Free 2018 NBA Playoffs Expert Picks: Cavaliers vs Celtics Prediction (Conference Finals – Game 1)
The NBA kicks off the Conference Finals of the playoffs on Sunday night. Cleveland and Boston meet for the second straight season in the Eastern Conference Finals. The game will be on ABC at 3:30 PM ET. Here is my best bet for May 13. Odds can be found at BetOnline.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics Predictions
Boston finished the regular season in second place of the Eastern Conference with a 55-27 record. The Cavaliers finished with a 50-32 record, which put them in fourth place in the regular season. The Celtics and Cavaliers met in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals. Cleveland won the series 4-1.
The Celtics have made it to this point after beating the Milwaukee Bucks in a seven game series and the Philadelphia 76ers in a five game series. Jayson Tatum has averaged 18.8 points per game in the playoffs, Terry Rozier has averaged 18.2 and Al Horford has averaged 17 points per game.
The Cavaliers played a tough seven game series in the first round against the Indiana Pacers. Cleveland faced the top seeded Toronto Raptors in the second round and beat them in a four game series sweep. Lebron James has averaged 34.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists per game. Kevin Love has scored 14.7 points and 10.1 rebounds per game on average.
The Cavaliers and Celtics met three times during the regular season. The Celtics lost the first game of the season 102-99. Cleveland was led by Lebron James, who had 29 points and 16 rebounds. Jaylen Brown led the Celtics in points with 25.
The second game between these two teams was in Boston. The Celtics were able to put up a better performance this time around. Boston won 102-88. Lebron James only scored 19 points this time around. Terry Rozier put on a show for Boston. He scored 20 points in less than 20 minutes off the bench.
The third game of the season series was in Boston again. Lebron James scored 24 points and had 10 assists this game. Terry Rozier again led the Celtics in points with 21. Rozier also added 9 assists. Cleveland came away with a 121-99 win.
Daniel Theis, Gordan Hayward and Kyrie Irving are all out for the season for the Celtics. Shane Larkin and Jayson Tatum are both questionable for Game 1. The Cavaliers are not missing any of their players for Sunday’s game against Boston.
Cleveland Cavaliers (-130) / -1½ (-112) at Boston Celtics (+110) / +1½ (-108) Betting Odds
Cleveland is listed at a -130 money line, which implies that the Cavaliers will win this game 57 percent of the time. The point spread has the Cavs as a -1½, which is not a huge spread. The visiting team being favored in this matchup is very odd though.
The Celtics and Cavaliers each had impressive series victories in the second round. Boston is an underdog as a host in Game 1, which seems wrong to me. The Celtics were underdogs at home against the 76ers in Game 5 but were able to still pull off the victory. Cleveland has not played a game since May 7, which has given them some time to cool off. I believe the Celtics pull off the upset at home in Game 1.