Boston Celtics (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS), 7:30 p.m. EST, Tuesday, October 27, 2009, Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio. TV: TNT
by Ryno of Predictem.com
The NBA season officially gets underway with a possible preview of the Eastern Conference Finals, as the Celtics face the Cavaliers.
Both teams have made some key additions in the offseason. The Celtics signed former Piston Rasheed Wallace, a 6-foot-10 power forward who likes to step out and shoot a lot of 3-pointers. They also added veteran 6-foot-6 wing Marquis Daniels, big man Shelden Williams and rookie guard Lester Hudson. The Cavs made a huge offseason splash by acquiring Shaquille O’Neal from the Suns to give LeBron James some scoring help down low. They also added long, athletic wing forward Jamario Moon, former Celtic Leon Powe and rookie guard Danny Green.
In the preseason, the Celtics were 6-2 and the Cavs were 3-4. The Cavs lost just two games all of last season. They were 27-14 ATS at home, tied with the Blazers for the best ATS home mark in the NBA. The Cavs were 66-16 SU, the best record in the league, and 49-33 ATS, a half game behind the Magic for the best ATS record in the NBA. The Celtics were 62-20 overall, 43-39 ATS, and 22-19 ATS on the road. The Celtics were 7-4 ATS last season as an underdog. The Cavs were 3-1 ATS at home last season when they were the underdog or favored by less than five points. They are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games in those situations.
The Cavs and Celtics played four times last season, and each of the four games resulted in the home team winning. The Cavs were 3-1 ATS in the four matchups last season.
With Wallace on the team, the Celtics will now start him with Kevin Garnett down low. The two of them will be tough to guard, but neither is a true center, so it will be tough for them to defend Shaq and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. On the other side, though, Shaq and Ilgauskas will struggle even more defending Garnett and Wallace. At least the Celtics can put Perkins in for much of the game to contain the two Cavs centers.
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The Cavs have a lot of good guards, such as Mo Williams and Daniel Gibson, but the Celtics will almost always have the advantage in the backcourt. Rajon Rondo has proved to be one of the top point guards in the league and he will match up well with Williams. Ray Allen has a height and skill advantage over whichever Cavs shooting guard is in the game. If Paul Pierce is playing that position, it will be even more of an advantage for the Celtics. Pierce will be responsible for attempting to defend LeBron, and vice versa.
The Cavs led the NBA last season in points allowed with 91.4 per game. The Celtics were third in the league, giving up 93.4. Offensively, both teams scored just over 100 points per game.
Ryno’s Pick: Both of these teams are great defensively, but both should be able to score a lot of points down low because of the matchups. The Celtics will struggle defending down low, while the Cavs will struggle defending the big men on the perimeter. The Celtics have the slight advantage there, however. But the Cavs negate that advantage with LeBron. He is nearly impossible to shut down. The Cavs are also at home, which will be the difference. They don’t lose much at home, and it’s unlikely they will lose their first game of the season. In the NBA, 4.5 points isn’t much. Take the Cavaliers -4.5.