We are on the precipice of NBA history. As is well known, no NBA team has ever come back to win a series when they have trailed 0-3. Only three previous teams had even managed to force a Game 7 (and none of them had the chance to finish off the comeback at home).
The Boston Celtics are either about to complete one of the greatest comebacks in all of sports, or they’re going to come up tragically short in front of their own fans against one of their biggest rivals.
I don’t envy anyone who is trying to predict the specific outcome of this game, but some things have crystallized about some of the key NBA player props. And so, it’s to them I look for my three favorite free NBA prop picks for Game 7 of the Heat vs. Celtics on Monday, May 29.
Be sure to also check out Jason Logan's full Game 7 picks and predictions before tip-off!
Heat vs Celtics Game 7 player prop picks
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
Heat vs Celtics Game 7 props
It’s tempting to turn once again to the hero of Game 6, Derrick White, for his 3-point prop again in Game 7, but I’m looking to Boston’s other starting guard instead. Incredibly, Marcus Smart and White shot 7-for-18 from deep on Saturday while the rest of the Celtics collectively went 0-for-17.
The reason I like Smart to go Over 2.5 threes made again isn’t so much his efficiency — where White clearly has him beat — it’s the change in the way Boston is using him. Smart is a better complimentary playmaker than a full-time point guard, and he’s a better spot-up shooter than he is at any other offensive action. Having him play off of Jayson Tatum — able to attack a bent defense, move the ball, or simply shoot off the first kick out — has opened up the game for both of them.
Smart has shifted into much more of an off-ball role for the Celtics over the last three games, seeing both his assists fall and his 3-point shooting rise proportionately. After attempting 10 threes in total in the first three games, he’s attempted 26 over the next three (including 11 in Game 6).
That’s seen this prop bump from 1.5 to 2.5, but accordingly, it’s also now available at +118. The Under on Smart’s assist prop (5.5 at -118) is also one I strongly considered due to his shift in role, but I like the value on this one just a bit more.
PICK: Smart Over 2.5 threes made (+118)
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Without beating around the bush, Bam Adebayo played terribly on offense Saturday night. Bam has long been an up-and-down offensive player and has never grown into the one-on-one scoring force that some expected would take him to superstardom. Still, this recent stretch has been rough, even by his standards. A lot of credit should go to Joe Mazzulla and Robert Williams III.
Williams has gotten healthier and better as the playoffs have gone on, and now he’s not only able to stonewall Adebayo one-on-one in most actions, but he’s also mucking up anything they try to do by cheating into the lane.
The tactical change by Mazzulla that has suppressed Bam’s scoring has been a simple but effective one. The Celtics are switching the pick and rolls involving the Miami center and daring him to create scoring options facing up in isolation or in the post. That move has completely upended the Miami Heat's offense and now has them on the brink of elimination.
After scoring 20 and 22 in the opening games (and not needed for much of Game 3 because it was such a blowout) Bam has scored 10, 16, and 11 points in games where his offense has been desperately missed. The nadir? He shot a grizzly 25% from the field in Game 6. The remedies for this shift are not obvious, but even the ones that come to mind like having Bam work as the ballhandler in an inverted pick and roll are not likely to see his scoring increase.
PICK: Adebayo Under 16.5 points (-109)
Count on Caleb
The playoffs are made for star storylines, but this Heat team has leaned on their role players more than just about any Conference Finals team I can remember. None have answered the call more consistently and effectively than Caleb Martin. While Butler and Bam have seen their offense come and go, Martin has been steady as a rock, playing a similar role (i.e. guard the opposing best player, rebound, and hit every shot) to that which White has done for the Celtics.
Stan Van Gundy has gone as far as to argue that should the Heat ultimately win, Martin should be awarded the Magic Johnson trophy for the MVP of the series. That might be a touch extreme, but Martin has been the Heat’s most reliable player.
Martin’s 3-point shooting has often been the thing keeping Miami in this series. The 6-foot-5 forward is shooting 46.2% from deep on 6.5 attempts per game against Boston and went 4-for-8 from behind the arc Saturday.
Erik Spoelstra didn't have a lot of moves left to make for Game 6, but the critical one was benching Kevin Love in favor of Martin. Martin’s seen his minutes jump from 30 in Game 1 to 41 in Game 6, and given his productivity and impact throughout the series, I’d expect him to play every meaningful minute he can handle.
Martin has hit three or more threes in four of the six games in the series (and hit four twice). Getting this at significant plus money feels like an error by oddsmakers.
PICK: Martin Over 2.5 threes made (+140)
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