It wasn’t long ago when the Cleveland Cavaliers’ chances at making the NBA Finals looked bleak. They prepared for a first-round Game 7 for the first time with LeBron James leading the way, which was following an inconsistent regular season. However, Cleveland beat the Pacers to wrap up their first round series win, and then came out and smacked around the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Despite all of the ups and downs, the Cavs are now heading into an Eastern Conference Finals matchup against the Boston Celtics as sizable favorites to once again claim the conference crown. Cleveland has to hit the road for Game 1 of this series but strong support from the betting public has turned it from slight underdogs to slight favorites in this matchup. This game should be an intriguing one as the Cavaliers aim to keep rolling while Boston looks to knock them off and grab early control.
Game 1 of this NBA Playoff Series is on Sunday, May 13, 2018 at 3:30 p.m. ET at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The game will be nationally televised on ABC.
The Cavaliers opened up as 1.5 point underdogs for Game 1 but the odds have shifted and now they are 1-point favorites. The money is still pouring in on Cleveland, which is getting more than 77 percent of the action to cover.
The scoring total is listed at 204 points, with the “over” the much more common pick in NBA basketball odds. Cleveland and the Celtics are both listed at -110 on the moneyline, which is a real rarity to see a legitimate pick ‘em. The Cavaliers are getting the majority of the action on this wager as well as the bettors are all in on Cleveland.
34.3. That’s the number of points per game James is averaging in these playoffs as he continues to prove he is unlike mere mortals on the court. Despite guiding into his age 33 season in 2017-18, James is still playing like the best player in the NBA.
He is shooting 55.3 percent from the field while adding 9.4 rebounds, 9.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. He has amassed multiple triple-doubles lately and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he adds another couple more in this series.
The Celtics have a solid young squad that plays good defense all the way around, but can they slow down James when he gets a head of steam? It could decide the series.
Most people agree the Cavaliers have the personnel advantage, but that was the feeling in the second round for the 76ers when they faced the Celtics. Despite missing stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, Boston still emerged victorious in just five games.
The Celtics still have talent, but many people are giving praise to coach Brad Stevens, who has a great mind and is able to make adjustments on the fly. Boston has the coaching advantage in this series, and it remains to be seen how much that will matter.
Free Game 1 Picks – Cleveland and the OVER
The Celtics have the better coach and the home court advantage in Game 1, but the Cavaliers have the best player in James. Boston should be able to hang around, but the issue late could be who takes over and gets key buckets.
Look for James to dominate the fourth quarter to help his team come away with an integral victory to open up this series. The “over” is the choice on the scoring total.
Score Prediction: Cavaliers 106, Celtics 100
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