Early on in the 2022-23 season, the Cleveland Cavaliers are plugging along, en route to a 3-1 start, and offseason trade acquisition Donovan Mitchell has been big-time.
The Cavaliers have not had Darius Garland much, because of an eye injury he suffered in the first half of the season opener at the Toronto Raptors, but the group has answered the bell, and strong bench play has made a difference. Kudos to Cedi Osman, who has had a scorching hot start. The group has collectively been stout on the defensive end, too.
Granted, we won’t see Garland in action for the Cavaliers on Friday night at the Boston Celtics, in an early-season matchup of two very talented and exciting young squads in the Eastern Conference. He did reportedly get in some individual work on Thursday, which was a positive, fortunately, but we know what Garland means to the team, though, and hopefully he’s back soon.
As it pertains to the Celtics, they’ve gotten off to a 3-1 start, too, and despite not having Robert Williams III for possibly the first half of the season with a knee injury, the C’s are sitting pretty. This Boston team is among the league’s most talented, and offseason trade acquisition Malcolm Brogdon has made his imprint for them as well.
So without ado, let’s examine the odds, injuries and lineup outlook for this first meeting between Cleveland and Boston of the campaign, and we’ll then weigh in with our prediction.
Cavaliers-Celtics: Odds, spread and over/under
Per FanDuel, the Celtics are favored in this contest by 6.5 over the Cavaliers here. The moneyline for Boston is set for -255 and for Cleveland is +210.
As for the over/under, that’s set for 218.
Cavaliers-Celtics: Injury report
Cavs injuries: Darius Garland (out, eye); Ricky Rubio (out, ACL); Dylan Windler (out, ankle); Isaiah Mobley (out, G League two-way).
Celtics injuries: Robert Williams III (out, knee); Danilo Gallinari (out potentially for season, ACL); Grant Williams (out, one-game suspension); JD Davison (out, G League two-way); Mfiondu Kabengele (out, G League two-way).
Cavaliers-Celtics: Projected starting lineups
Cavs starters: Donovan Mitchell, Caris LeVert, Dean Wade, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen
Celtics starters: Marcus Smart, Derrick White, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford
In this contest, I would expect the Cavaliers to be in the game throughout, given what they’ve been able to do without Garland, and they’ve been able to be figure things out defensively to hold up for crucial stretches, to a large extent.
Given the Cavs’ success in starting Wade in their last game, and with what he’s been able to provide in his minutes of late, I’d think J.B. Bickerstaff goes with him again here.
Now, Brown and Tatum will get their production throughout the game, but if the Cavs can make them work, and Cleveland can get more bench pop than Boston here, they’ll have a good shot at stealing one on the road. Look for Evan Mobley to continue his aggressive play from that second half in the Cavs’ last win over the Orlando Magic here, and Grant Williams out due to a suspension only adds to that reasoning.
However, I just personally think against this sort of Boston squad early on, and on the road, that it’ll be tough in the game-altering moments without Garland. That ultimately down the stretch could be the difference, to me, and could make things tougher in this one, in particular, on Mitchell.
As for the bet, I will go the Cavs to cover, with the C’s winning. And I’ll go with the under, despite Boston’s high scoring totals in their games to begin the year.
Prediction: Celtics 110, Cavs 105
The Bet: Cavs (+6.5), UNDER
Fans in-market and with the available options can watch this one on Bally Sports Ohio and NBC Sports Boston. For fans without those options and/or out of market, NBA League Pass should do the trick.
For a streaming option for this game, here’s a link for a FuboTV free trial.
Cavs upcoming schedule:
After the Cavaliers take on the Celtics on Friday, the Wine and Gold will head back home to play the New York Knicks on Sunday, and once again, they’ll have another meeting with Boston next Wednesday with a national broadcast.
From there, Cleveland will play at the Detroit Pistons on Friday, in what will kick off the first of a mostly California road trip that spans five games, including the Detroit contest.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.