The Cleveland Cavaliers emerge as the bookies favourites to win the NBA Championship this season. They are set to kick off their campaign against the Boston Celtics in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Join us as we preview this highly anticipated Eastern Conference showdown.
Regular Season Preview
The No.2 Cleveland Cavaliers finished the season with a 53-29 SU record and 39-43 ATS record. The No. 7 Boston Celtics enter the playoffs behind a 40-42 SU record and a 43-32-1 ATS record.
The Cavaliers traipsed to a 7-3 SU record in their last ten games, winning five of their last seven including a 114-88 routing of the Miami Heat, a 99-94 win over the Chicago Bulls and a 113-108 overtime win over Washington Wizard, to name a few. Interestingly, they dropped back-to-back games to the Boston Celtics during this stretch.
Despite a subpar record on the season, the Boston Celtics can feel good about making the playoffs,. Particularly the way the made it by going 8-2 in their last ten, which included winning seven of their last eight games, six in a row to close out the season on. However, drawing the top favourites on the NBA odds board is akin to drawing the short straw, even if they managed to take two wins off the Cavaliers down the stretch.
Head-to-Head Record 2014-2015
The regular season series is split between this pair, with the Cavaliers winning the first two and the Celtics winning the last two. Cleveland opened the series with a narrow 122-121 win in Boston, all while matched as the 6-point road faves. They then clinched the second win at home behind a more convincing 110-79 score as the whopping 11-point home chalk.
In the last two meetings, the Celtics flipped the script. They beat the Cavaliers 99-90 in Cleveland, cashing as the 6-point road underdogs. They then beat the Cavaliers at home 117-78, a stunning win that saw them cover as the 10.5-point home chalk.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are making their first playoff appearance since the 2009-2010 season, when they reached the Eastern Conference semi-finals 9l. to Boston 2-4). Boston Celtics, meanwhile, are back in the playoffs after sitting out last year. They are making their fourth appearance in six seasons, with their best finish as the runners-up in the NBA Finals in 2009-2010 after losing to the LA Lakers in game seven of the series. The year after that they were also Eastern Conference runners-up after losing to Miami in game seven of the series.
NBA Playoffs Odds: No. 2 Cleveland. No. 7 Boston
A lot has changed for both teams this season. Boston Celtics clearly have the playoff pedigree in recent years, but the Cavaliers have LeBron James. Therein lies the difference, amongst several others.
The Cavaliers are the bookies' favourites for good reason going into the playoffs. They are matched as the +240 favourites to win the NBA Finals, a smidgen ahead of Golden State Warriors at +250 NBA Odds. They are also the runaway favourites to win the Eastern Conference at -175 NBA odds (Table 2).
That said Boston Celtics will be up for the challenge. They may be priced out of the NBA betting markets, as the whopping +20000 long shots to win it all and the +8000 underdogs to clinch the Eastern Conference title, but they'll surely give the Cavaliers a run for their money in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Breaking Down the Series
Cleveland Cavaliers -8000 NBA Odds To Win Series
Boston Celtics +1700 NBA Odds To Win Series
NBA Betting Verdict
On paper, the Cleveland Cavaliers are the better team. They have the star-studded cast, the depth, skill and quality and much, much more to recommend them as the hot NBA pick to advance from this series. That said, the Boston Celtics are dangerous floaters and won't be pushovers. Indeed there are those that believe this series could be more competitive than the NBA betting markets would suggest.
Consider Boston's resurgence this season to win 24 of their last 36 games, which includes twice beating playoff counterparts Cavaliers and twice beating the Raptors in their last six games of the season. That's no mean feat for a side that essentially finished under .500. The Cavaliers must take the Celtics more seriously than the odds makers do or else this series could actually go the distance. It's going to be down to game-changing player LeBron James to lead his Cavaliers to an efficient win in this series.
NBA Picks: Cavaliers To win Series in 6