Our NBA consultant examines Game 3 of the playoff series between Cleveland and Boston on Thursday. Can the Celtics make a series out of this by winning at home in Game 3? Will the Cavaliers show the killer instinct needed in order to prevent an inferior opponent from gaining any confidence? We have the answers in this betting preview article.
Celtics try to make it a Series versus Cavaliers
The Boston Celtics will host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday at 7:05 PM ET. This will be Game 3 of their best-of-seven playoffs series in which they currently trail 2-0. According to the NBA betting odds at Heritage, Cleveland is a 4.5 point favorite, and the posted total is 204.0. This will be the seventh overall meeting this season between these Eastern Conference rivals, and Cleveland won four of the first six. Those six encounters also saw four of those go under the total.
A Workmanlike Effort
There was nothing surprising about how the Cavaliers performed in the first two games of this series. They were a double digit favorite in each of those contests, and despite failing to cover on Tuesday, were barley threatened on their way to jumping out to a 2-0 series lead. Cleveland thoroughly dominated Boston on the glass, holding a combined 114-83 rebounding advantage, and that included 27 offensive boards. The Cavaliers were also able to get to the free-throw line 59-times in the first two games, and converted a very good 84% of those attempts.
Celtics on a Money Roll
The Boston Celtics have gone 7-1 ATS in the last eight, and 9-2 ATS in their previous eleven games overall. They’ve also won eight of their last eleven games straight up. The Celtics more than held their own in the two games they hosted the Cavaliers this season, losing 122-121 back on 11/14/2014, and then cruised to a 117-78 blowout win just this past April 12th. They shot a combined 54.6% from the field in those two contests. It must be noted, that Cleveland was without the services of Lebron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love in that April road loss. All were given a rest in what amounted to a meaningless game for the Cavaliers at that time.
In my professional opinion, if Boston is to indeed win a game in this series, it will happen on Thursday while they’re still within reach of the Cavaliers. The Celtics have been a very good ATS team over the past three weeks, and I’m going to have a slight lean toward the playoff home underdog in this contest for one of my NBA picks.
NBA Pick: Play on Boston +4.5 over Cleveland at Heritage.