Celtics Odds: Why You Should Be Confident In Road Favorite For Game 5

Boston is a 1.5-point road favorite, reflecting the pre-series price

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The second-seeded Boston Celtics are entering (somewhat) uncommon territory as they travel to face the top-seeded Miami Heat in a pivotal Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.

The Celtics opened as a 1.5-point road favorite entering Wednesday’s clash at FTX Arena. While it reflects on the series-opening prices for the Eastern Conference finals — the Celtics were favored despite not having home-court advantage — it’s not overly common in the postseason. The Celtics entered both Game 1 (Miami -1.5) and Game 2 (Miami -2) as road underdogs and never were favored on the road during their first-round sweep of the Brooklyn Nets.

Despite the lack of frequency, though, there are reasons to remain confident in the visitors entering Game 5 — and it goes beyond Boston’s mindset as the group eyes consistency rather than handling adversity.

According to a story from VSiN’s Steve Makinen, which was published before the NBA’s conference finals started, favorites are on a huge run in Game 5s. The team laying the points — in this case the Celtics — has gone 11-3 both on the moneyline and against the spread in Game 5 of the conference finals.

Makinen also pointed out how top-seeded teams have struggled as a small favorite and/or underdog throughout the series. In the last 39 conference finals games, when playing as underdogs or favorites of 4.5 points or fewer, No. 1 seeds are 14-27 straight up and 15-25-1 ATS. Those records have been updated to include Miami’s Game 3 win and Game 4 loss at TD Garden.

Those specific scenarios reflecting the conference finals are noteworthy while standing alone, but the Celtics’ ability as a road underdog helps aid in the argument.

Boston has the best coverage rate of any road favorite that has played more than 13 such games this season, including the regular season and playoffs. The Celtics have covered in 69.6% of games (16-7 ATS) as a road favorite. Boston’s early-season struggles limit the sample size a bit, as teams like the Milwaukee Bucks (20-9-0 ATS) and Phoenix Suns (18-16-0 ATS) finished their respective seasons with more wins as the road favorite than the Green. The Celtics, though, did so more efficiently.

Boston now will have the opportunity to improve on those statistics, with a win in Game 5 going a long way toward the Celtics’ pursuit of the NBA Finals.

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