Cavaliers vs. Celtics Picks, Predictions: Boston Returns Home Off First Loss

Cavaliers vs. Celtics Picks, Predictions: Boston Returns Home Off First Loss

Updated: 5 months, 1 day, 3 hours, 39 minutes, 18 seconds ago

Friday night in the NBA brings an interesting contest between two Eastern Conference teams off to hot starts in the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics. Here are our Cavaliers-Celtics picks.

The Cavaliers will look to improve on their 3-1 record to start the season behind offseason acquisition Donovan Mitchell when they visit the defending Eastern Conference champions Friday. The Celtics are also 3-1 and are coming off their first loss of the season on Monday. That loss came after playing three games in four nights and they enter Friday well rested.

Cavaliers All-Star point guard Darius Garland has been ruled out of the game and is still recovering from an eye injury he suffered in the season opener. The Celtics are missing center Robert Williams III who is out with a long-term injury since the end of last season. 

The Celtics were 28-13 at home last year and will be looking to make use of their home-court advantage on Friday in a contest between two Eastern Conference contenders. 

Here are our Cavaliers-Celtics NBA picks Friday (odds via Draftkings Sportsbook and Fanduel Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Cavaliers vs. Celtics Game Info

Date: Friday, Oct.  28, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts 

Cavaliers vs. Celtics Odds

Cavaliers vs. Celtics Odds Analysis

The top books are in consensus heading into this game in terms of the spread at -5.5 for the Celtics after opening at -6. The Over/Under started at 223.5 and has since moved to a consensus line of 216.5 as of Friday morning.

The Over is the popular side for bettors with 83% of the tickets and 77% of the handle. Boston has drawn 70% of the tickets on the spread but Cleveland has the support of 59% of the handle.

Cavaliers vs. Celtics Picks

Cavaliers vs. Celtics ATS Pick

Celtics -5.5 (-110) ★★★

Both teams will be looking to continue their hot starts to the season, but I am taking the defending Eastern Conference champions on Friday. While the Celtics are 2-2 against the spread to start the season, they are 1-0 against the spread at home, covering in their 126-117 season-opening win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Cavaliers are 3-1 to start the season, but two of those wins came against teams that didn’t sniff the playoffs last season. Mitchell has gotten off to a great start in Cleveland, but he might be facing his toughest test yet against Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and the rest of the Celtics' defense. I also don’t think the loss of Garland is priced-in enough for the Cavaliers in a marquee contest. 

Lastly, the Celtics haven’t played since their Monday night loss against the Chicago Bulls and should be better rested, while Cleveland last played Wednesday.

Cavaliers vs. Celtics O/U Pick

Under 219 (-110) ★★★★★

The last time the two teams hit the Over was March 2021, and they’ve combined for 212 or fewer points each of the last four times they’ve matched up. Defensively, both teams are elite, and that shouldn’t change on Friday. Last season, the Celtics finished with an NBA-best 104.5 points against per game, and the Cavaliers allowed the fifth-fewest PPG at 105.7.

While the Celtics haven’t been as elite defensively to start this season, the Cavaliers boast the second-best defensive rating in the season so far, just trailing the undefeated Milwaukee Bucks. Both teams also tend to play on the slower end, as they both rank in the bottom seven in terms of pace factor so far this season. 

Furthermore, the Celtics’ main threat, Tatum, struggled against the Cavaliers last season, scoring 23 or fewer points in each game and averaging less than 40% from the floor. With Garland ruled out of the game, we could see a defensive battle between these teams, continuing the theme from last season.

Cavaliers vs. Celtics Prop Pick

Horford Under 7.5 (+105) rebounds ★★★★

Celtics forward Al Horford has had five rebounds in each of his first three games of the season. While it’s an admittedly small sample size, there is reason to think that he won’t average the 7.7 rebounds per game he did last season. First of all, the number pops out as an anomaly, since other than last season he hasn’t put up 7.5 rebounds per game or higher since 2013-2014. He is also seeing just over 27 minutes per game so far this season, which would be the lowest mark of his career. 

Horford may need to see more minutes on Friday night because of the size of the Cavaliers, but the combination of Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, and Kevin Love will make it tough for him to get eight or more rebounds. If both teams continue their trend of playing slowly, it might also lead to fewer missed shots for Horford to chase down. 

The odds for Horford to get seven or fewer rebounds on Friday offer good value.

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Cavaliers-Celtics picks made 10/28/2022 at 4:45 a.m. ET.