A long-awaited matchup between the top two teams in the East gets underway Wednesday night when the Cleveland Cavaliers travel to Boston for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals as four-point betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Cleveland will be well rested when it hits the floor for the Cavaliers vs. Celtics betting matchup at TD Garden after enjoying a 10-day layoff following its four-game sweep of the Toronto Raptors. The Cavaliers dominated Toronto, claiming victory by an average margin of over 15 points per game during their second-round series and improving to a perfect 8-0 straight-up in these playoffs.
Cleveland has shown steady improvement as the postseason has progressed. The Cavs escaped with a narrow one-point win as nine-point home chalk in their playoff opener against the Indiana Pacers and also failed to cover as nine-point favorites in a 117-111 victory two nights later, but they have gone 4-0-2 against the spread in six outings since then.
With SU wins in nine of their past 11 meetings with Boston, it’s not surprising to find Cleveland perched as a heavy -550 favorite to lock up an NBA Finals berth for a third consecutive season.
However, the Cavaliers must contend with a Celtics squad that is unbeaten SU and ATS in five straight home dates, including Monday night’s 115-105 win over the Washington Wizards as five-point chalk in Game 7 of their second-round series.
Pegged as a +375 underdog on the NBA series prices, the Celtics powered to the top of the Eastern Conference standings on the strength of a 17-3 SU run over their final 20 regular-season dates at TD Garden. However, the club has turned in streaky results at the sportsbooks, failing to cover in eight of nine at home prior to its current tear, including two outright losses to the Chicago Bulls as heavy chalk in the first two games of its opening-round playoff matchup, and is a middling 14-16 ATS in its past 30 games overall on home hardwood.
This year’s Eastern Conference finals marks the fourth playoff matchup between these clubs since 2008.
The Celtics needed seven games to bounce Cleveland in the second round during their march to the 2008 NBA Finals and topped the Cavaliers in the second round in six games en route to their 2010 NBA championship but were dominated in a four-game sweep in 2015.
However, Boston has been a solid bet in postseason matchups with the Cavaliers, going 7-2 ATS over their past nine clashes, according to the OddsShark NBA Database.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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