NBA Eastern Conference Finals Betting Preview: #1 Boston Celtics vs #2 Cleveland Cavaliers

2017 NBA Playoffs
Eastern Conference Finals
#1 Boston Celtics vs #2 Cleveland Cavaliers
Best of Seven Series Format: 2-2-1-1-1
Series Price: Cavaliers -550 / Celtics +375 (Odds Courtesy of Bovada)

Game #1 – Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts
Opening Line: Cleveland -3
Current Line: Cleveland -4 (-115)
Opening Total: 219
Current Total: 220 1/2
Opening Money Line: Cavaliers -155 / Celtics +135
Current Money Line: Cavaliers -185 / Celtics +160

The Cavaliers take on the Celtics int he Eastern Conference Finals. Game One is Monday in Boston.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have swept their first two playoff series and have had nine days off since their last game May 7 against the Toronto Raptors. The defending champions will next take on the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. While Cleveland is a prohibitive favorite, the Celtics actually finished two games better than the Cavaliers and have home court in the series.

Cleveland is coached by Tyronn Lue. The Cavaliers went 51-31 in the regular season and won the Central Division. Cleveland is the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers beat the #7 seed Indiana Pacers in four games in the first round and the #3 seed Toronto Raptors also in four games in the conference semifinals. Cleveland won game four in Toronto 109-102 ten days ago. The Cavaliers are 41-45-4 ATS and the total is 53-36-1 this season.

Boston is coached by Brad Stevens. The Celtics won the Atlantic Division with a 53-29 record and are the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Despite losing the first two games at home, Boston beat the #8 seed Chicago Bulls in six games in the first round. The Celtics beat the #4 seed Washington Wizards in seven games in the conference semifinals.  The Celtics won game seven 115-105 Monday night in Boston to close out the series. The home team won every game in the series, and six of the seven games were decided by double digits.  The Celtics are 49-44-2 ATS and the total is 47-44-4 this season.

Cleveland won the season series 3-1 against Boston. The Cavaliers won in Cleveland 128-122 November 3, and 124-118 December 29. The Celtics won 103-99 in Boston March 1, but the Cavaliers won in Boston 114-91 April 5. This is the seventh meeting in the playoffs between the Cavaliers and Celtics. Boston has won four of the six playoff series against Cleveland, but the Cavaliers swept the Celtics in the first round in 2015. That series was memorable because Celtics’ forward Kelly Olynyk separated Cavaliers’ forward Kevin Love’s shoulder in that series.

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Cleveland is outscoring teams 110-107 this season. Cleveland is #4 in scoring but #20 in points allowed.  The Cavaliers are shooting 47% from the field including 38.4% from three point range. Cleveland is in the top five in both categories. The Cavaliers make 74.8% of their free throws and are #23 in that category. Opponents are shooting 45.8% from the field and 36.1% from three point range. Cleveland averages 43.8 rebounds per game and opponents average 44.2 per game. The Cavaliers average 22.7 assists, 13.7 turnovers, 6.6 steals and 4 blocks per game.

LeBron James averages 26.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 8.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game. James is having another MVP quality season. Kyrie Irving averages 25.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Kevin Love averages 19 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. He missed around 20 games with a knee injury and several games down the stretch for rest. Kyle Korver averages 10.7 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. Channing Frye averages 9.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. J.R. Smith averages 8.6 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. Richard Jefferson, Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert, Deron Williams, and Derrick Williams  will also get minutes in the rotation. Kay Felder is out with a leg injury. Edy Tavares is out with a hand injury.

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Boston is outscoring teams 108-105 this season. The Celtics are #7 in scoring. Boston is shooting 45.4% from the field and 35.9% from 3 point range. Boston make 80.7% of their free throws and are #3 in that category. Opponents are shooting 45% from the field and 33.2% from 3 point range. The Celtics are #2 in 3 point defense and #9 in field goal defense. Boston averages 42 rebounds per game and opponents average 44.5 per game. The Celtics are #25 or worse in both categories. Boston averages 24.4 assists, 13.2 turnovers, 8.2 steals and 3.5 blocks per game.

Isaiah Thomas averages 28.9 points, 2.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game. The MVP candidate is still grieving after the loss of his sister in a car accident the day before the Bulls series started. Avery Bradley averages 16.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game.  Al Horford averages 14 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5 assists and 1.3 blocks per game. Jae Crowder averages 13.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Marcus Smart averages 10.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Kelly Olynyk averages 9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2 assists per game. Jaylen Brown, Amir Johnson, Gerald Green, Terry Rozier, Jonas Jerebko, and Tyler Zeller will also get minutes in the rotation.

Cleveland is 5-0 ATS after allowing 100 points or more, 5-0-1 after a straight up win, overall, against Eastern Conference teams, and after scoring 100 points or more, 4-0 on three or more days rest, 4-0-1 in road games and against teams with winning home records, 3-0-1 against teams with winning records and against Atlantic Division teams, and 5-2 in conference finals games. The road team is 7-2-1 ATS in this series recently. The Cavaliers are 4-1 ATS in Boston recently.

Boston is 5-0 ATS at home, 4-0 against Central Division teams, 7-1 after a cover, and after scoring 100 points or more, 6-1 after a straight up win, 5-1 on one day rest, 9-2 overall and against Eastern Conference teams, 7-2 in Wednesday games and against teams with winning records. The under is 10-4 in this series, including 6-0 in Boston.

Boston struggled with Chicago and Washington, so the chances of them winning the series against Cleveland are very slim even with home court. They might win one game in the series, but Cleveland will go back to the Finals. The Cavaliers could be a little rusty in game one having not played in ten days.

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