NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Thursday 5/19

By Jonathan Von Tobel  (Senior NBA Analyst) 

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Welcome to the daily NBA betting market report, your source for analysis on the betting lines for the day in professional hoops. For updates throughout the day follow me on Twitter, or check out The Edge daily at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT.

All game lines via VSiN NBA Odds page.

Market Report for Thursday, May 19

*Lines are opening numbers

Boston Celtics at Miami Heat (-4, 205.5)

Game 2: Heat lead 1-0

As crazy as it sounds, the Boston Celtics should come into this game with some confidence after the Game 1 loss in which it was outscored by 25 points in the third quarter. The obvious place to start is that Boston won three of the four quarters and led by 8 points at halftime after opening a 13-point lead at one point in the first half. However, their dominant defense looked nothing of the sort on Tuesday. Miami averaged 1.216 points per possession, 1.122 in half-court settings and Jimmy Butler dropped 41 points on 12-of-19 shooting from the floor and 18 trips to the free throw line. Boston’s defensive play has to be better and it should be with Marcus Smart expected to return from injury.

Smart being back has a ripple effect for the Celtics, sending Derrick White back to the bench and cutting into the minutes of Payton Pritchard. Pritchard was solid in hiss 30 minutes in Game 1, but he is a below average defender who was exploited in his time on the floor. Smart should be able to win a few more possessions against Butler as well on the defensive end of the floor. Bettors should expect a much more consistent effort from the road team here tonight with Smart back in action.

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