The Cleveland Cavaliers were left for dead, figuratively speaking, by a number of people this season. Yes, they did under-achieve during the regular campaign, but no team in the NBA has gone through as much transition as they have over the last calendar year. The Cavs have overhauled more than half their roster, and it hasn’t been the most comfortable thing in the world. But one guy who has stuck around is more important than all of that combined, and we will see LeBron James attempt to win his eighth straight Eastern Conference championship when he leads his team into battle against the Boston Celtics starting on Sunday at 3:30 PM at the TD Garden in Boston. There will be another game Tuesday, then four days after that, the series shifts to Cleveland. VietBet customers will have the opportunity to place wagers on the series winner, individual games, and a load of props, not to mention having the advantage of reduced juice and in-game action from Live Betting Ultra.
2018 NBA Playoff Odds – Houston vs Utah in Game 4
In the 2018 NBA playoff odds on this Eastern Conference championship series, as they are posted at VietBet, the Cavaliers are the favorites, despite not having the home court advantage:
Cleveland Cavaliers -280
Boston Celtics +240
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2018 NBA Playoff Odds: CJ’s Take on Cavs vs Celtics
These teams actually engaged in a blockbuster trade during the off-season, as Cleveland acquired Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas in a deal that sent Kyrie Irving over to Boston. None of those players are going to be involved in this series, however. Thomas and Crowder were, in turn, sent packing by the Cavaliers, and Irving, who became Boston’s leading scorer, got injured near the end of the regular season and is out.
Right now, Cleveland is a healthier squad than the Celtics, and King James, a 15-year veteran, is looking better than ever. He has dominated both playoff series, as Cleveland first was driven to the brink by the Indiana Pacers, having to go seven games, then swept through the Toronto Raptors in four straight for the second straight season.
And in Game 1, Cleveland is a 1.5-point favorite, with a total of 204 points.
One has to believe the Cavaliers were just saving themselves for the big playoff run. But we say that with the knowledge that LeBron played all 82 games. so it’s not as if he was given a lot of rest. The series against Indiana was taxing, and James admitted that he was a little fatigued coming out of that, but gradually, his teammates – the ones who have been with him through some of these championship runs – have risen to the occasion with a lot of support. Kevin Love, for example, had to rebound from averaging just 11.4 points against the Pacers, and he came on strong against Toronto, averaging 24.7 over the last three games of that series. No, Love is not the kind of “rim-protector” that you really want in there, but what he offers is a tremendous offensive producer that makes you divert at least some of your attention away from Lebron.
In fact, Love, along with Kyle Korver, one of the NBA’s all-time best three-point shooters, are going to have to produce something here, because if they can’t succeed, it will allow Boston coach Brad Stevens to construct a defensive scheme that could make James take a lot of low-percentage shots. But hey, listen – his post-season numbers are 34.3 points per game, along with 9.4 rebounds and nine assists, with 55.3% accuracy, so you obviously have to wonder how much he could possibly be limited.
And LeBron is coming through when it matters most; the Cavs have played a lot of close games in the playoffs, and James has averaged nine points in fourth quarter action, which is better than any other competitor thus far in the post-season. If it comes down to a battle of wits on the coaching lines, perhaps Tyronn Lue will be at something of a disadvantage against Stevens, but on the floor, we would rate the Cavaliers with a pretty good chance here.
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