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NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference Finals, Game 1

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Boston Celtics o219.5 -105

TD Garden, Boston Massachusetts

May 17, 2017, 5:30PM PST

We tweeted this morning that the UNDER has prevailed in each of the last six meetings between the Cavaliers and the Celtics held at Boston's TD Garden arena.

While seemingly compelling, we came to understand that this singular stat does not convey enough of the story to serve as wagering guidance for the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals.

For instance, subsequent to that tweet, we learned that 1) Cleveland's O/U is 6-2 overall in the playoffs, 2) that the Cavs OVER is 22-10 since the start of the 2016-17 season when cast as the road favorite and 3) when Cleveland has enjoyed two or more consecutive days off, higher than expected scores have been the norm since the start of the regular season (the Cav's O/U is 14-8 from this position).

At least as weighty as this context for Cleveland's O/U record described above, our sim program anticipates a higher aggregate score when the final whistle ultimately sounds tonight. As such, we are comfortable positioning for a barn-burner between the glossed over top seed of the East and the equally unconsidered defending champions.

It seems reasonable to us that both teams can muster above-average productivity on offense, as the Cavs and Celts might each be playing for respectability (LeBron's individual greatness is beyond question at this point, and Isaiah has been consistent enough--in the face of meaningful real-world adversity--to be regarded as great; however, most pundits do not give the Cavs more than a trivial chance of bypassing the Warriors, should a Finals rematch unfold, and there is a case to be made that Boston does not even advance past the first round of the playoffs if not for the injury to Bulls' point guard, Rajon Rondo).

Bottom line: In the face of the near-term head-to-head history between these teams, we anticipate spirited offense, both ways, when the Eastern Conference Finals kick off tonight. Such play should translate to a victory for the OVER.

Happy betting!!

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