NBA At Boston Celtics -9 vs Cavaliers (183½)
The teams tied 2-2 during the regular season with each winning twice on its home court. This best-of-7 could come down to aura – the one LeBron James has versus the one the Celtics lost in being pushed to seven games by eighth-seeded Atlanta. Boston can still claim dominance at home, winning by 34, 25, 19 and 23 against the Hawks. Cleveland, in turn, won twice on the road en route to ousting Washington in 6.
The Cavaliers seem to turn things up a notch in the playoffs and new additions Ben Wallace, Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak were not part of the early matchups with the Celtics. Both teams excel defensively. In Cleveland’s last nine games, six were below 183½. Seven of Boston’s last nine exceeded that total, but the Celtics held opponents below 85 points four times. We see a low-scoring, defensive struggle in this feeling-out Game 1. UNDER.