Cavaliers vs Celtics NBA Free Pick & Prediction [Game 1]

Cleveland (0-0) at Boston (0-0)
When: Tuesday, May 7th 2024
Where: TD Garden,
Boston, MA

Time: 7:00 ET | TV: TNT
Opening Odds: Boston -10.5/210

The Boston Celtics will attempt to reach the Eastern Conference Finals for the third straight season when they open a best-of-seven series against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night at TD Garden. Both teams earned round one series victories, but in totally different ways. The Celtics had no problem with the Miami Heat in dispatching them in five games. However, Cleveland went the distance in fending off the Orlando Magic in seven hard-fought games. Obviously, the Celtics are more rested, as the Cavaliers just played on Sunday.

Boston is an 11.5-point favorite entering this contest and a huge favorite to win the series. The Celtics are -1400 to advance to the next round, while Cleveland comes in at +800. The most likely outcome is Boston in five (+170). Cleveland has some high odds to win in specific games including +2500 to win in seven. This season Boston took two of three from Cleveland, but the Cavs covered the spread in two of the three. Cleveland’s lone win in the season series featured a 22-point fourth quarter comeback.


Donovan Mitchell put the Cavaliers on his back in knocking off the Magic in round one. He scored 50 in the Game 6 loss and followed that up with a 39-point performance in Sunday’s Game 7 win. Darius Garland was solid in round one, averaging 14.9 points per game. Center Jarrett Allen has missed the last three games with a rib injury. Allen averaged career bests with 16.5 points and 2.7 assists along with 10.5 rebounds in 77 games during the regular season. He was averaging 17.0 points and 13.8 rebounds in four playoff games before getting hurt.


Boston is also dealing with a key injury in center Kristaps Porzingis, who is likely to miss the entire second round with a right calf injury the he sustained during the series against Miami. A lot of responsibility will go to veteran Al Horford and untested Luke Kornet. Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown are expected to carry the Celtics. Brown is averaging 22.8 points during the postseason, while Tatum (21.8) and Derrick White (22.4) help run the offense.

I don’t expect this series to be close. In fact, I can see Boston sweeping this and resting up for the Pacers or Knicks. Even without Porzingis, the Celtics are just too good for this tired Cleveland team. Boston might come out sluggish in the first half of this one, but will pull away and win easily.

Check out who Bobby Babowski has on his Free NBA Picks page for today.

Pick: Celtics -11.5