Gary | Wed 17/05/2017 - 17:08 EDT

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics online betting tips

Cavs shouldn't have too much trouble with the young Celtics

By Eric Uribe

Odds courtesy of BetOnline.

Lines

It's not often you see the top seed in the conference as heavy underdogs in the postseason. However, that's exactly where Boston find themselves. The Celtics are +535 longshots to unseat the Cavaliers as the Eastern Conference champions, while betting Cavs to win the series nets you a not-so-modest -700 payout.

As with any series that involves LeBron James, the immediate question is how do you slow him down? James is in the midst of the best postseason run of his career, averaging 34.4 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists through eight games. Aside from the eye-popping numbers, James efficiency has been off the charts. He's shooting 57 percent from the field — including 46.8 percent from three-point land. 

James' extraordinary play is trickling down the entire roster. As James works pick and rolls to perfection, Cleveland's army of shooters are taking advantage of the open looks. They've made an NBA-high 14.4 three-pointers this postseason off 43.4 percent shooting. Furthermore, the Cavs are knocking down 49 percent of their catch-and-shoot opportunities. 

Cleveland is having all this success while Kyrie Irving has been relatively pedestrian by his standards. Sure, he's averaging 23.8 points per game this postseason, but that's via 39.9 percent shooting — and 28.1 percent from beyond the arc. Irving draws a high-stakes matchup against Isaiah Thomas, which may be the head-to-head battle to watch out for this series. 

Kyrie

Thomas tore up the Cavs to the tune of 29.5 points per game in four regular season meetings. After a seesaw battle against a premier defender in John Wall, Irving's defensive prowess certainly pales in comparison. Both Jeff Teague and Kyle Lowry showed success this postseason in battles with Irving — a promising sign for Thomas, who needs to play out of his mind for Boston to compete this series.

Akin to the defending champions, the Celtics practically live beyond the arc.

They've tallied a whopping 456 three-point attempts throughout the playoffs (second only to Houston) and are hitting on 37.3 percent of those shots. There's room for improvement there, but Boston has defended the three-ball well. Their opponents are shooting just 31 percent from three during the first two series.

However, guarding the Cavs slew of sharpshooters will be a bigger test than Chicago or Washington was for Boston. There are 53 active players with at least 700 three-pointers made and 35 percent career shooting to their name — Cleveland has eight of those players on their roster. Between Kyle Korver, J.R. Smith, and even Channing Frye, LeBron is armed with the best supporting cast of his career. This is a miss-or-make league and this series will certainly live up to that billing. 

glass

Sans James, the biggest challenge for the Celtics might be on the glass. Rebounding has been their Achilles heel all year, evinced by being out rebounded in 12 of 13 playoff games. Boston is grabbing 45.7 percent of total available boards this postseason, the lowest among playoff teams. 

It doesn't help that Cleveland rarely get beaten on the glass. Between James, Kevin Love, and Tristan Thompson, the reigning champions have three players averaging at least nine boards this postseason. Those inevitable second-chance points the Celtics will give up could prove to be their undoing this series.     

I don't see James and company giving up their throne atop the Eastern Conference. Boston is too young, less talented, more worn out, and just not at the same level as the defending champions. We'll give them one game due to home court, but Cleveland will roll in five games.

Pick: Cleveland (-700)

Total: Five games

Results / FixturesNBA
 

Category : Sports Betting News

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