Fri, May 11, 11:40am by Staff Writer
The 2017-18 Eastern Conference finals will begin on Monday morning with LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers firm favourites to make a fourth consecutive NBA Finals appeara
The Cavs are $1.33 to progress to a match up against familiar foes Golden State or Houston, with their opponent, the resurgent Boston Celtics $3.40 outsiders.
The Celtics were underdogs in their recent semi-final series against Philadelphia but handled the 76ers with ease, beating them 4-1. Boston were challenged by Milwaukee in the first round, being pushed to seven games, with the home team winning each encounter in that instance.
It is a similar story for Cleveland, who played seven games against a plucky Indiana Pacers, before shockingly sweeping the top-seeded Toronto Raptors.
LeBron James continues to sore to new heights, as he has hit a buzzer beating game winner in both series and dominated the scoring statistics.
These teams met three times during the regular season, with the Cavaliers holding a 2-1 advantage.
Cleveland split two games in Boston, recording a 121-99 win most recently in February.
LeBron James led the scoring that night with 24 points, but the Cavs got solid contribution from their bench as well, with 17 points from Jordan Clarkson and 15 points from Rodney Hood.
It has more-or-less been a one-man show for the Cavs, with LeBron James playing in excess of 40 minutes during most playoff games this season.
Kevin Love has not been his sharpest and the Cavs have had patchy scoring contributions from George Hill, Kyle Korver and JR Smith.
The same can’t be said for Boston, who has spread the scoring around in all of their playoff games.
Terry Rozier has broken out in the playoffs after a knee injury ruled Kyrie Irving out for the season.
Rozier along with centre Al Horford and rookie guard Jayson Tatum have been tremendous for the Celtics.
Marcus Morris has been their only consistent scorer from the bench though, so the Celtics will need to dig deep when coach Brad Stevens rotates his squad.
In the series total games market, the series ending in six games is the shortest price at $2.80, with seven games at $3.30. An unlikely conference finals sweep by either team is paying $5.50.
The Cavaliers to win the series 4-2 is paying $3.58, ahead of them winning 4-1 at $4.80, with the Celtics to win in seven games at $6.20 the third best in the market.
Boston has home court advantage for this series after finishing ahead of the Cavs in the standings, but as Cleveland showed against Toronto, that counts for little.
Game one of this series is in Boston at 5.40am AEST on Monday morning, with Cleveland narrow $1.85 favourites. As they were for every game against Philadelphia, the Celtics are $2 underdogs. The opening handicap for this game is set at 1 point, favouring the Cavs.
NBA Eastern Conference Finals Odds – Sportsbet
Cleveland $1.33 v Boston $3.40
Cleveland $1.85 v Boston $2
Series Total Games
4 games $5.50
5 games $3.50
6 games $2.80
7 games $3.30
Series Correct Score
Cleveland 4-0 $6.40
Cleveland 4-1 $4.80
Cleveland 4-2 $3.58
Cleveland 4-3 $6.20
Boston 4-0 $31
Boston 4-1 $11.10
Boston 4-2 $11.10
Boston 4-3 $6.20
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