Insider Insight: Gut Check time in South Beach says SuperBook Hoops Insider John Martin

May 26, 2023

All of a sudden, things have become interesting in the East.

Following last night’s Game 5 win for the Celtics, the Eastern Conference Finals are now 3-2 with the series heading back to Miami on Saturday night. What once looked like a forgone conclusion suddenly has the chance to become historic. If Boston can pull out another win, knotting up the series at three games apiece, the Celtics stand a chance to become the first NBA team to ever survive a 0-3 deficit.

SuperBook Sports Insider John Martin says all eyes will be on South Beach.

“I think Miami knows it has to end the series on Saturday night,” says Martin.

Despite being the home team, the Heat find themselves as a +2.5 underdog.

“I understand why Boston is favored for sure,” Martin says of the line. “The Celtics have shown they have no problem winning on the road. Their 3-point shooting has progressed positively and Jayson Tatum has, in my opinion, established himself as a top-three player in the NBA. If Gabe Vincent comes back and we don’t have to see anymore Kyle Lowry minutes, I think it should be closer to a pick’em.

“I expect the series to come to an end. In fact, I’m betting on it. I played the Heat moneyline at +125.”

And while the East has yet to be decided, what’s now taking place in the series could have major implications on how bettors view the NBA Finals.

“If it goes the way I think it will, with the Heat closing things out, it will mean the Nuggets are the prohibitive favorite” says Martin. “Either way, the Nuggets are in an amazing position. Teams that are coming off series that go seven games only win the next one around 38 percent of the time since 2005. It’s good to be a Nuggets fan today.”

Friday Night Trio

Three bets worth considering when the weekend kicks off

Texas Rangers at Baltimore Orioles
Oriole Park at Camden Yards – Baltimore, MD
7:05 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Baltimore -135

Memorial Day weekend gets underway in Baltimore, as two of the biggest surprises in baseball face off at Camden Yards. Few would’ve expected that the Orioles and Rangers would boast the second- and third-best records in the American League at this point in the season. But here they are.

Baltimore is 33-17, a mark that would put the O’s atop any division in Major League Baseball except for the AL East. They’re 3.0 games behind the red-hot Rays, as Tampa Bay started the season on a tear and hasn’t slowed down.

Texas comes in at 31-18, putting the Rangers 3.0 games ahead of the Astros in the AL West. They’re arguably the top team in the American League, as they’ve scored as many runs as Tampa Bay (310) and allowed just two more (198 to 196). They’re +112 run differential is 67 ahead of the third-place team.

The Rangers are a better hitting team than the Orioles, in almost every conceivable statistical category. They also pitch better, in almost every way measurable.

Tonight, Texas has the distinct advantage on the mound. Jon Gray enters the game with a 4-1 record and a 3.02 ERA. He faces off against Grayson Rodriguez, who is 2-1 with a 6.21 ERA.

Both teams have played well all season. Both have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games, won four out of five and ride two-game winning streaks. But Texas is the smarter play in the opener of this intriguing series.

Richard DeMala’s pick: Texas M/L (+118)


Dallas Stars at Vegas Golden Knights
T-Mobile Arena – Las Vegas, NV
8:00 PM ET (Sat)
SuperBook Line: Vegas -135

The Stars kept their season alive on Thursday night, winning in overtime to stave off elimination. While that had to make everyone in Dallas feel better, it also showed just how big of a task is in front of them.

Just getting one win in this series was difficult. In their own building, with a raucous crowd behind them, the Stars needed additional time to finally get a third shot past Adin Hill. When Joe Pavelski scored a power-play goal a little over three minutes into overtime, it was a collective sigh of relief in Dallas.

They avoided the sweep. That was goal No. 1. They got back into the series. That was next on the agenda. And they proved that Vegas isn’t invincible. That was probably the biggest task.

The Stars played well in the first two games of the series, but they lost twice in overtime. They couldn’t steal a road game, despite being right on the doorstep. Then, they returned home for Game 3, hoping to hold serve; they got steamrolled, losing 4-0.

At that point, the series appeared over. Dallas was cooked.

Kudos to the Stars for showing some pride. They’ll get back on a plane, travel to Las Vegas and try to finally win a game at T-Mobile Arena.

They’ll need Jake Oettinger to be great again in net. The goaltender had 37 saves in the Game 4 victory. It’ll take that kind of performance to keep the season alive.

Dallas has played Vegas tight in three out of four games. Expect Game 5 to be no different. And once again, the bounces will go the way of the Stars.

Norm LaChatlier’s pick: Dallas M/L (+120)


Boston Celtics at Miami Heat
Kaseya Center – Miami, FL
8:30 PM ET (Sat)
SuperBook Line: Boston -2.5

Things just got interesting in the Eastern Conference Finals. Less than a week ago, it appeared as the series was over. Now, it looks like history might be in the making.

After winning the first two games in Boston, Miami took a commanding 3-0 lead in the series with a dominant performance in Game 3. Their 128-102 victory had almost everyone crowning the Heat, while also burying the Celtics.

There were good reasons for those takes. Jimmy Butler and company were playing great basketball, while Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were struggling. Plus, there was the fact that no team in NBA history had ever dug out of a 3-0 hole to win a series; they were 0-150 all-time in that situation.

So, there were reasons to start talking about Denver vs. Miami in the NBA Finals. Every sign was pointing in that direction.

Not so much anymore.

The Celtics dominated Game 4 in Miami to stay alive. Then, they repeated the feat on Thursday night, cruising to a second-straight win.

All of a sudden, it’s a series. And all of the pressure is on Miami.

Game 7 is slated for Monday in Boston. The Heat don’t want to have to walk into that buzzsaw. The pressure associated with blowing a 3-0 lead, on the road in front of a hostile crowd, would be unbearable. Miami has to take care of business on Saturday.

They won’t. The Heat have lost their mojo, while the Celtics have found their groove.

Tatum and Brown needed someone else to step up and relieve some of the pressure. In Game 5, that was Derrick White, as the point guard scored 24 points, hitting six three-pointers along the way.

Boston is alive. Miami is reeling. Look for that to continue.

Jason Schlefsky’s pick: Boston M/L (-145)