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Eastern Conference Finals Game 5 Gambling Preview: Can Celtics extend the series versus Miami?

Will the Miami Heat ensure their second NBA Finals appearance in the past four years? Or can the Boston Celtics keep their season alive?

The Celtics host the Heat on Thursday for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, with Miami holding a 3-1 series lead.

Here's our full Game 5 preview, with odds provided by our presenting sponsor - Betfred Sportsbook

Miami Heat at Boston Celtics (Thursday, 8:30 pm ET, TNT)

Spread: Boston (-8)

Over/under: 215.5

Can the Celtics make another step forward toward potentially making NBA history? Or can the Heat quickly course correct and exert their dominance?

It seemed inevitable the Heat would perform the latter. Miami closed out competitive contests in both Game 1 and 2 with disciplined execution, while Boston collapsed. Heat star Jimmy Butler made big plays in clutch moments. Celtics star Jayson Tatum shrank during those times. Then in Game 3, Boston didn’t compete at all and appeared ready to make vacation plans early. After showing defiance throughout the playoffs over his strategic blunders and timeout mismanagements, Boston coach Joe Mazzulla faulted himself and said, “I just didn’t have them ready to play.”

After showing mixed signals throughout the playoffs on whether they trust Mazzulla on the sideline, the Celtics stormed out in Game 4 and showed they cared. They overcame nine-point deficits in both the first and second quarter. They went on double-digit runs in the second, third and fourth quarters. And Mazzulla, himself, called timeouts much earlier during the Heat’s runs.

Miami didn’t let its guards down against Boston. They have stayed self-motivated. The top-seeded Celtics might seem inclined to keep the momentum going before a home crowd, especially considering they were considered NBA title contenders. Regardless, it appears the Heat will tighten up their turnovers (15), fouls (18) and 3-point shooting (25%), all numbers that contributed to their Game 3 loss. Considering eighth-seeded Miami has responded well this season to adversity, it seems equipped to put this series away before it can really get interesting.

Final score prediction: Heat 113, Celtics 104

Betting Pick: Miami (+8)/Miami ML (+240)

Mark Medina is a veteran NBA reporter who will be contributing to Aaron Torres Online and Aaron Torres Media throughout the NBA playoffs - follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.

To get full odds on the entire NBA Playoffs visit Betfred Sportsbook

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