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Top 3 NBA Player Props (May 21): The Inevitable Jayson Tatum?

Jayson Tatum Boston Celtics Miami Heat
Jayson Tatum 0 of the Boston Celtics reacts against the Miami Heat in game two of the Eastern Conference Finals on May 19 2023 Adam GlanzmanGetty ImagesAFP

NBA Prop Pick: Jayson Tatum Over 3.5 3-Pointers Made (+126) at Caesars Sportsbook


Top Picks for Sunday

  • Jayson Tatum Over 3.5 3-Pointers Made (+126)
  • Robert Williams III Over 1.5 Blocks (+150)
  • Jaylen Brown Over 23.5 Points (-125)

Will Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics bounce back and crush their NBA player props for Sunday’s Game 3 versus the Miami Heat?


Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat

Sunday, May 21, 2023 – 08:30 PM EDT at Kaseya Center


Comebacks are nothing new for the Boston Celtics. They were down 1-0 and 3-2 to the Philadelphia 76ers during the second round of these playoffs, but Jayson Tatum found the switch just in time to secure Boston’s place in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Then again, the Celtics didn’t drop their first two games to Philly at the Garden. The Miami Heat will be tough to beat at home this Sunday in Game 3; still, with Boston’s betting market already taking a hit, Tatum and his cohorts are available at bargain prices for our NBA picks.

Is Jayson Tatum Out of Shape?

Not this year. Tatum admitted to running out of gas during last year’s NBA Finals, so he went out and hired a personal chef to cook him healthy food. Smart man. Tatum continues to lead the league in postseason minutes played, but according to the Box Plus/Minus stats at Basketball Reference, his performance level has gone up at both ends of the court:

2021-22: plus-3.1 OBPM, plus-1.4 DBPM

2022-23: plus-4.7 OBPM, plus-1.5 DBPM

There have definitely been some peaks and valleys, though. Tatum couldn’t hit a bucket in Game 6 versus Philadelphia until the fourth quarter when he started making it rain from downtown to lead Boston to a 95-86 victory.

Speaking of downtown, our first NBA player prop asks Tatum (35.0% from deep) to drain Over 3.5 3-pointers this Sunday, for a payout of +135 on the overseas lines at press time. FantasyData has Tatum projected for 3.32 made threes. It’s a pretty easy call at these odds.

You have to love what Miami has done so far in this series, holding Tatum to 1-for-3 from behind the arc in Game 1 and 3-for-10 in Game 2. However, as we saw versus Philly, it only takes one quarter for Tatum to go nuclear; he finished that Game 5 with four 3-pointers in 11 attempts.

NBA Prop Pick: Jayson Tatum Over 3.5 3-Pointers Made (+126) at Caesars Sportsbook


Is Robert Williams III Healthy?

Probably not. Robert Williams III (1.4 blocks per game) has never played more than 61 games in a regular season, and only managed 35 this year with 20 starts, thanks in large part to a torn meniscus in his left knee.

But Williams is here now, and he’s been one of Boston’s best players during this postseason, albeit in just 22.3 minutes per game. That’s still been enough for the Time Lord to rack up 1.3 blocks a night; FantasyData has Williams down for 1.36 blocks during Game 3, and that’s in 22 projected minutes, so we’re recommending Over 1.5 blocks this Sunday at a potential payout of +140.

Playing a relatively short team in Miami should help. Williams had two blocks in Game 2 after being held to just one in the series opener; he may be just 6-foot-9, but so is Miami center Bam Adebayo. The only thing giving us pause is whether Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla will decide to use Williams off the bench again, which will pit him more against 6-foot-11 Cody Zeller instead.

NBA Prop Pick: Robert Williams III Over 1.5 Blocks (+150) at Bet365



How Many Points Will Jaylen Brown Score?

He might not be wearing the mask anymore, but Jaylen Brown is still a fearsome scorer, dropping 23.9 points per game in these playoffs – although just 22 in Game 1 and a mere 16 in Game 2. FantasyData likes Brown to score 26.47 points this Sunday in Game 3.

That’s more than enough for our purposes. Brown’s total for Sunday is pegged at 23.5 points, with the Over priced at -125; that vigorish isn’t enough to eat away the entire 3-point gap between the projections and the overseas NBA odds.

We probably wouldn’t be getting this value if Brown had scored more points Friday night. He only shot 7-of-23 in Game 2, including 1-of-7 from behind the arc. Some of that is Miami’s defense, and some of that is dumb luck – especially on those 3-pointers.

When it comes to all three of our Celtic targets, we’re counting to some degree on Boston playing with extra verve this Sunday. They’re down 2-0 on hostile ground, and in very real danger of seeing their title hopes vanish after coming so close last year. But as we saw in the previous round, this is an old hat for Tatum and his teammates. Bet accordingly.

NBA Prop Pick: Jaylen Brown Over 23.5 Points (-125) at BetMGM

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