Cavaliers vs. Celtics Betting Preview for Wednesday: Jaylen Brown Will Return For Boston

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Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics shoots over Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers on November 02, 2022. Jason Miller/Getty Images/AFP

NBA Pick: Celtics -5 (-110) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Celtics -5 (-110)
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Picks Summary:

  • Celtics -5 (-110) 
  • Under 219 (-110) 

It’s an excellent NBA Eastern Conference matchup on Tuesday when the Cleveland Cavaliers visit the Boston Celtics, who will get back All-Star Jaylen Brown from a brief absence. 

Which side of the 5-point spread according to NBA odds at the top-rated sportsbooks has the best value? We also have a total play. 

Remember, fans from Beantown who want to wager on this game should check out our top-rated Massachusetts betting sites.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics 

Wednesday, March 1, 2023 – 07:30 PM EST at TD Garden 

ESPN has an NBA doubleheader on Wednesday and Cleveland at Boston is the first game, followed by New Orleans at Portland. With the Celtics second in the East and the Cavaliers fourth, this could be a preview of the Eastern Conference semifinals or finals.  

Wednesday is the third of four regular-season meetings – they play again next Monday in Cleveland to close it out. 

The Cavs won each of the first two in overtime in the 2022 portion of the schedule. The one in Boston was 132-123 with both Donovan Mitchell and Caris LeVert scoring 41 points for the Cavs, three shy of the franchise record by a Cleveland player vs. Boston (44 by Brad Daugherty in 1988). 

Mitchell and LeVert were the second pair of Cavs teammates ever with at least 40 points in the same game. The All-Star Mitchell you somewhat understand, but LeVert usually comes off the bench. He started that night because Darius Garland was out injured. Garland is healthy now.   

Cleveland is 3-8 ATS on the NBA picks in its past 11 in Boston. The C’s lead the all-time series at home 81-28 SU.  

Cavs Have Struggled Away 

Purely on talent, the Cavs are capable of making the NBA Finals for the first time without LeBron James, but I don’t see it happening because the team loses focus too often on the road, as noted by a 13-18 away record. Cleveland figures to have home-court advantage in the playoffs only in Round 1 if it does finish fourth and the Knicks might even catch them for that. 

Cleveland did snap a three-game skid last time out with a 118-93 home blowout of a Raptors team that was playing the second of a back-to-back. Donovan Mitchell had 35 points, and Jarrett Allen 23 points and 11 boards for his 28th double-double of the season. 

Mitchell is now second on the franchise’s single-season three-point list with 193, trailing J.R. Smith’s 204 in 2015-16. Allen has shot 50% or better from the field in a franchise-record 22 consecutive games since Jan. 12. He ranks fifth in the NBA and second in the East with a 65.1% field goal percentage this season. 

The Two Towers 

Thanks to the twin towers of Allen and Evan Mobley, Cleveland ranks third in the NBA in defensive rating (109.6) and are also allowing the fewest points per game in the NBA (106.5 ppg). 

The Cavs have also held their opponents under triple digits in a league-best 20 games and are now 19-1 in them. Sunday was also the fourth time this season the Cavs held their opponent under 39 percent shooting from the floor.  

Against Toronto, Coach J.B. Bickerstaff kept the rotation to essentially eight players, the likely group in the postseason: The five starters were Mitchell, Garland, Isaac Okoro, Mobley and Allen plus Ricky Rubio, Caris LeVert and Dean Wade off of the bench. 

The team finished February at 8-3. Not many clubs are fully healthy this time of year, but Cleveland is.  

  • The Cavaliers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall. 
  • The Cavaliers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games playing on 2 days rest. 

Celtics Should Have Brown Back 

Boston played Monday at the Knicks without All-Star Jaylen Brown due to personal reasons, but Coach Joe Mazzulla said he expects Brown to be back Wednesday. Brown is averaging 26.5 points and 7.0 rebounds on the season. 

The Celtics fell to 9-3 without him this year as they lost 109-94 at New York with MVP candidate Jayson Tatum getting the first ejection of his NBA career when given a second technical foul with 3 minutes, 46 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. 

Tatum was in a foul mood all game as the refs weren’t giving him much as he took just one free throw and that was due to a Knicks technical foul. New York finished with a 34-14 edge in free throws attempted.  

Count on a Tatum Rebound

Tatum, the MVP of this year’s All-Star Game, was just 6-for-18 overall for 14 points but did have nine assists and seven rebounds. I’d expect a monster bounce-back game Wednesday. He is one of two players in the league averaging at least 30.0 points per game with less than 3.0 turnovers (the other being OKC’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander). 

Brown and Tatum have each scored 30 points in the same game nine times this season. Over the last 30 years, the most in such games in a season by teammates is 12 by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal with the 2002-03 Lakers. 

The Celtics shot a season-worst 21.4 percent from beyond the arc Monday, which included a stretch of 16 consecutive misses in the first half. Boston tied a season low with nine three-point makes. It averages 15.9 makes from deep per game, No. 2 in the NBA. The Celtics are 29-5 when hitting their average in total three-point makes, and 24-0 when shooting at least 40 percent from deep. Cleveland allows 11.4 makes per game, third-fewest in the NBA. 

Brogdon Too

Malcolm Brogdon played the best of any Boston player on Monday and is the (-220) favorite to win Sixth Man of the Year. The former Rookie of the Year had 22 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the field, his first game leading the Celtics outright in scoring (was acquired last offseason from Indiana). 

Brogdon is averaging 20.4 ppg over his past five, the first Celtic reserve to average at least that many points over a five-game span since Isaiah Thomas in 2015. Brogdon also has the best three-point percentage in the NBA this season with a career single-season-high 46.4%. 

  • The Celtics are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games. 
  • The Celtics are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record. 
  • The Celtics are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game. 

NBA Pick: Under 219 (-110) at Bovada 

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Under 219 (-110)
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