Heat vs Celtics Game 5 Odds, Picks, and Predictions: Horford Hurts Heat at Home

As the series shifts focus from a Heat sweep to a possible Celtics revival, our NBA picks are banking on Al Horford again, doing more damage back on home court in Game 5.

Jason Logan: Senior Betting Analyst at Covers
Jason Logan • Senior Betting Analyst
May 25, 2023 • 17:26 ET • 4 min read
Al Horford NBA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Take the champagne off the ice and pack those celebratory T-shirts away for another night. The NBA Eastern Conference finals are shipping out to Boston.

With their backs against the wall down 0-3 in the series to the Miami Heat, the Boston Celtics salvaged their season for at least one more contest and are set as 7.5-point home favorites for Game 5 of the East finals Thursday.

Bookmakers are banking on Boston to pick up where it left off in the second half of Tuesday’s win, with the offense awaking from its slumber and drowning Miami’s defense in a flood of buckets.

I break down the point spread and Over/Under total for Game 5 and give my best NBA picks and predictions for Heat at Celtics on May 25. Be sure to also check out Rohit Ponnaiya's three favorite Game 5 player props!

Heat vs Celtics Game 5 best odds

Heat vs Celtics Game 5 picks and predictions

I’m going to take the cheese until I get trapped. The cheese being Over on Al Horford points.

Thursday’s Game 5 will mark the third straight outing in which I’ll be betting Horford to go Over his expected output, with the veteran forward topping twin totals of 6.5 the past two games with efforts of eight and 12 points. Not only did Horford go Over, but he had those bets in the bag by halftime.

Oddsmakers are making an adjustment on his points prop for Game 5, bumping the total to 7.5 points but pricing the Over at even money. And with player projections for Horford sitting a nine points or more, I’ll snatch up the positive expected value on this NBA player prop pick.

Horford has been a quiet offensive force for the Celtics going back to the conference finals. The 12 points scored in Game 4 was the first time Horford had posted double digits since scoring 10 points in Game 4 versus Philadelphia. He’s averaging just 7.3 points on 42% shooting so far versus Miami but has also been a facilitator and solid rebounder for the Celtics.

Horford does see a notable uptick in offensive performance back in Boston, where he averaged 10.7 points on almost 51% shooting, including 48% from beyond the 3-point arc this season. Those numbers eclipse his road results of just 8.6 points on 43.8% shooting.

The veteran forward was 3-for-6 from distance in Game 4 and with the Celtics as bigger favorites and this total ticking upwards compared to past numbers, game script is calling for a surplus of scoring from Boston. Asking for eight from Horford doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch.

My best bet: Al Horford Over 7.5 points (+100)

Heat vs Celtics Game 5 same-game parlay

Al Horford Over 7.5 -104

Jaylen Brown Over 5.5 Rebounds -142

Jaylen Brown Over 22.5 Points -122

I sip from the cup of Horford Overs again and bring Jaylen Brown along for the ride in Game 5. Horford has gone Over his modest point prop by half the past two games and this jump to 7.5 is just giving us a little extra +EV.

As for Brown, every other Celtic stepped it up in Game 5. Brown continues to struggle from outside, but some home-court comforts should help him find his form. His point projections are well beyond his total of 22.5, with my number sitting just past 25 points.

I’m also high on his rebound total Thursday, with models pegging Brown for six or more boards with some projections flirting with as many as eight rebounds. My number is just shy of seven, which is still good for Over 5.5 boards from Brown.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Heat vs Celtics Game 5 spread and Over/Under analysis

Boston staved off elimination thanks to a 66-43 second half in Game 4, finishing with a 116-99 victory as a closing 1-point road underdog. The Game 5 spread opened with the Celtics as large as 8-point home chalk but quickly slimmed to -7.5 overnight Wednesday.

Boston is just 4-5 SU and ATS at home in the NBA Playoffs and just 11-9 SU and 9-11 ATS when giving more than six points since the All-Star break. The Celtics own a +5.6 net rating inside TD Garden this postseason.

The Heat may have been outgunned in those final 24 minutes Tuesday but won’t be rattled returning to Boston, where they won the first two games of the series as underdogs of +8.5 and +10. Miami is 5-3 SU and 6-2 ATS as a visitor this postseason, bringing a road net rating of +1.1 into Thursday’s contest.

Miami's injury woes continue after Gabe Vincent, who left with an ankle injury late in Game 4, has been ruled out for Game 5. Vincent’s scoring eruption is a big reason why the Heat hold a series lead, with the guard averaging more than 17 points per game, including a huge 29-point Game 3 effort. His production will be missed.

The Celtics hope their hot shooting from Game 4 travels back to Beantown, where they made just 31% of their looks from beyond the arc in the opening two games of the Eastern Conference finals. Boston was letting it fly in Game 4, knocking down 18 of 45 shots from long range — 9-for-20 in the second half.

Boston also capitalized on some sloppy play from the otherwise careful Miami offense. Sixteen turnovers turned into 27 points for the Celtics in Game 4 after the Heat had coughed the ball over an average of only 12 times in the previous three wins.

The ceiling for the C’s is certainly high heading home for Game 5, given Boston’s biggest star stepped up after going MIA in the prior outing. Jayson Tatum finished with 33 points — 14 in a back-breaking third quarter — and shot 4-for-9 from 3-point range after a dismal 14-point flop in Game 3 in which he was 1-for-7 from distance.

Bookmakers are giving Miami a little more credit than the past two matchups in TD Garden, opening it at +8, and the betting markets aren’t backing off the best bet in the NBA Playoffs, with the Heat owning an 11-4 ATS mark heading into Game 5.

As for the Over/Under total for Game 5, oddsmakers tossed out an opener of 215 points and that has bounced between that mark and climbing to 215.5 in the hours since posting.

That total is hovering around the closing 216-point Over/Under for Game 4, with the 116-99 final score just playing below that closing number. The Game 4 total actually opened as low as 214.5, so any bets at the original O/U would have cashed, while wagers placed at 215 points, before the higher hike, would have pushed with Tuesday’s result.

Miami’s offense looked strong in the opening two quarters of Game 4, taking a 66-60 lead into the break after shooting almost 53% from the field in the first 24 minutes of action. Boston made the decision to make the Heat put the ball on the ground and played a much tighter defense on perimeter players in the second half.

That led Miami to make mistakes (nine turnovers) and threw a wrench in its ball movement, with the assist-to-FG rate dropping like a stone and the Heat firing at just 35% from the field (3-for-16 from 3-point range) in the final two frames.

That increase in defensive pressure forced the Heat to play faster and the pace rating was flipped on its ear, jumping from 96.0 in the first half to 100.0 in the closing 24 minutes. Overall, the Eastern Conference finals own a pace rating of 96.5.

The Heat enter Game 5 in Boston with a 7-1 O/U record on the road this postseason while the Celtics own a home-court total count of 5-4 O/U.

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Heat vs Celtics betting trend to know

The Miami Heat are 11-7 SU and 12-6 ATS as underdogs since the NBA All-Star break, including a 9-2 ATS mark as postseason pups. Find more NBA betting trends for Heat vs. Celtics.

Heat vs Celtics Game 5 game info

Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Date: Thursday, May 25, 2023
Tip-off: 8:30 p.m. ET

Heat vs Celtics Game 5 key injuries

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