Celtics vs. Cavaliers Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Cleveland Cavaliers are suddenly in a fight to keep one of the top four spots in the Eastern Conference, and have lucked into what should be a good spot for them on Monday night. They’ve had excellent results against the Boston Celtics all season long, and now they’ll get a shorthanded team that had to travel across state lines after playing two overtimes on Sunday night
Let’s break down why the Cavs are deserving favorites here in Celtics vs. Cavaliers preview and predictions.
The Celtics are hurting in more ways than one. They have now lost three of four, twice dropping games to rival New York, and on top of that they’re now playing without center Robert Williams for at least the next week.
Half of Boston’s 20 losses have coincided with Williams’ absence at times this year, meaning it is 27-10 without the big man. With him on the floor, the Celtics are out-scoring their opponents by 9.9 points per 100 possessions, and without him they are losing 5.4 points per 100. That impact is almost completely felt on the defensive side of the ball, considering he’s only added 0.9 points per 100 possessions on offense.
In a crushing double-overtime loss to the Knicks on Sunday night, the Celtics were out-scored 56-42 in the paint, watching as Julius Randle scored 31 points and Mitchell Robinson registered 13 points and 14 rebounds. It’s clear this is not the same team without Williams.
Jayson Tatum and Al Horford will sit on Monday as well and it’ll be imperative here to keep an eye out for Boston’s injury report on Monday afternoon. This game has some significance; the Celtics are just 1.5 games out of first place, but it also has a three-game cushion between itself and the Sixers in third.
While you could make an argument for pushing everyone the night after a marathon game to try to climb towards the top of the Eastern Conference, you also can argue this isn’t the most important game in the world.
Cleveland sits in fourth place, 5.5 games back of the Celtics. While the Cavaliers were probably dreaming of grabbing one of the top two seeds in the East not too long ago, they now have to fight to hold on to that fourth seed with the New York Knicks charging to the top behind them, just one game back in fifth. Things have grown rather stagnant for the Cavs, who have now lost four of their past six games, including one to the Celtics.
They did manage to cover in that game in Boston, and now have a three-game winning streak against the spread. That loss was tough to swallow: Cleveland trailed by just three at the half before being out-scored by 15 in the fourth and fighting back to make it a game in the fourth before ultimately falling by four.
While Jayson Tatum’s 41 points were ultimately what sunk the Cavs, the good news is that Donovan Mitchell was able to cut up this revered defense for a game-high 44 points. Jarrett Allen was rendered completely useless by Robert Williams, scoring just five points in 39 minutes to bring his season average against Boston down to 10.3.
This will be the first time in four games this season that the Cavaliers are favored over the Celtics. They managed to cover the spread in all three of those games, with just the one loss coming last week. They’re now 21-11-1 as home favorites this year.
I should mention here that Mitchell is currently listed as questionable for this game with a finger sprain, but considering he was at shootaround on Monday morning I’m not too concerned about his status.
The Cavaliers have owned the Celtics this year for the better part of three games, playing just one flat quarter against them. They nearly took out the Celtics on the road last week despite Allen being locked up by Williams, and now with Boston’s interior defense compromised the Cavaliers should be fully operational.
Boston is a special 7-2 against the spread this season on no rest, but the fact that this line continues to drift away from the road team says it all. The Celtics are facing some rare adversity, and they should be dead tired after going to two overtimes last night against the Knicks and then traveling to Cleveland.
I got this at -6.5 before the Tatum/Horford injury news, but I would still play -7.5 if Mitchell is confirmed in. They’ve proven in the head-to-head they are better than the Celtics, at least when these two sides meet each other.