The NBA’s 2017 Eastern Conference Finals matchup has finally been determined. The Boston Celtics outlasted the Washington Wizards in a grueling Game 7 of their back-and-forth conference semifinals series and punched a ticket to meet the Cleveland Cavaliers for a battle between the East’s top seeds. Casual NBA viewers may even be surprised to find that while the C’s are the higher-seeded team, they are far from favorites in this one.
Cleveland basically ceded the No. 1 seed to Boston at the tail end of the regular season, electing to rest starters to gear up for a postseason run. The Cavs did this strategically, believing they can beat any opponent in the conference without relying on home-court advantage. It was a risk, but the organization believed it was the right move with sights set so high so high that anything less than a third-straight trip to the NBA Finals would be a massive disappointment. It’s hard to argue with the results, as Cleveland has won every single playoff contest and has been resting since sweeping the Toronto Raptors on May 8th.
Those fresh legs should come in handy against a feisty Boston squad that hasn’t lost at home since dropping a pair to the Chicago Bulls to start the postseason. The Celtics heavily relied on their No. 1 seeding during the semifinals, needing wins in all four home games to advance. They’ll open this series with a set of games on the parquet floor at TD Garden and will have to defend it with tenacity in order to have a chance against a well-favored opponent.
Just how favored are the Cavs? Keep reading to find out the latest odds, as well as a complete schedule of games and a prediction—courtesy of pro handicapper Jon Price of SportsInformationTraders.com—on how the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals will play out.
2017 Eastern Conference Finals Odds
Game 1 Line: Cavaliers -3
Series Line: Cavaliers -550, Celtics +420
Odds to Win NBA Championship: Cavaliers +300, Celtics +2000
Odds via SportsInformationTraders.com/Sportsbook.ag
2017 Eastern Conference Finals Schedule
The Celtics are fresh off their first Game 7 since 2012, when the team lost to the Miami Heat in 2012 and Ray Allen defected to South Beach in the offseason—effectively ending the Big Three era in Boston. The C’s fared much better this time around, although with a vastly different roster than the one that battled LeBron James’ Miami Heat squad five years ago. The last vestige of that iconic lineup still remaining in Beantown is guard Avery Bradley, who is playing a bigger role as a key veteran and starting guard for this iteration of the Celtics.