The Boston Celtics have struggled on their recent road trip. They will welcome the chance to come home and face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Boston Celtics – Wednesday, December 19
Why Cleveland Will Win
No college football betting expert who is peeking at the NBA during this lull before the bowls would deny the contention that the Cleveland Cavaliers are continuing to give it the old college try in the world of professional basketball. College football gurus who have checked in on the NBA the past two weeks (after the end of the college football regular season) are aware of the stats in a sportsbook review; they know that Cleveland has only five wins this season. Yet, they can also see that the Cavaliers are not playing as poorly as their record might suggest. Cleveland dealt the Los Angeles Lakers a loss last week, outscoring the team that was favored by many to win the NBA’s Western Conference. The Cavaliers also lost in New York by only one point against the Knicks, the team with the best record in the Eastern Conference. With Kyrie Irving at the point and Dion Waiters joining him in the backcourt, the Cavaliers have a fine collection of guards and have the scoring punch that can catapult them to greater heights on some gamenights. The Cavaliers are playing many of their games close and are putting themselves in positions where they can win games in the final three or four minutes of regulation. It’s not as though this team is getting blown out on a consistent basis.
Boston, for its part, is not exactly playing the role of an imposing opponent for Cleveland. The Celtics are just barely above .500, and if they lose at Chicago on Tuesday night, they’ll be at the break-even mark entering this game. Boston’s offense comes and goes. The Celtics beat Dallas in overtime, 117-115, last week, but then scored fewer than 90 points in consecutive losses at Houston and San Antonio. Cleveland can exploit Boston if the Celtics struggle to hit mid-range jump shots.
Why Boston Will Win
When people pursue a sport betting play, they would do well to look at long-term trends, the ones that endure and don’t have a short shelf life. Online football betting gurus don’t have to be basketball geniuses to realize that the Cavaliers have won just one game in the month of December, a rare breakthrough against the Lakers. For all of the talent of Irving and Waiters, Cleveland is alarmingly shorthanded in the paint, and that’s why the Cavaliers don’t get a lot of crunch-time rebounds, defensive stops, or baskets. This team is only half built; it is not a complete team because its perimeter-based strengths are accompanied by weaknesses near the rim. There is no go-to scorer in the low post, no sense of balance on offense that can force defenses to collapse inside and concede territory on the perimeter. Because Cleveland only has strong perimeter players and not formidable interior players, defenses can cheat on the perimeter to lock down Irving and Waiters. Unless or until Cleveland gains a measure of balance and finds a strong scorer within six feet of the basket, the Cavaliers are not going to make noticeable forward strides this season. That’s an obvious but necessary conclusion to make. Boston big man Kevin Garnett is going to eat this team alive in the paint.
Who Will Win?
Kevin Garnett is already licking his chops in anticipation of this matchup. The Celtics should destroy Cleveland within six feet of the tin; as long as Irving doesn’t have a phenomenal night, Boston should dictate the pace and carry the run of play. Take the Celtics on Wednesday.
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NBA Betting Pick: Boston