Cavaliers vs. Celtics Game 2 prediction: NBA playoffs odds, picks, best bets

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The Celtics showcased their dominance in a resounding 120-95 victory over the Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Despite their reputation as one of the league’s better defensive teams, the Cavaliers continue to struggle to contain Boston’s high-powered perimeter offense. 

Cleveland ranks 10th in opponent 3-pointers, allowing 12.4 per game. However, in its four meetings against Boston this season, it allowed an average of 16 3-pointers.

And while the Cavaliers were without a critical frontcourt player in center Jarrett Allen, his return will likely have little impact on their perimeter defense. 

Allen has missed Cleveland’s last four games with a rib injury, and his availability for Game 2 remains unclear. 

Nonetheless, we can still target some plays on the betting board ahead of time, which should have little correlation with Allen’s status.

Cavaliers vs. Celtics odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Cavaliers +13.5 (-112) +625 o212 (-108)
Celtics -13.5 (-108) -950 u212 (-112)
Odds via DraftKings

Cavaliers vs. Celtics best bets

Jayson Tatum under 5.5 assists (-142, DraftKings)

Although we’ll have to swallow some juice with this prop, it’s well worth a look, considering it’s higher than Tatum’s season average of 4.9 assists. 

But what’s intriguing about this situational spot is that Tatum was scoreless (0-for-5) from beyond the arc in Game 1 and is shooting a career-worst 40.6% this postseason. 

The good news is the Celtics are deep enough that they don’t necessarily require Tatum’s services at the moment against a Cavaliers team that looks completely overmatched.

However, they’ll likely need the five-time All-Star to regain his shooting touch to have a chance at winning an NBA title.

Tatum can essentially use this series against the Cavaliers to find his form, and if that means shooting his way out of a slump, then so be it.

Al Horford under 12.5 points + assists (-115, DraftKings)

Horford performed above his season average in assists (2.6) in the series opener by dishing out four dimes. As a result, this is an excellent spot to expect some regression to the mean.

After logging four or more assists 15 times this season, Horford registered fewer dimes in his following game 14 times. This intriguing trend adds even more value to his points + assists prop.

He’s gone under this prop number in his last five games and nine of his previous 10. 

Al Horford has seven points and four assists in Game 1 vs. the Cavaliers. Getty Images

If we look at his season-long numbers, he’s stayed under this prop number in 50 of 71 games (70.4%). 

Even with Kristaps Porzingis sidelined, Horford isn’t necessarily moving up the Celtics’ ranks in terms of usage in their offense.

Therefore, this prop number potentially points to more slippage than upside when projecting Horford’s production for Game 2.

Over 212 points (-108, DraftKings)

The market bet this total up to 212 after opening at 211.5, and I fully agree with the move. Cleveland has yet to solve Boston’s perimeter offense, and there doesn’t appear to be much hope for improvement.

To succeed against the Celtics, you have to run them off the 3-point line. Instead, the Cavaliers are giving up an average of 41 3-point attempts this season to the Celtics. 

Betting on the NBA?

Thus, the Celtics are averaging seven more 3-point attempts in this matchup than the Cavaliers (33.9) allowed all year.

Interestingly, the Cavaliers are making a concerted effort to try and match the Celtics shot for shot.

Cleveland has attempted only two fewer 3-pointers than Boston over the four games. With both teams willing to bomb away from the perimeter, the over offers a ton of value at 213 points.

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