celtics nets game 5 odds pick
May 30, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics center Tristan Thompson (13) and Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) reach for the ball during a tipoff to start the first half of game four in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

After one of the more impressive on-the-court displays in Game 4 in Boston Sunday evening, the Brooklyn Nets had to spend seemingly more time discussing off-the-court stuff ahead of tonight’s Game 5. More fan shenanigans somehow overshadowed a shooting display for the ages, as the Nets combined to shoot 57.8% from the field (48-83), 59.3% from 3-point range (16-27), and 96.7% from the foul line (29-30) in Game 4, en route to an easy 141-126 victory and a 3-1 series lead.

Let’s take a closer look at the best wagering markets with our Celtics vs. Nets Game 5 betting pick, complete with the best odds, prop predictions, and analysis.

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Celtics vs. Nets Game 5 Pick

After a modest Game 1 in terms of scoring, the last three games of this series have exploded, averaging 239.7 total points per game with each sailing over the posted total. We will find out tonight if those fireworks continue and if Boston can send this series back to Boston for a Game 6.

We have isolated a couple wagering options in Game 5 that could provide great value to bettors. We will break down those selections now in our Nets-Celtics betting preview, which includes odds, boosts, and the analyses of the picks.

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Nets vs. Celtics Game 5 Odds

Here are the current odds for Celtics vs. Nets at DraftKings Sportsbook:

Clippers-3 (-112)-143O 216.5 (-112)
Mavericks+3 (-109)+123U 216.5 (-109)

Nets vs. Celtics Prop Pick

Boston Celtics +16.5 AND Under 235.5 Total Points (FanDuel Sportsbook +175)

We can’t resist the return on this selection, despite pushing both the side and total up in our favor. We will discuss our affinity for the under more in depth in the following section, but for this prop, we are enjoying the extra basket we are afforded on the under the total portion of the wager.

After all, moving up from 231.5 at some betting houses at the time this was written to this 235.5 allows us to jump through four point totals where four Brooklyn games and eight Boston games landed this season. That increases the combined percentage of games under the total this season for these two teams from 45.4% to 53.3%, nearly an 8% jump.

As for the absurd 16.5 number the Nets would have to cover here to beat us, only five NBA games have been lined at 16.5 or higher since the start of 2020. Only one of those five favorites covered their spread. Those absurd spreads are reserved for the best teams at home against the worst opponents, but we are receiving that spot today with a Celtics playoff team.

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A Big Hill to Climb

Even if you go further down the big spread tree, you find that the underdog covered 14 of the 21 games with spreads of 14 points or greater since the start of 2020 (66.6%). This speaks to how difficult it is to gain and maintain a large lead in today’s free-scoring league.

As a double-digit favorite this season, Brooklyn was just 4-7 ATS and only won one of those 11 games by 17 or more points, beating Houston by 18 as 10.5 point favorites back on March 3. In fact, the Nets managed to lose four of those 11 games outright.

Brooklyn, for all its glitz and glamor in attaining the No. 2 seed in the East behind its three stars, only won 11 of its 48 regular season games by 17 or more points (22.9%). Only two of those came against postseason teams, interestingly in the team’s second and fourth wins of the season. That’s right, the Nets have zero wins by 17 or more against Playoff teams since Jan. 5.

Meanwhile, Boston covered its only game this season as double digit underdogs, losing by just four to the Knicks in the regular season finale with a 12 point spot. Notably, the Celtics stunningly lost just four games all season by 17 or more points. Only two of those were against Playoff teams, both of which occurred before January 18. Wildly, Boston had just two regular season losses by more than even ten points since Mar. 11, a stretch of 35 games. That is nearly half the regular season.

Celtics a Quality Road Underdog

We don’t even need the Celtics to cover for this prop, but, even so, they have covered six of their last seven as road dogs and five of their last seven as playoff dogs. They have also covered the spread in nine of their last 13 road games overall as well as seven of their last 10 games following a loss by 11 or more.

It’s also hard to imagine that Brooklyn can continue to shoot the way they did in Game 3, a game they utterly dominated and still only won by 15 points. They have only won two of the last 10 head-to-head meetings with Boston by 17 or more points, despite winning eight of those games straight up. If the Celtics wanted to quit in this series, they could have done so after Game 2 or even Sunday night after blowing the early lead and going down as many as 27 points.

It doesn’t feel like they will lay down here tonight, a mark of the leadership on the court of Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart.


Nets vs. Celtics Game 5 Prediction

The Nets have had immense success working the ball around for high-percentage looks, shooting a tremendous percentage on limited possessions in this series. They took just 84, 88, and 84 shots in the first three games of the series, before putting up 141 points on just 83 field goal attempts in Game 4.

For perspective, the NBA average shots per game is 88.4 this season. Brooklyn took just the 21st most shots per game this year at 87.2 per contest. While they continue to consistently shrink the number of possessions in the game, meaning deeper trips into the shot clock, it’s unlikely they can continue to shoot the 51.8% they have mustered in the last three games. A regression toward their league-leading 49.4% has to be expected, meaning a fair number of points coming off the board.

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Regression May Be Coming

Brooklyn also mustered just an 8-34 (23.5%) from 3-point range in Game 1, only to turn things around and go 49-103 (47.6%) in the last three games. That is markedly above the team’s 39.2% season average from deep, which was good for the second best mark in the NBA. The 16.3 long-range makes they averaged in these last three games would place them second to just Utah in terms of three point makes per game on the year, meaning there is plenty of room for regression there, as well.

Boston has averaged just 113.5 points per game in regulation in the last 10 head-to-head with Brooklyn. Remarkably, that number dips all the way down to just 103 points per game in the Celtics’ last five games at the Barclays Center. Going back further, these two have played nine of the last 12 under the total here in Brooklyn.

With Jaylen Brown out, Kemba Walker questionable after missing Game 4, and Jayson Tatum as the only true offensive weapon for this team, it’s hard to imagine the Celtics mustering much more than 110 points tonight. After all, Marcus Smart’s 23 points in Game 3 marked the only time in this series anyone but Tatum has topped 20 points for Boston.

Betting Trends to Know

The Celtics’ only game as double digit dogs this season produced just 188 total points. For Brooklyn, seven of its 11 games as double-digit favorites this season have produced less than tonight’s number in regulation. Those 11 contests averaged just 223.5 total points per game.

Brooklyn played seven of their 11 games under this season as double digit dogs (63.6%), as well as 24 of 39 games under as favorites of five or more (61.5%). The Celtics played three of four under as dogs of more than seven points, as well.

Trends favoring the under tonight:

  • 5 of last 6 under after BKN scored 125 or more prior
  • 6 of last 8 BKN home games under against opponents with sub .400 road win percentages
  • Just 2 of last 12 Bos games over after scoring 125 or more prior
  • 4 of last 5 Bos road games under against teams with above .600 home win percentages
  • 5 of last 7 Bos games under against teams with above .600 win percentages

Our Pick: 

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Bob Wankel is a credentialed Phillies writer for Crossing Broad. He is also Vice President of Sports Betting Content at XL Media and co-hosts Crossed Up: A Phillies Podcast. A South Jersey resident and graduate of Monmouth University, his past work includes 12+ years in education and six seasons as a freelancer at NFL Films. On Twitter: @Bob_Wankel E-mail: bob.w@xlmedia.com