Cavaliers vs. Celtics: Betting Picks and Prediction for Game 1

Annie Nader
Annie Nader@ANader33
Cavaliers vs. Celtics: Betting Picks and Prediction for Game 1

After defeating the Orlando Magic in the lone seven-game series of the first round, the Cleveland Cavaliers will move on to face the Boston Celtics, the long chalk to hoist this year's Larry O'Brien trophy (+100 NBA Championship odds).

FanDuel Sportsbook has an NBA Championship market available for Boston (+100) versus The Field (-130), which might not inspire much hope for Cleveland fans in this series.

Entering Game 1, Cleveland owns +1200 odds to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.

But with Kristaps Porzingis (calf) expected to be sidelined for the duration of this series, perhaps the Cavs could make things interesting.

Let's take a look at FanDuel's NBA odds and see how we should approach Game 1.

All NBA odds come from FanDuel Sportsbook and may change after this article is published.

NBA Playoffs Betting

Cavaliers-Celtics Betting Odds

Date and Time: Tuesday, May 7th at 7:00 p.m. ET

Spread: Celtics -12.0 (-110)

Total: 210.0


  • Cavaliers: +500
  • Celtics: -700

Cavaliers vs. Celtics Advanced Stats Breakdown

nERD via numberFire. Adjusted offensive/defensive ratings and pace via DunksAndThrees.

  • Cavaliers:
    • nERD: 58.8 (tied for 10th)
    • Adjusted Offensive Rating: 114.6 (18th)
    • Adjusted Defensive Rating: 112.6 (7th)
    • Pace: 97.5 (24th)
    • Against-the-Spread Record: 39-42-1
  • Celtics:
    • nERD: 80.8 (1st)
    • Adjusted Offensive Rating: 122.0 (1st)
    • Adjusted Defensive Rating: 111.1 (2nd)
    • Pace: 97.7 (19th)
    • Against-the-Spread Record: 41-36-5

Cavaliers vs. Celtics Best Bet

Over 210.0 (-110)

There's a world where I'd be quite intrigued backing Cleveland's spread in this game, but that world only exists if Jarrett Allen (ribs) is fully healthy.

Allen has missed three straight games and comes into this one with a questionable designation. He is reported to have "discomfort and limitations when raising arms" (via Brian Windhorst), so I don't have much faith that he can make an impact in Game 1.

If Allen was good to go, he and Evan Mobley could be a headache for the C's in the interior, especially with Porzingis out. That paint advantage would be enough to talk me into Cleveland +12.0, but with a key big out or limited for both sides, I'm more interested in the over.

In the regular season, Boston's average game total came in at 229.8 points. But in 25 games without Porzingis, the average game total rose to 231.1 points.

Porzingis and Allen both rank in the top 25 of defensive rating (among qualified players) and have each played a big part for their teams, who come in as two of the top defenses in the league.

With a more guard-centric game inbound, I'd expect tonight's contest to feature a faster pace than a typical Boston versus Cleveland matchup would grant.

We've touched on Boston's higher game totals without Porzingis, but the same goes for Cleveland and Allen, too.

In five games without Allen this season, Cleveland averaged 37.8 three-point attempts (3PA) and 44.0 3PA against teams that did not rank in the top 12 of the fewest 3PA allowed per game. However, on the season, the Cavs shot 36.8 3PA per game.

Cleveland is already a heavy three-point shooting team (eighth-most 3PA per game), but there's reason to believe they could shoot even more tonight with a limited Allen and a matchup against a Boston team that allowed the eighth-most 3PA this season.

The Celtics will carry their weight in this regard, too. They averaged 42.5 3PA (most) in the regular season, as well as 39.0 3PA (most) in these playoffs.

For a game that should be dominated by high-volume shooters such as Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell, I want in on the over.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author’s advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.