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The Boston Celtics still have life following their Game 4 victory in Miami. The Celtics dropped the series' first three games, and many people wrote them off in the Heat’s first closeout opportunity. Jayson Tatum’s offense and a team-wide defensive effort allowed Boston to force Game 5. The Celtics have taken on the 2004 Red Sox mentality, the team that overcame a 3-0 deficit in the ALCS, and it has worked so far. It may seem impossible for Boston to win three more games in a row, but crazier things have happened. Let’s look at the best ways to make money in Game 5.
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There has never been a team in NBA history that has overcome a 3-0 deficit. If there is going to be a series where this occurs, it would make sense in this matchup. According to ESPN, Boston had over a 90% live probability to win in the series' first two games. They carried double-digit leads into the fourth quarter of both contests and fell apart. Game 3 was the only matchup where they were blown out, and this makes sense as it was the first road game of the series. The Celtics responded in Game 4 with a vengeance, which isn’t good for the Heat. Miami is still in the driver’s seat, but there is no denying that they’re in as much trouble as a team can be for having a 3-1 lead.
The Celtics are the better team in this series, and there is no denying this fact. They’re more inconsistent than the Heat, which is the great equalizer between the two franchises. Although, if Boston comes out and plays their best basketball over the final three games of this series, they could be the first team to pull off the reverse sweep. The Celtics had every chance of winning the first two games, and they now have life returning home after a Game 4 victory.
Jimmy Butler has been fantastic throughout the series, but there have been plenty of times when Miami’s bench has been the aggressor. This has allowed Butler to take a back seat. Look for Butler to be the aggressor in Game 5, as he will have to be to give his team a chance. The Heat are 8-point underdogs, which is slightly disrespectful for a team up 3-1, but this just shows the Celtics' massive potential.
Tatum is one of the most inconsistent basketball players in the game, but when he is on, he is very tough to stop. Tatum single-handedly led Boston in Game 4, scoring 33 points with 11 rebounds and seven assists. He has been spectacular at times, and we expect him to shine at home with his back against the wall. Boston has performed best under pressure, and there is no greater moment than facing elimination on your home floor.
Despite Tatum’s elite scoring ability, the Celtics need more out of their secondary options. Jaylen Brown has been terrible in this series, and it’s one of the primary reasons Boston is in a 3-1 deficit. In Brown’s past three games, he hasn’t broken 17 points. He averaged 30.3 points per game against the Heat in the regular season over three contests.
Brown must return to this intensity to give his team a chance on Thursday. Additionally, the bench must show up and be the team’s strength, as it has been all season. Boston dominates because of numbers, but the bench hasn’t supported Tatum enough in this series. Tatum is good enough to win a couple of games on his own, but it will require the entire Celtics roster to win three straight.
The Miami Heat must return to the mean at some point. They shot over 50% from the three-point line in Game 3, which resulted in them routing Boston. This isn’t going to happen in every game, so for the Heat to close out the Eastern Conference Finals, they need Butler to be great. The star has been dominant, but he needs another 30+ point performance, as the Heat are undefeated in the playoffs when he hits this number. It’s going to be tough for the Heat to win Game 5, but they should have a better chance in Game 6. The Celtics have momentum, so Miami must keep this game close and try to stick around to have success. This all starts with a massive night from Butler.
The Celtics are the better team, and they have some type of momentum coming into this game. The big question here is who is going to cover? If we had to pick a team to cover the spread, it would be the Heat, as they’ve proven they can keep games close on the road. Although, our favorite play in this contest is the over of 215.5. The Heat have gone over in 11 of their last 15 games on the road. These two teams have also gone over the total in their past five matchups in Boston.
PICK: Over 215.5
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Tanner Kern has been working in the betting industry since 2020. He currently is a social media content creator at DraftKings and contributes to multiple sites in addition to WSN, including Forbes and VSiN. He is also the cohost of the podcast Ride the Line at WSN.More info on Tanner Kern
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