For all of their scrappy play and overachievement, the Boston Celtics still face a very tall task Thursday night at TD Garden.
After the Cleveland Cavaliers stormed past the Celtics 112-99 in Game 4 at Quicken Loans Arena, the series shifts back to Boston for Game 5 with the C’s trailing 3-1 in the Eastern Conference finals. And despite their home-court advantage, the Celtics still are heavy underdogs: The Cavs have opened as 10-point favorites to win Game 5, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.
It’s the first time in more than 20 years that the home team has been a double-digit underdog in a playoff game, per OddsShark.
Vegas has good reason to be confident in LeBron James and Co. in Boston, though. Cleveland absolutely demolished the C’s at the Garden in the first two games of this series, winning Game 1 by 13 points and cruising to a 44-point rout in Game 2. The Cavs easily covered in both cases, as they were four-point betting favorites in Game 1 and 5 1/2-point favorites in Game 2.
The tenor of the series changed when it shifted to Cleveland, with Boston scoring a shocking upset win in Game 3 without star player Isaiah Thomas. The C’s also kept things close in Game 4, but Kyrie Irving’s heroics vaulted the Cavs to another double-digit victory.
Cleveland has struggled lately as double-digit road chalk, going 0-7-1 against the spread in its last eight such games. The Celtics also had won their previous five home games in the playoffs straight-up before dropping Games 1 and 2. But if you ask sports bettors, the Cavs look like a lock to close this series out in five games and advance to their third consecutive NBA Finals.
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