The Boston Celtics will make their return to the NBA playoffs this weekend when they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers in the opening game of their first-round series as heavy 10 1/2-point underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Celtics locked themselves in as the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference with their hard-fought 95-93 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night, picking up the win that determined their own destiny on a Jae Crowder fall-away shot with less than one second remaining.
The club followed up with a solid 105-100 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in their regular season finale, extending their current winning streak to six games, both straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS).
Boston also enters Sunday afternoon’s Celtics vs. Cavaliers Game 1 matchup at Quicken Loans Arena gunning for a third consecutive SU win over Cleveland after topping the Cavaliers in both halves of a home-and-home series last weekend.
However, with the Cavaliers already locked in to the No. 2 seed in the conference, starters including LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love saw little or no playing time in those contests, explaining the heavy 10 1/2-point spread which favored the Celtics when the two clubs met this past Sunday.
Overall, the Celtics have enjoyed success against Cleveland in recent years, going 14-6 SU in their last 20 meetings, and 11-9 ATS, according to the OddsShark NBA Database. More recently, Boston has proven to be a solid bet when facing the Cavaliers, going 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings.
Boston now must face a Cleveland squad that has been dominant on its home court, going 20-1 SU in their last 21 at home, with their only loss coming in last weekend’s matchup with the Celtics.
However, the Cavaliers failed to reward bettors down the stretch, going 2-7 ATS at the sportsbooks over their final nine games, and 3-6 ATS in their last nine games on home court.
Cleveland also has been a middling bet of late when pegged as double-digit favorites, going 2-3 ATS in their last five after crushing weaker opponents with seven ATS wins in the previous eight while favored by 10 or more points.
Conversely, the Celtics have been among the best bets on the NBA odds at the sportsbooks all season, posting a 49-33 ATS record including an impressive 31-13 ATS run since mid-January, and are 9-2 SU and ATS in their last 11 road games including seven SU wins while pegged as the underdogs.
Thumbnail image via Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports Images
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