
This is why the total has gone over in the first three games. Boston averaged 48.5 percent from the field while Miami shot at a 46.5 percent clip. Even with these teams' proud defenses, there is plenty of firepowers to go over the 203 or 204 points the books have lined the game recently.
The scoring has generally been significant when Boston plays Miami at the FTX Arena. Five of their last seven games here have gone over also partly because the totals are set at an unflattering number. Their first meeting this season saw neither team break the century mark but each team has scored at least 102 points.
With Butler also returning to form, expect a much better offensive output from Miami while Boston will shoot better than 40 percent from the field. In fact, it's not outside the realm of possibility to see Game 5 as the highest-scoring game of the series and you can bet it online at the MyBook sportsbook among others.