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2009 NBA Playoff Betting: Magic vs. Cavs Predictions

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

Cleveland (1) vs. Orlando (3)

Like Republicans seeking the presidential nomination, NBA superstars need to wait patiently for their turn at a shot at the championship. Shaquille O’Neal had to wait, Michael Jordan had to wait, and LeBron James has had to wait. But now everyone in the Association agrees that James’s time has come.

Like Jordan, who grew restless until the Bulls pieced together enough complementary parts to put them over the top, James made it known that he wouldn’t wait forever for the Cavs to bring in some help. Enter Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak and – most significantly – point guard Mo Williams.

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Williams has held his own against the best PGs in the league, provides the Cavs with another perimeter defender (important as Cleveland’s offensive is built around the 3-pointer) and may give James second thoughts about bolting to New Jersey or New York when the King becomes a free agent next summer.

Winning twice in Boston, meanwhile, gives the Magic a tremendous jolt of a Adrenaline and confidence that it can win a game in Cleveland. The Cavs lost only twice at home all season, including once when James and the big guns were rested, so Orlando will have to figure out a way to break through there at least once while holding serve in Hooterville.

The Cavs have size, and will have to spend a good number of fouls dealing with Dwight Howard, the best big man in the league. Howard calling out coach Stan Van Gundy after Game 5 appears to have done no damage to the team, and the big fella is now getting the touches he wants.

Speaking of Van Gundy, give the grumpy guy some credit for the Magic’s defense in the Boston series. Paul Pierce was double-teamed every time he touched the ball and Ray Allen was never able to get it going. It’ll be interesting if the same tactic is employed against James.

Season series: Orlando 2-1

Head to head results:

(at) Orlando 116, Cleveland 87

(at) Cleveland 97, Orlando 93

(at) Orlando (99), Cleveland 88

Playoff Betting Schedule:

Game 1: Wednesday, May 20 at Cleveland, 8:30 PM TNT
Game 2: Friday, May 22  at Cleveland, 8:30 PM TNT
Game 3: Sunday, May 24 Orlando, 8:30 PM TNT 
Game 4: Tuesday, May 26 at Orlando, 8:30 PM TNT
Game 5: Thursday, May 28 at Cleveland, 8:30 PM TNT (if necessary)  Sports Betting at the Sportsbook
Game 6: Saturday, May 30 at Orlando, 8:30 PM TNT (if necessary)   
Game 7: Monday, June 1 at Cleveland, 8:30 PM TNT (if necessary) 

Playoff Betting Trends: Interesting to see how Cleveland deals with 9 days of inactivity after tearing apart the two weakest teams in the playoffs, a Detroit team that couldn’t wait to get the season over with and a confused Atlanta team that knew it didn’t have enough gas to make it past the second round. After a few fits and starts in the Celtics series, Orlando starts the Eastern Finals having play its best 4½ periods of the playoffs, storming back in Game 6 and thoroughly dominating the banged-up, exhausted and short-handed Celtics in Game 7. Cleveland covered the spread in its first 7 playoff games, then pushed in the clincher against the Hawks. It’s been nearly a month and a half since the Cavs haven’t covered.

How Orlando wins: Can a team that relies on 3-point shooting as much as the Magic do get past the Cavs? Cleveland was 13 for 21 behind the arc against Boston in Game 7. If that stuff keeps dropping against Cleveland, it could force the Cavs out of their defensive comfort zone and extend the series.

How Cleveland wins: Assuming the Cavs really believe that the Eastern playoffs are not an extension of the exhibition season and the week-and-a-half layoff doesn’t do much damage, Cleveland will continue to feed off James both offensively and defensively. The Cavs came thisclose to beating Boston in 7 last year and are much better this time around.

Prediction: The Cavs have tremendous energy at home, and appear to be worth every point of the 9 they give in the first game. Barring an injury to James, who leads Cleveland in every offensive category, it’s hard to see how the Magic steal a game on the road. The Cavs have the quickness to close on Orlando’s 3-point shooters, and if the 3s don’t drop at a rate of at least close to 40 percent, the games can get out of control. One overlooked factor could be Cleveland’s puzzling and inconsistent play in losing both games at Orlando this season.

Magic vs. Cavs Playoff Prediction:

Cleveland was careless with the ball and disinterested defensively in losing 99-88 and 116-87. Cleveland is -625 to win the series, and should do it in 6.

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Lawrence Paul is a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog, and is a free-lance gambling and travel writer from Massachusetts.

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About Lawrence Paul

Lawrence Paul is back in the saddle as a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. He's got an AMAZING knack for predicting when a team will have a letdown! Stick with our resident gambling experts sports betting tips all season long!


Comments

Comments

  1. Orlando has had some success against Cleveland, but that was the regular season and this is the Eastern Conference Championship.

    Cleveland is well rested and will not lose at home. They may drop one or even two on the road, but this will be over in no more than six.

  2. I guess I have fallen into my own trap jumping on the Cleveland bandwagon. Orlando is playing like a team and the Cavs are a one man show. Everyone knows that teams win championships.

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