Celtics Look To Avoid 3-0 Series Deficit Vs. Cavs, Open As Underdogs


The Boston Celtics will look to avoid a 3-0 deficit in their first-round NBA playoff series with Cleveland when they tip off against the Cavaliers on Thursday night as 4.5-point home underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Celtics dropped the first two games of the series in Cleveland, including a 99-91 loss in Game 2 on Tuesday night while pegged as 11-point betting underdogs. However, Boston did give Cleveland a run for its money, taking an early lead before reaching halftime down by just one point. But it was all about LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in the second half, with the dynamic duo combining to score the Cavaliers’ final 28 points to seal the win.

The scene now moves to Boston for Thursday night’s Cavaliers versus Celtics betting matchup at TD Garden. The Celtics aim to build on their recent strong play on home court, which has netted them three straight-up and against-the-spread wins in their last four games.

The Celtics also have been one of the NBA’s best bets in recent weeks, going 9-2 against the spread in their last 11 games to improve to an impressive 50-34 ATS on the season.

The team, though, will need to produce more offense to keep pace with the high-octane Cavaliers. Boston’s 91 points in Game 2 was its lowest point total in 14 outings, dropping the team to 5-12 SU this season in games in which it has scored fewer than 95 points.

Conversely, the Cavaliers have consistently put big numbers on the board. With the exception of the two losses in their late-season home-and-home series against Boston, during which they rested James, Irving, and Kevin Love, the Cavs have scored 108 or more points in 10 of their last 17 outings.

Despite the solid point production, Cleveland has struggled to reward bettors, going 3-8 ATS over its last 11 games, according to the OddsShark NBA Database, and is just 41-43 ATS on the season and 19-22 ATS on the road.

However, the Cavaliers have maintained the confidence of oddsmakers, who have them as a 21-10 bet on the latest odds to win the NBA championship. The Cavs closely trail the Golden State Warriors, who enter Thursday’s action as the 9-5 title favorites.

Not surprisingly, the Celtics’ NBA futures have taken a tumble to 500-1 after opening the postseason at 150-1, and they also are pegged at a distant 250-1 to emerge as the Eastern Conference champions this spring.

Thumbnail photo via David Richard/USA TODAY Sports Images

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