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Sean B’s Best NBA Playoff Bets Today: Celtics vs. Heat Picks & Predictions | Thursday 5/19/22

Sean Blazek



NBA first basket predictions prop bet picks today Jimmy Butler player prop bets tonight Celtics vs. Heat

The Warriors did not mess around in Game 1, taking an early double-digit lead over the Mavericks in the first quarter and never looking back. Golden State shot 56% as a team and had seven players finish scoring in double figures en route to a 112-87 victory over Dallas. The NBA travels back to Miami tonight for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics will look to steal one in Miami to tie up the series before heading back to Boston. Let’s dive into the best NBA bets today, picks and NBA betting tips for Thursday, May 19.

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Best NBA Bets Today: Game Tips & Betting Predictions

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The Celtics will be looking for a bounce-back performance after losing the series opener on Tuesday. Jimmy Butler was the star of the night, dropping 41 points on 12-for-19 shooting overall. Jayson Tatum put up 29 points in a losing effort. The Celtics will look to shift the momentum and knot things up before the series heads north to Boston for Game 3. Can Miami add another win onto its perfect home playoff record and take a commanding 2-0 series lead? Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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Boston has been the best defensive team in the NBA all season, entering with the top-ranked scoring defense in the league. The Celtics were put in a tough position for Game 1 with only one day off after Game 7 and their series opener in Miami. The lack of rest was apparent in the second half when Boston came out sluggish, shooting 2-for-15 in the third quarter. The Celtics greatly missed the presence of Al Horford and Marcus Smart on both sides of the floor in Game 1. There is good news for Boston, as Smart is listed as probable to return on Thursday. However, Horford, who has been Boston’s X-factor, is listed as doubtful for Game 2. Derrick White will miss Game 2 due to personal reasons. Their defense is holding opponents to 43.5% from the field and below 34% from beyond the arc. Miami had its way in Game 1, shooting 48.8% from the field. Tatum got outplayed by Butler and Boston head coach Ime Udoka was livid watching his team give up a 13-point first half lead after an awful third quarter in which they were outscored 39-14. The Celtics have not lost back-to-back games throughout these playoffs, so expect them to come out with a sense of urgency for Game 2.

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Butler was outstanding in Game 1, but it was a collective effort from his supporting cast that played a pivotal role in the big shooting night. Butler lived at the free throw line on Tuesday, knocking down 17-of-18 free throws. In addition, he went 12-for-18 from the floor all without making a single 3-pointer. This Miami squad will need to see continued success from players like Gabe Vincent and Max Strus, who both knocked down three 3-pointers in Game 1. Kyle Lowry (hamstring) is out, while Strus and Vincent are both battling hamstring strains and listed as questionable for Thursday. On the season, the Heat are averaging 110 points per game and are one of the most efficient 3-point shooting teams in the NBA, knocking down over 37% from beyond the arc. They finished 10-for-30 from deep in their first matchup. Boston will be in trouble if Miami is able to improve from deep and bring their 3-point numbers closer to their season average.

Miami closed out Game 1 with an 11-point victory. The Heat won two of three regular season matchups against the Celtics, with both wins coming by double digits. Miami is 7-0 straight up and 6-1 against the spread at home in the playoffs this year with an average winning margin of 16.1 points. Miami is 14-5 against the spread in its last 19 games overall. While Boston is expected to have Smart, the Defensive Player of the Year back in action, it is highly unlikely he will be playing at 100%, given he did not even attempt to go through shootaround in Game 1. Butler will have a tougher challenge with Smart on the floor, but if he is able to stay in rhythm and put up another high-caliber performance, the Heat will win this one. Miami is one of the best teams at home this season. Lay the points with the Heat on Thursday inside FTX Arena.

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Best NBA Bet for Today’s Game: Miami Heat -3.5

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Sean Blazek (aka SweatBets) has contributed to Awesemo since November 2021 and is currently an NBA Betting Content Creator. His articles can be found on Awesemo as well as OddsShopper under the NBA Betting Articles section. Sean has a knack for identifying value in spreads and totals using an analytical approach to find his Best Bets. Follow him on Twitter @SweatBets and get ready to cash.

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