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Celtics vs. Cavaliers Betting

The second round of the NBA playoffs begins on Saturday night when Boston and Cleveland clash in Game 1 of their series.

The Cavaliers enter the series as big favorites at -450 on the latest futures, but how they perform in the series will likely depend on the health of LeBron James. LeBron struggled through the final game of the opening-round series against the Bulls due to a sore right elbow. An examination of the elbow determined it was simply a strain and a bone bruise which won’t cause LeBron to miss any time against Boston.

The Cavaliers appear to have dodged a bullet with the injury apparently being minor, but they’ll still need James to put up better numbers than he did in the finale against Chicago. In the first round against the Bulls LeBron averaged 31.8 points per game, but in Game 5 when his elbow started to give him trouble he only netted 19 points on 5-of-12 shooting. That kind of scoring may not be enough against the more experienced and more talented Celtics.

Boston had it pretty easy in the opening round and breezed past Miami in five games. The Celtics spread out the scoring against the Heat, as Paul Pierce averaged 19.6 points per game, Ray Allen delivered 19.4 points per game, and Kevin Garnett chipped in with 15.8 points a night. Rajon Rondo was also dangerous, averaging 14.8 points and 10.2 assists per game.

The Cavaliers and Celtics met up four times during the regular season and split the season series 2-2. Each team won once at home and once on the road during the season.

Their last matchup was on April 4 in Boston and the Celtics won 117-113 as a 2-point favorite at Bovada. Boston almost blew a 22-point lead in that game, but LeBron’s attempt at what could have been a game-winning three pointer with time ticking down failed to find the mark.

Ray Allen led Boston with 33 points while shooting 6-of-9 from three point range, while James netted a game-high 42 points to go with seven rebounds and nine assists in a losing effort.

Cleveland played without Shaquille O’Neal in that game and it will be interesting to see how he and Garnett match up in the series. A physical series wouldn’t be surprising as Garnett has already missed a postseason game due to a suspension for elbowing Quentin Richardson in the face.

This is the second time in three years that the Celtics and Cavaliers have met up in the second round of the playoffs. In 2008 the Celtics defeated the Cavaliers 4-2 on the way to an NBA title. If Boston takes out Cleveland again they’ll do it as a +325 series underdog.

Game 1 tips off tonight at 8pm at Quicken Loans Arena where the Cavaliers have won 12 of their last 13 versus the Celtics. The Cavs were 10-3 ATS in those 13 contests and they’re a 7-point favorite tonight.