Today's Free Picks for
BOSTON +240 over Cleveland
Posted April 13 before Game 1
First game tip off – Sunday April 13 @ 3:30 PM EST.
After Boston's intense injuries and Cleveland's massive makeover, this series looks far different than last year's matchup or what was projected earlier this year. A Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas matchup has become a Terry Rozier-George Hill duel. Nine players from last year's conference finals series will participate in this year's rematch. Cleveland's LeBron James is seeking his eighth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals. He is averaging 34.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists in the playoffs while shooting 55.3%. That’s just a brief intro to this series and there is more but we’re still in the value business and in that regard, Boston is the only play here.
You see, Cleveland was a +180 underdog against Toronto and now go from that to a 3-1 favorite over Boston and that, my friends, is the epitome of an overreaction. LeBron is a stone-cold killer that the entire basketball world watched dismantle the #1 seeded Raptors in four games. However, we pointed out that Toronto was not close to being a #1 seed, that they were not a good three-point shooting team, they had no go-to-guy, no closer and they had either a rookie or journeyman on LeBron. The Baby Dinosaurs were a #1 seed by default, as the Wizards, Cavs and Celtics dealt with injuries all year. LeBron singlehandedly got Dwayne Casey fired.
By contrast, Boston has the NBA Coach of the Year and that, too, is not close (even though he’s not going to win it). We’re confident that the shrewd tactics of Brad Stevens can counter the basketball genius of James' remarkable late-career resurgence. Stevens will try rotating personnel and various schemes (layers of big-men support) to reduce James' dominance. Boston’s young talent is that good, they have the better coach, defense and home court. LeBron is ridiculous, yes, but this is still his worst supporting cast in recent memory and there is a reason they were +180 against Toronto.
We’re not going to break it down with X’s and O’s because it matters not. What we know for sure is that Cleveland is a one-bucket favorite in Game 1 and therefore the C’s have a great chance to take a 1-0 series lead, Should that come to pass, we can buy out of liability and free-roll with the Celtics or even switch the bet and free roll on the Cavs. With home court, a healthy, talented and confident lineup and a brilliant coach that will get his just dues soon enough, the Celtics hold all the value here.
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BOSTON +242 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 4.84)