NBA Playoff Betting – Thursday, May 25 Picks

By Phil Simon

The league’s dream matchup of a Boston Celtics/Los Angeles Lakers NBA Finals isn’t going to happen after LA was swept by Denver. And the Celtics chances of a return trip to the championship series are on life support. Boston extended the Eastern Conference final by at least one more game avoiding a sweep at the hands of the Miami Heat with a 116-99 victory on Wednesday sending the teams back to Beantown for Friday’s Game 5. Still, the chances of Boston overcoming the deficit are slim since no team has ever successfully recovered from being down 3-0. After getting thoroughly outplayed in the first three games, the Celtics showed pride and were poised down the stretch overcoming the issues that plagued them in the series. For the first time this postseason Boston was catching points on the NBA betting line winning Game 4 outright. The Celtics opened as an 8-point favorite at BetRivers sportsbook for Game 5.


Daily NBA Picks


Miami at Boston, 8:30 p.m. ET (TNT)


Miami Heat at Boston Celtics


The theme surrounding the Heat following Game 4 was that you can’t win them all. Miami tried and was fairly successful with an 11-3 record and four-game winning streak prior to Wednesday’s setback. They were also a top NBA pick against the spread with 11 payouts in those 14 games. The loss doesn’t make the Heat a worse team but it does give the Celtics a boost of confidence they desperately needed.


The Heat have been able to squelch any momentum an opponent might have had after a win this postseason. Including their play-in win over Chicago, the Heat are 4-0 following a loss, however all those wins came at home. They’ll look to avoid their first losing streak this postseason. With their two wins in Boston earlier in the series, Miami ran it’s road record to 5-3 while going 6-2 as an NBA point spread pick.


After shooting lights out in the first three games of the series the Heat went cold on Wednesday. They made nearly 48 percent of their three-pointers over the first three games only to see that number drop dramatically in Game 4. Some regression in that area was expected since the high percentage was simply unsustainable. They shot 25 percent (8 of 32) from distance on Wednesday and were 34 of 78 overall. Jimmy Butler led the way with 29 points but was only 9 of 21 from the field.


Bet-Rivers-Banner-Sep-29-2022-03-57-25-53-PM-4One game at a time was Boston’s mantra heading into Game 4. A team that was ravaged by the local and national media for a lack of hustle and desire showed those traits on Wednesday. It was probably a little embarrassment, too. It’s hard to win four games in a row at this stage of the postseason when the clubs are more evenly-matched. But the Celtics had little chance with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown playing sub-par basketball in the losses.


Tatum showed significant improvement in his game dropping 33 points on 14 of 22 shooting. He also scored a bucket in the fourth quarter for the first time this series. And the Celtics showed poise in the fourth quarter after crumbling in the first two games. A rough start to the fourth quarter in Game 4 could’ve been the downfall. Instead, following a timeout, the Celtics went on a 12-0 run pushing a five-point lead to 17 essentially putting the game on ice.


Historically the Celtics have been a good NBA playoff pick on their home court. The mystique of the parquet floor and the luck of the leprechaun have treated the Celtics well. Things have been different this season, however. They dropped five of their past seven games inside TD Garden and were booed by the faithful at different points during the first two games. They are just 2-5 as a NBA pick vs. the spread in those games.


You can’t say Boston’s confidence has wavered. After their Game 4 win the Celtics were already talking about a return trip to South Florida. That stuff is locker room fodder for the Heat, who methodically go about their business. Miami isn’t your typical No. 8 seed with many of the players who helped them win 53 games and the top seed in the conference last season. Butler is the catalyst and if you’re looking to play a same-game parlay backing Buckets to go over his point total looks like a solid NBA bet.


NBA Playoff Pick: Miami +8 / OVER 215


Check out the latest NBA betting odds at BetRivers.