The Boston Celtics are riding high after their victory in Game 5 of the 2023 NBA Eastern Conference Finals, with a final score of 110-97 against the Miami Heat. They proved their mettle by shooting 41% from the three-point line (16-39). History has shown the Celtics thrive under these circumstances - their regular season and playoff record improves to an impressive 38-2 SU when they hit over 40% from three-point range.
Early money has come in on Miami & on the Under in Game 6. The opening line was the Boston Celtics favored by -3 at Miami, and within an hour the odds shifted to make Boston only favored by 2.5. Still, this is a noticeable shift from the Game 4 line, where it seemed the market was prepared for a lackluster performance from Boston, making them underdogs in the game. Now, the Celtics have seen a 3.5-point upgrade since Game 4, signaling renewed faith from the Vegas market. In Game 3, Boston was favored by 4.5 points at Miami – so, overall, they have been downgraded since then.
The total, which opened at 212.5, has already been bet down to 211. This decrease is in line with historical trends; since 2002, Game 6 totals have typically been 2.3 points lower than Game 5 totals. The current total reflects that downward adjustment, with Game 5 closing at a total of 215. Interestingly, 58% of such Game 6s have gone under the set total (142-196-12), with a -2.4 Over/Under margin.
The Heat were without Gabe Vincent - who has been averaging 17.5 points per game in this series - due to an ankle injury in Game 5. His status for Game 6 remains uncertain, which could potentially shake up Miami's offensive approach.
Now, let's dive into individual player performances. The Vegas prop market showed some inaccuracies in the previous match as all four top scorers, two from each team, went under their prop total. Jayson Tatum fell short of his 30.5 points prop, managing to score 21 points. However, he significantly contributed with 11 assists. Jimmy Butler had a series-low 16 points, significantly under his 28.5 points prop. Jaylen Brown just missed his 22.5 points prop, ending with 21 points on 9-18 shooting. Bam Adebayo also ended just under his 17.5 points prop with 16 points and also was plagued by 6 turnovers.
In Game 5, the Celtics managed to control the tempo with their defense and long-range shooting. However, the Miami Heat, despite their Game 5 setback, have shown their ability to perform at a high level throughout this playoff run. Their offensive depth has kept them in the series, but they will need to overcome the potential absence of Gabe Vincent and rectify their turnovers issue to regain the upper hand.
We are teetering on the edge of an electrifying Game 6. The Celtics need to keep their momentum, while the Heat need to recover from the Game 5 setback. For now, it seems the odds favor Boston slightly, but as any seasoned viewer would tell you, in the world of NBA playoffs, anything can happen.
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