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NBA preview and tips: Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers

For the second time in the past week, second meets fourth in the Eastern Conference as the Cleveland Cavaliers (40-26) host the Boston Celtics (45-20) at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

The first meeting finished 117-113 to Boston, but it wasn't as close as that scoreline might suggest The Celtics opened up a 20-point lead on the back of a big third quarter and still lead by 13 with under two minutes to go. 

Frustratingly from a betting perspective, Cleveland were allowed in the back door at the death to cover as +5.5 underdogs, which can happen in the NBA. But Boston held on to win the game and that was always likely, as they played with double revenge on their mind after Cleveland had won their two early season encounters.
Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, and Robert Williams III all recorded double-doubles for the Celtics with a dominant effort rebounding the basketball, whilst it was more of a lone effort for the Cavaliers' Donovan Mitchell who dropped 44 points in 44 minutes.
Since then, Williams has been ruled out with a long-term injury, whilst Mitchell was forced off the court with an injury versus Detroit. He's currently questionable and could be given time to rest.

We should be in for another enthralling game, with the spread set at Cleveland -6.5, and the total at 219.5 on Planet Sport Bet.

Breaking down this contest, Boston are now on a 1-5 ATS run, and they've lost back-to-back games since beating Cleveland. The Cavaliers have only played once, beating Detroit at home, and so have had plenty of time to rest and practice.
Despite the loss in Boston, Cleveland are on a 9-4 ATS run, having won nine of their last 13 games outright, and they've also been dominant at home, where they have a 27-7 record. It's clear their home-court advantage plus current form gives them the edge.

But winning the game and covering the spread are two different things. The Celtics lost 131-129 to the Knicks in a wild one last time out, and they'll want to respond here. Interestingly, the Celtics are a perfect 9-0 ATS on the back of allowing 125+ points. 

The spread is too big and you can make a case for another close game. Boston +6.5 seems a good bet.
The Celtics' defence allows 112 ppg on their travels, whilst the Cavs allow visiting teams an average of 104ppg. It's also important to note that this is the fourth meeting between these sides, and familiarity can lead to lower-scoring games.
The total in the first meeting between the sides was only 217. After a 250+ point contest, it was pushed out to 220 and hasn't come back down after a pair of 225+ point contests. But given the circumstances of this game, it feels like a good time to pre-empt a drop-off.
Despite the higher-scoring games we've seen recently, the Cavaliers have seen seven of 10 go under after winning their previous game by double digits. If this game plays out how we expect, then you also have to consider Under 219.5

Suggested bets

  • Under 219.5 points scored
  • Boston +6.5 points

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