Any Hope for Celtics in Game 2 Vs. Cavaliers on Friday, May 19?

cavaliers celtics

Jason Lake

Thursday, May 18, 2017 1:54 PM GMT

The Cleveland Cavaliers got the job done easily in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Will they beat the basketball odds in Game 2, or will the Boston Celtics cover Friday?

For a while, it looked like the Boston Celtics would be competitive against the mighty Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. Both teams were missing their threes early in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but the Cavaliers started pulling away, and before you knew it they were up by double digits in the first quarter. Then they were up by 25 in the second. The Celtics went on a late run to make Wednesday’s final score a little less embarrassing: Cleveland 117, Boston 104. But this was still another ass-kicking by LeBron James and Co. They covered as 4.5-point road faves on the closing line.

Is there anything the Boston Celtics can do in Game 2 Friday (8:30 p.m. ET, TNT)? Maybe some more Gerald Green, but the way this series opener played out, it’s hard to be optimistic about their chances. They’ve opened as 5.5-point puppies on the NBA odds board, so there might be some value on Boston after it opened at +3 for Game 1. We’d love to do something about that total instead, but it’s sitting at 219 points as we go to press, only up a smidge from Wednesday’s close at 218.5.
 

All The Feels

If you didn’t watch the game and looked just at the box score from Game 1, you might not see how the ebb and flow played into Cleveland’s hands. The Cavs shot 11-for-31 (35.5 percent) from downtown, and the Celtics were 12-for-38 (31.6 percent), but Boston missed a lot of those shots early and wound up in a hole it couldn't dig out of. A more even distribution would have benefited the C’s.

Ultimately, those 3-point percentages weren’t far from normal, and we’re not seeing the same kind of exploitable line moves that made our NBA picks against the total so easy in the earlier rounds. As for the spread, the math still says Boston should have value in this series, and traditional betting patterns would suggest the same. But does anyone feel comfortable fading James and the Cavaliers when they look so engaged? I don’t want to pick a fight here with my quant friends, but these are human beings on the court, not algorithms. They have feelings, and feelings can elevate or reduce your performance.
 

Don't be surprised if Boston goes back to Gerald Green as a starter on Friday. Green has made shots tonight. And desperate times...

— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixYS) May 18, 2017


Our modus operandi here at the ranch is to zig when the market zags, so fine, we’ll recommend the Celtics at this new price. But two thoughts: One, zig after the market zags and get the best price you can. Two, make it a small bet. Let’s wait for a better opportunity before we fire the money cannon.

Free NBA Pick: Celtics +5.5Best Line Offered: BookMaker

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