Cavaliers vs. Celtics Preview + Free Pick Game 1 May 6th, 2008
By: Our Staff
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NBA Playoff Betting Action – Celtics Host Cavaliers in Game 1 Showdown
After being pushed to the seven-game maximum in their first round playoff series against the mediocre but athletic Atlanta Hawks before winning Game 7 over the Hawks 99-65 on Sunday, the Boston Celtics, (70-19 SU, 56-31-2 ATS, 40-48-1 O/U) enter tonight’s second round series opener against the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers, (49-39 SU, 41-47 ATS, 40-46-2 O/U) and superstar forward LeBron James with a different attitude than they one they had against the Hawks after dropping all three road contest in that series.
Instead of viewing themselves as the team to beat after winning a league-high 66 games in the Our best Sportsbooks during the regular season, the Celtics are preaching the mantra that they, and not the Cavaliers, are the underdogs in this series.
“They were in the Finals last year. One of the things I told our team all year every time we played them and already today, that we’re trying to catch them, not them trying to catch us,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “The record means nothing. That team went to the Finals last year, so in our mind, we’re trying to catch them.”
“We know it’s going to be a tough road,” said Celtics all-star forward Paul Pierce. “You’ve got to go through the Eastern Conference champs, a team that has a lot of experience, a team that knows what it takes. We’re still learning as a group. This is going to be the ultimate test. They’ve got one of the top players in the league coming in, one of the top teams in the league coming in. We’ve definitely got our work cut out for ourselves. We have to be ready, simple and plain.”
The Cavaliers on the other hand, say they recognize the Celtics’ desperation to win an NBA title.
“I think with (Garnett), Ray and Paul, they feel like it’s their time,” Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas said. “They had such a great regular season and they feel like this is their shot at winning it all. Because the longer you stay in the league, you realize how few and far between they are. They feel like this is their year.”
The Celtics and Cavaliers split their four regular games this season, with James and Kevin Garnett each sitting out one contest. Both teams won their two games at home – a trend, that would force the Cavaliers to win one contest on the road in order to beat the Celtics who have home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Still, the Celtics’ struggles with the Hawks in the first round seem to have given the Cavaliers some serious hope.
“They kind of had that arrogance about them all season by winning so many games that you were kind of not wanting to face them,” Cavaliers guard Devin Brown said. “But after seeing what we saw, I think we’re ready to go.”
The Cavaliers covered the spread in four of their six first round games against the Washington Wizards, while the Celtics covered the spread in four of their seven games against the Hawks, all at home.
Here is a look at tonight’s key trends followed by my analysis and NBA Betting Picks.
The Cavaliers are 26-9-1 ATS in their last 36 road games vs. a team with a home winning percentage of greater than .600.
The Cavaliers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 vs. NBA Atlantic.
The Cavaliers are 35-16-1 ATS in their last 52 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
The Celtics are 8-0 ATS in their last 8 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
The Celtics are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 vs. NBA Central.
The Celtics are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games playing on 1 days rest.
The Under is 4-0 in Cavaliers last 4 vs. NBA Atlantic.
The Under is 10-1 in Cavaliers last 11 Conference Semifinals games.
The Under is 9-2 in Celtics last 11 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
The Under is 4-1 in Celtics last 5 vs. NBA Central.
The Cavaliers are 4-1-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings in Boston.
The Cavaliers are 7-3-2 ATS in the last 12 meetings.
Analysis: Let me keep this pick directly to the point and say that, while the Celtics made it a routine of beating the Hawks by 20-plus points at home in their first round series matchup, there is no way they are going to beat the Cavaliers so handily. Take the Cavs and LeBron James to cover the spread by making this one of those down-to-the-wire contests.
NBA Free Picks: Cavaliers +9½ Points/Under 182½ Total Points
08:05 PM EST NBA Odds
Cleveland Cavaliers +9½ -110
Boston Celtics -9½ -110
Over 182½ -110
Under 182½ -110
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