What a difference a couple of games can make.
The Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers will play Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday night, essentially beginning — as Brad Stevens noted — a best-of-three for an NBA Finals berth.
That’s a far cry from where things were following Games 1 and 2 when the Celtics picked apart LeBron James and Co. to build a 2-0 series lead. But with Cleveland storming back and holding court at home, it’s a whole new series, and oddsmakers apparently aren’t very high on the C’s at the moment.
As pointed out by OddsShark on Tuesday, BetOnline now gives the Celtics the worst odds of the remaining four teams to win the NBA title — by a significant margin.
It’s not entirely surprising to see the Celtics as such long shots. Both the Warriors and Rockets would be pretty heavy favorites against the short-handed Celtics. Just as important is the fact both Golden State and Houston would have home-court advantage against a Celtics team that’s now 1-6 on the road in the playoffs.
That’s not all. Game 5 of the conference finals in Boston — where the Celtics are 9-0 this postseason — opened as a pick ’em. Some, including VegasInsider.com, think it’s possible the Cavs actually end up a road favorite in the pivotal matchup.
Despite Boston’s undefeated record on the parquet this spring, Cleveland is actually the favorite to win the series … despite two of the three remaining games in Boston, which gives you an idea of how much LeBron James figures into the odds.
Of course, if you’re still buying the Celtics’ chances to win the East, now is a good time to dive in because obviously it’s a fluid situation, and a Boston win in Game 5 should restore them as favorites.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images