NBA Player Prop Picks & Odds for Celtics vs Heat (5/23/23): Best Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart Props
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NBA Player Prop Picks (5/23/23)
Check out our four favorite player props below for this pivotal Game 4 matchup between the Celtics and Heat.
After being significant series favorites at the beginning of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics now find themselves down 3-0 to the Miami Heat and have to win on the road to avoid elimination. Will a hero step up for Boston, or will Butler and company shut the door and make yet another NBA Finals appearance?
Marcus Smart u12.5 Points (-110)
We don’t doubt the impact that Marcus Smart has on the floor for Boston Celtics, but it is extremely difficult to back the overs on his player props, particularly his points, with the amount of volume he has right now.
Through the first three games of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat, Smart has only hit the over once on this line (13 points in Game 1); however, he has shot just 20 total times during that span, and no more than eight times in a single game. Further, in his past six games against Miami, he has failed to score 13 or more points in four of those bouts.
Additionally, in the shots he has taken, he has struggled; his shooting split of 35/30/73 is not nearly good enough to justify taking many more shots in Game 4. The Heat defense has done a terrific job against this Celtics team and should continue to dominate on that end in this one.
Jaylen Brown u23.5 Points (-105) & u2.5 Threes (-135) & o2.5 Turnovers (-155)
It is strange to get near-plus money on a prop (u23.5 Points) that has hit three-straight games due to a severe cold streak from Jaylen Brown. It almost feels like a trap! Still, these favorable odds will not deter us from fading Brown, a player who looks done with the season, the coaching, and perhaps, even the locker room.
Obviously, we try to avoid narrative plays and stick with the numbers, matchups, and overall floor/court situation; however, all of these factors appear favorable to this bet, too. Brown has failed to score 24 or more points in all three games against the Heat, and now the C’s will have to win on the road just to avoid a sweep.
Brown’s greatest struggle right now is that the Heat know exactly how to play him: let him shoot threes until his arms fall off and then dig every time he tries to penetrate the paint. Brown has shot just 2-20 (10%) from behind the arc in this series and 37% from the floor overall. It is surprising, though, as Brown was shooting the lights out (a 54/47/70 shooting split) in the 13 playoff games leading up to this series.
Now, Brown has entered one of the worst shooting slumps of his career, and against a tough-nosed, high-IQ defense like Miami, it is just being accentuated. The volume that Brown has had from deep is not substantial enough for us to be concerned about him hitting three 3s; he is averaging just shy of seven 3PAs per game, forcing him to shoot well above 40% to get to this number.
Lastly, Brown is also averaging four turnovers per game, primarily on dribble drives where he has gotten stripped. Brown has turned the ball over at least three times in two of his three games against the Heat in this series and in five of his past six playoff games against Miami (including the 2022 Playoffs.) It is clear that the Heat are well-prepared defensively and have had Brown’s number. Expect that to continue in this Miami home game, where the environment is going to be brutal and loud.