May 12, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) walks off the court after a victory against the Philadelphia 76ers in game six of the second round of the 2022 NBA playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
- The Miami Heat host the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night
- Miami is favored by 1.5 for the matchup, with Marcus Smart listed as questionable
- Read below for May 17 NBA player props and our best bets
The Eastern Conference Finals get underway on Tuesday, May 17th with the Miami Heat welcoming the Boston Celtics to Florida. Boston saw off the Milwaukee Bucks in a Game 7 on Sunday to book their place in the last four of the NBA Playoffs, while the Heat needed just six games to beat the self-destructing Sixers.
The Celtics are favored for the series, yet they are 1.5-point underdogs for Game 1 on the road.
NBA Player Props – May 17
|BOS @ MIA||Points||Rebounds||Assists||Three Pointers Made|
|Jayson Tatum (BOS)||27.5 (O -108 | U -114)||6.5 (O +110 | U -134)||4.5 (O -152 | U +124)||3.5 (O -113 | U -113)|
|Jaylen Brown (BOS)||23.5 (O -104 | U -118)||5.5 (O -128 | U +104)||3.5 (O -115 | U -105)||2.5 (O -125 | U -102)|
|Marcus Smart (BOS)||13.5 (O -106 | U -116)||3.5 (O +116 | U -142)||5.5 (O -148 | U +120)||2.5 (O +108 | U -138)|
|Al Horford (BOS)||10.5 (O -114 | U -108)||8.5 (O -122 | U +100)||3.5 (O +128 | U -158)||1.5 (O -104 | U -122)|
|Jimmy Butler (MIA)||23.5 (O -116 | U -106)||6.5 (O -138 | U +112)||5.5 (O +104 | U -128)||1.5 (O +142 | U -184)|
|Bam Adebayo (MIA)||15.5 (O -114 | U -108)||8.5 (O -122 | U +100)||2.5 (O -154 | U +126)||OFF|
|Max Strus (MIA)||12.5 (O -106 | U -116)||3.5 (O -150 | U +122)||OFF||2.5 (O -170 | U +132)|
|P.J. Tucker (MIA)||7.5 (O +102 | U -124)||5.5 (O +112 | U -140)||OFF||1.5 (O +176 | U -230)|
|Gabe Vincent (MIA)||8.5 (O -116 | U -106)||2.5 (O +118 | U -144)||2.5 (O -164 | U +132)||1.5 (O -125 | U -102)|
Odds as of May 17th at FanDuel Sportsbook
Boston has NBA Championship odds of +225, and their chances of winning a first title since 2008 depend heavily on Jayson Tatum, who has the highest points line on Tuesday night.
Butler Takes Over for Miami
Jimmy Butler has once again been a man on a mission in the playoffs. Kyle Lowry’s injury has only exaggerated Butler’s importance to the Heat’s half court offense – he’s got a compelling case to be considered the Playoff MVP to date.
Butler is averaging 28.7 points per game in this postseason, the second-highest mark of remaining players. He’s tied with Luka Doncic for the most free throw attempts per game, and is coming off a scoring run of 33, 40, 23 and 32 in the last four games against Philadelphia. While Boston’s defense will make it harder than the Sixers did for most of the series, Butler’s volume on offense is still going to be sky high.
Boston has an array of good individual matchups for Butler. They have strength and size to limit his barreling drives to the rim, and Ime Udoka’s schemes will take away the easy mid-range looks that the Sixers so often conceded.
Players averaging 28 PPG, 5 APG, 2 SPG, and 50 FG% in a single postseason:
That’s it, that’s the list. pic.twitter.com/1xupOym4XY
— (@HVTWpodcast) May 11, 2022
Still, Butler is averaging over 21 shot attempts across the last four. He’s going to get his standard portion of free throw attempts. Getting into the mid-twenties in scoring seems very likely – his points line over is worth backing up to 25.5.
- Pick: Jimmy Butler over 23.5 points (-116)
Horford Hits the Glass and Makes Plays
Al Horford was looking fatigued towards the end of the second round, passing up good looks and showing less aggressiveness to score. Horford is a well-rounded enough player to remain effective, however. The former Hawk was still impactful on the boards and as a passer, including 10 rebounds and six assists in the Game 7 win.
A 12.5 rebounds and assists line is on the low side. Horford is averaging 13.5 rebounds and assists this postseason, and passed this mark in six of the seven games against Milwaukee. While the Heat were able to wreak havoc on the glass against the Sixers at times, they face a sterner task against Boston. With both teams switching, Horford will have some favorable matchups to collect easy boards.
When Im almost 36 years old, please Lord, please let me be just a fraction of the player that @Al_Horford is! I mean- what an absolute amazing teammate and player. Big team win fellas. pic.twitter.com/Jiondp3FsS
— marcus smart (@smart_MS3) May 10, 2022
The supposed return of Robert Williams is a threat to this over. Boston has said he is fully available for Game 1, but that’s no guarantee that Horford will see his minutes total decrease. With Williams dealing with a knee issue, it’s unclear how much he will actually play, and his availability could just mean Udoka spends more time with two bigs on the court.
This one is too good to turn down at plus odds. Horford’s playoff averages and his numbers against the Bucks suggest he should hit this over – he could get there in rebounds alone.
- Pick: Al Horford over 12.5 rebounds and assists (+104)
Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who has spent the past several years immersed in the online gaming industry. He has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.