May 21, 2017
There is one pick today.
Take Boston Celtics +17 spread against Cleveland Cavaliers for 3% of the bankroll.
The Boston Celtics didn't just lose Game 2 against the Cleveland Cavaliers; they were completely and uttering demolished, accounting for the worst loss by a number 1 seed in playoff history. In the 130-86 victory, the Cavaliers led by as many as 50 points, set an NBA playoff record by leading by 41 points at the break, and a franchise record for total points and all of that was done with the team resting all of their starters in the fourth quarter. Along with being embarrassed on their home floor, the Celtics have also lost Isaiah Thomas for the remainder of the playoffs due to an injury. The loss of Thomas is a blow to what should be an already demoralized team, however the line movement on this game is almost laughable as it originally opened with Cleveland as a -5.5-point favorite, but because of the result of Game 2, the line has ballooned all the way up to where it currently sits, around the -17 mark.
The Celtics certainly have their backs against the wall, however this is nothing new for this team. They also went down 0-2 to start their opening round series with the Chicago Bulls but managed to rally the troops and ended up rattling off 4 straight wins to end the series in 6-games. While we don't believe they will rally an ultimately upend the Cavaliers in this series, we also don't believe that expecting them to get blown out in each and every contest is a reasonable assumption as well. Looking at the side-by-side statistics of both Game 1 & 2, both teams put up very similar numbers with the exception of two areas. In Game 1 it was the Cavaliers ability to get to the free throw line that was the difference in the contest, while in Game 2 it was their ability to knock down the three-point shot. Every other area was rather close and if Boston can prevent the Cavaliers from completely dominating one area of the game, they should be able to at least make Game 3 competitive.
Isaiah Thomas was certainly having a great season up until his injury, that being said, Thomas is not the only player on this Celtics team. While his injury is costly, it also provides a (potential) shakeup of the Celtics' game plan moving forward. Thomas was a player who liked to be in control of the ball, whether he was shooting it himself or distributing it around the baseline, with him out, it is going to open up opportunities for other players on the floor to take control. We wouldn't be surprised to see a much more cohesive unit on the floor for Game 3, simply because Thomas is now out of the rotation. The loss of a floor general can often cause other role players to step up and elevate their game in his absence. That is what we expect to happen here.
Ultimately, we don't believe the Celtics will have enough firepower to win this game outright, however, we do believe they will be much more competitive than the first two meetings. Cleveland is on a mission; however, Coach Tyronn Lue also has no issues with giving his start players a much-needed rest as we saw in the 4th quarter of Game 2. Even if this game gets out of hand early, 16 points is a lot for a team to win by in this league. The Cavaliers have been dominant, the Celtics have been underwhelming and all of that has created a solid public perception of both of these teams. There is no question that the Cavaliers are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference, and they will likely win this game to take a 3-0 lead, however, this is simply too many points to pass up on with what should be an extremely motivated and desperate Celtics team.
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