NBA Betting Pick for ECF Game 6: Boston at Cleveland

Posted by Jordan Walters on Friday,May 25, 2018 10:11, EDT in

Could Friday night against Boston in the East Finals be the final home game in a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform for LeBron James? It may well be as James is possibly going to leave the Cavs as a free agent – especially if Cleveland comes up short of the NBA Finals. Even if the Cavs win Game 6, and they are favored by the NBA betting odds, they don’t seem likely to win in Boston in Game 7.

How to Bet Celtics at Cavaliers NBA Betting Odds & Game Preview

  • When: Friday, May 25th, 8:30 PM ET
  • Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland
  • TV: ESPN
  • Stream: WatchESPN
  • Radio: Tunein.com
  • NBA Betting Odds: Cleveland Cavaliers -7 (202.5)

Why Bet on Boston?

It’s crazy how different this team is on the road and at home in these playoffs. The Celtics are 10-0 at home and have covered each game. They have just one road playoff win and were blown out in Games 3-4 in Cleveland. Perhaps, though, Boston has confidence following Wednesday’s 96-83 win to take a 3-2 lead in the East Finals.

Jayson Tatum scored 24 points to along with seven rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocks. He was by far the star of the game. With his 24 points, Tatum has now scored the fourth most points (312) by a rookie in postseason history. On Wednesday, he passed Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain, Jack Sikma, and George Mikan on this list. He only needs 41 more points to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most ever by a rookie.

Al Horford had 15 points and 12 rebounds as well as an assist and a steal. Horford recorded his seventh double-double of the playoffs. He only shot 4-of-9 from the field but went 6-of-6 from the line. The Cavaliers were on a 9-0 run to cut the game to 12 halfway through the fourth, but a Horford dunk ended the run and put the game away for good.

Celtics Factor X

Marcus Morris was solid in 37 minutes off the bench on Wednesday, scoring 13 points with six rebounds and a steal. This was the first game of the series that Morris came off the bench, even though he played 37 minutes, the most all series. Brad Stevens says that he started Aron Baynes over Morris so that he could rotate his starting wings and two reserve wings throughout Game 4. Baynes had six points, seven rebounds and three blocks in 29 minutes. Remains to be seen if Stevens will stick with that in Game 6.

It doesn’t appear that the thin Boston bench will be getting any help, either. Point guard Shane Larkin has missed the entire series with a shoulder injury and is being called doubtful again for Game 6.

The Celtics are one of 7 teams to win 10 consecutive home games in a single postseason. Five of the previous six teams went on to win the NBA title.

Why Bet on Cleveland?

Bad news for LeBron James: Entering this postseason, there have been 32 Conference Finals series tied 2-2 under the current NBA playoff format (since 1983-84). The Game 5 winner went on to win the series in 28 of those 32 occasions.

James will see his season end Friday without more help. LeBron and Kevin Love combined for 40 points in Game 5. The Cavaliers’ other 3 starters (George Hill, J.R. Smith, and Tristan Thompson) combined for 10 points on 2-for-14 shooting. Game 5 really was over after one quarter. James (8 pts, 3-6) and Love (10 pts, 4-6) were the only Cavaliers to make a shot from the field in the 1st quarter. The Celtics had 7 different players make a shot 1st quarter. In the 1st half Wednesday, Marcus Morris guarded LeBron on 15 possessions. The Cavaliers as a team when 1-for-12 with two turnovers on those possessions, including LeBron going 0-for-1.

LeBron scored 26 points (11-of-22 FGs, 3-of-4 FTs) with 10 rebounds and five assists, but also had six turnovers. He didn’t look quite right in all honesty. Head coach Ty Lue said about LeBron, “He looked a little tired to me, yes.”

Love scored 14 points with seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals. He was the only player to join LeBron in scoring double digits, but he grabbed a series low seven rebounds and the Cavs were -23 when he was on the floor.

The Cavaliers come in as the NBA Betting favorites for Game 6 against the Celtics.

Tristan Thompson had one point, six rebounds, and an assist in 26 minutes. Thompson was nearly averaging a double-double, 9.8 points and 9.3 rebounds a game, during this series before being held in check. In addition, Smith, Hill and Jordan Clarkson combined to shoot 5-of-21 from the field and the team as a whole was 9-of-34 from three-point range.

What about Korver?

Lue said Celtics coach Brad Stevens’ choice to not play Semi Ojeleye in Game 5 foiled his planned rotation for Kyle Korver. Korver did not check into Game 5 until the start of the second quarter when Cleveland already trailed 32-19. In Korver’s strong Game 4, when he scored 14 points on 4-for-7 shooting, he checked in with 2:45 remaining in the first quarter and helped extend Cleveland’s lead from nine when he came into 16 heading into the second quarter. Korver finished Wednesday with seven points on 2-for-6 shooting in 19 minutes. He entered averaging 10.7 points and 25.1 minutes per game in the 2018 postseason. Lue is being criticized heavily for this.

Latest NBA Betting Trends

  • Celtics are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games
  • Celtics are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record
  • Cavaliers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600
  • Cavaliers are 25-12 ATS in their last 37 Friday games
  • Home team is 5-0 ATS in the last 5 meetings

Expert Prediction

Expect a big game from LeBron here. James has faced elimination four times in the Eastern Conference playoffs during his streak of seven straight NBA Finals appearances. He has averaged 38.3 PPG in those contests. Cleveland is the safer NBA betting pick to force Game 7.