The Cleveland Cavaliers may have been a little flustered after losing the first two games of the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals to the Boston Celtics, but they weren’t completely shaken, because they knew they were going to have a chance to return home, and the Celtics haven’t done much as a playoff team on the road. So they have now drawn even at two games apiece, with a chance to completely rip away Boston’s heart in Game 5, which is slated to get underway at 8:35 PM ET on Wednesday at the TD Garden in Boston. Remember that if you are a VietBet customer, you can watch the game and place wagers on it, using the advanced technology that is available through Live Betting Ultra.
2018 NBA Playoff Betting – Game 5 Celtics vs Cavaliers
In the 2018 NBA Playoff Betting Lines posted on Game 5 at VietBet, the Cavaliers are the slight favorites on the road:
Cleveland Cavaliers -1
Boston Celtics +1
Over 206 points -110
Under 206 points -110
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2018 NBA Playoff Betting: CJ’s Take Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals
The Celtics registered double-digit victories in the first two games, weathering an early storm in Game 2 when LeBron James scored 21 points in the very first quarter. And then there was a lot of talk about their “team concept” and Brad Stevens’ genius status. Well, Stevens may indeed be a genius of sorts, as he has led his team to this stage of the post-season without Gordon Hayward or Kyrie Irving, but now a lot of the talk centers around the “dominance” LeBron has had over the Celts in the playoffs, and whether they can sweep right through to the Finals based on the momentum they seem to have. Indeed, since he returned to the Cavaliers (after the side trip to Miami), James’ Cavs have won 10 of 13 games against the Celtics. And with Tristan Thompson having been inserted into the Cleveland starting lineup, offensive options for the Celts have dried up a little. Boston has shot 39%, then 41%, in these last two games. Stevens isn’t one of those guys who pushes the panic button, but there has to be some concern that maybe the absence of Irving, who came in an off-season deal from the Cavs, may be catching up to them.
What makes this game somewhat difficult to handicap is the fact that some of the metrics didn’t work out all that badly for the Celtics in Game 4. They committed only nine turnovers, as opposed to 19 for Cleveland, and even though visiting teams are invariably going to complain about not going to the free throw line enough, they actually got more free throw attempts. They have just been lousy when it comes to breaking out of the gate. In the last two games, they have been outscored by a 66-35 margin in the first quarter. When you get behind the eight-ball like that, it is hard to recover.
One thing that has been a constant pain in the neck for Stevens’ team is that they can’t hit from the outside, even against the team that ranked 29th in the NBA in defensive efficiency. They were #2 in the league in three-point percentage during the regular season (37.7%), but in the playoffs it’s been just 32.5%, and it was about the same in Game 4, as they went just 9-28 (32.1%) from downtown. You would think such a thing can be cured, but Cleveland isn’t doing a bad job running them off the three-point line.
Boston’s relief ultimately may come from the fact that it is playing at home. The Celtics have gone a perfect 9-0 at the TD Garden in the playoffs, and they seem to do just about everything better there. To illustrate the contrast, Jaylen Brown, the second-year player who was the third pick in the draft last season and has emerged as a force, had 13 first-quarter points in Game 1 and 14 in Game 2. But the Cavs adjusted, and he was held to zero and two points in the opening period over the past two games. So yeah, maybe home cooking can do the trick. Honestly, it’s about as sound a theory as anything else.
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