NBA Playoffs 5-17-17 – Free Picks
We lost for the first time in a while yesterday, as the Warriors demolished the Spurs in a game that we predicted would be close. Oh well, today is a new day. The Eastern Conference Finals begin this evening when the Cavaliers take on the Celtics.
December 2019 Safest Betting Sites
Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics -4.5 Total: 220
Like the Western Conference, the East’s top two seeds will meet in the Eastern Conference Finals. The series begins tonight, with Cleveland traveling to Boston for Game 1. Bovada has Cleveland has a heavy favorite with the Cavs at -700 to win the series and the Celtics as +450 underdogs.
Boston earned the No. 1 seed after a last season collapse from Cleveland. However, their road to the finals has been considerably tougher compared to the reigning NBA champions. They went six games with Bulls and finally took care of the Wizards in Game 7.
Boston has played much better at home throughout the playoffs. Of course, that can be said for most teams, but the Celtics have simply not shown up on the road throughout the playoffs. Most of it has to do with their bench scoring, which has been far better at T.D. Garden than road arenas.
Cleveland came into the postseason with a ton of question marks. Their defense for the final month of the season was arguably the worst in the NBA. In hindsight, concerns about their level of play were overblown.
The Cavaliers haven’t lost a game this postseason, going 8-0, and sweeping both the Pacers and the Raptors. Cleveland’s flawless postseason has started and ended with LeBron James, at least so far.
The King is averaging a cool 34 points, along with nine boards and seven assists per game, plus a few blocks and steals. He’s shooting 55 percent from the floor and is averaging a whopping 42 minutes a game.
Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love haven’t been much of a supporting cast so far. They will need to step up in this series against Boston, as the Celtics are easily the toughest test for the Cavaliers. However, both of their matchups will improve in this series. Boston has an undersized frontcourt and Isiah Thomas, a poor defender, will be tasked with guarding Irving.
The Cavaliers opened as -3 favorite. The odds have shifted to -4 at most sportsbooks, but currently, Bovada is dealing -4.5. Close to 80 percent of wagers have come in on Cleveland so far. The total opened at 219.5, and that is where it still stands at most sportsbooks. Bovada has moved the number a half-point up to 220.
I like the Celtics tonight. I realize the Cavaliers are coming off a huge amount of rest, but Boston seems to be a roll at home and is feeding off their crowd like no other team in the league right now. Brad Stevens knows he needs strong contributions from his bench to win this series and they will be in a good position to perform well once again with the home crowd’s energy.
I am not as confident as the oddsmakers that Cleveland should be such a large favorite in this series. They didn’t play well to end the year, and their matchups in the first two rounds were not against teams that I considered genuine title threats.
Boston will make a run in this series and have a good chance to win tonight’s game outright.
Pick: Celtics +4.5