NBA Playoffs Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Sunday, May 21st


Best Bets for Sunday’s NBA Playoff Games 

The NBA Playoffs should be extremely exciting on Sunday, May 21st, as we have a Game 3 between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Make sure you keep reading for our NBA best bets for the day, and continue to stop back in for VSiN’s coverage of the NBA Playoffs. You can find everything you’ll possibly need in our NBA Playoffs Hub. We’ll hopefully have at least one pick for you on every game the rest of the way, and that includes one tonight.   


MORE: Check out our Pro Picks page for everything our experts have on May 21

Here is our favorite NBA bet for Sunday, May 21st (odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook): 

Boston Celtics at Miami Heat – Game 3

In Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla’s favorite movie, The Town, Ben Affleck tells Jeremy Renner that he needs his help hurting some people. "Whose car we gonna take?" was Renner’s response. Apparently that quote has become something of a rallying cry for this year’s Celtics team. But with the way Boston has performed in this postseason, I’d have a hard time riding with any of the Celtics. I’m only getting in the car if Erik Spoelstra or Jimmy Butler is behind the wheel. 

This seems like a natural spot to back Boston, with the Celtics staring down an 0-3 deficit. Boston was the better team throughout the course of the regular season, by far. However, it’s hard to ignore what we’ve seen from the Celtics in the playoffs. They were pushed a lot further than expected by a lousy Atlanta Hawks team in the opening round, and they then needed to win Games 6 and 7 to beat a flawed Philadelphia 76ers squad. Boston just hasn’t looked anything like the wagon it was over 82 games, and it now seems more reasonable to expect an above-average Celtics team rather than an elite one. Meanwhile, the Heat have leveled up significantly since the start of the postseason — which is something that seems to happen regularly with this group. 

The reality here is that Jimmy Butler is the best player on the floor in this series, which is something that wasn’t so clear heading into it. He has been outplaying Jayson Tatum and it really hasn’t been close. That has allowed the Heat to be in every game thus far, and Butler is also bringing out the best in all of his teammates. His role players know exactly what they can and can’t do, and they have been executing to perfection this whole postseason. It seems like somebody different steps up for Miami every game, and that’s a great thing to have at this time of year. 

Boston’s defense has also just been a disaster in this series. Without Tyler Herro in the mix, Miami really shouldn’t be shredding anybody right now. But the Celtics have a defensive rating of 121.2 over the last two games. That would have been the fifth-worst mark in basketball in the regular season. Boston has also looked completely lost on both ends of the floor in the fourth quarter of Games 1 and 2. And that’s not a new trend either, with the Celtics being a weak crunch time team in each of the past two seasons — which is something that cost them a championship against the Golden State Warriors last year. 

With Boston playing so poorly right now, it’s just impossible to back this team as a 4-point road favorite. This feels like a game that should come down to the wire, and I’m taking Spoelstra, Butler and Co. with the points in that situation every time. I have lost all faith in this Celtics team, which could be staring down some big changes this offseason. 

Bet: Heat +4 (-108) 

VSiN NBA Links 

NBA Betting Splits

NBA Injury Report

NBA Team Power Ratings

NBA Odds

Hardwood Handicappers Podcast