Celtics vs. Cavaliers NBA expert prediction and odds for Tuesday, March 5 (Bet the under)

NBA betting preview, prediction and best bet for Celtics-Cavaliers.

Mar 1, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA;  Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley (4) dribbles against the Pistons.
Mar 1, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley (4) dribbles against the Pistons. / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Eleven wins in 27 days. That’s the streak the Boston Celtics are on since opening up February play with a nine-point loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Boston continues to run away with the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, holding an eight-game lead over the No. 2 Milwaukee Bucks. 

The surging Celtics are a modest favorite Tuesday night against the No. 3 Cleveland Cavaliers. Cleveland has won three of its last five games but are coming off a 107-98 home loss to the New York Knicks. Can the Cavaliers, which will be shorthanded, hang with the top-seeded Celtics, the favorite to win the NBA Championship? 

Here’s the betting preview for Tuesday’s tilt with a best bet. 

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Celtics vs. Cavaliers odds, spread and total

Celtics vs. Cavaliers how to watch

  • Date: Tuesday, March 5
  • Game time: 7:30 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse
  • How to watch (TV): TNT
  • Celtics record: 48-12
  • Cavaliers record: 39-21

Celtics vs. Cavaliers injury report

Boston Celtics

  • Jaylen Brown (knee contusion): questionable
  • Kristaps Porzingis (quad): questionable 
  • Neemias Queta (knee soreness): out

Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Isaac Okoro (elbow): questionable
  • Caris LeVert (elbow): questionable
  • Max Strus (knee): out
  • Donovan Mitchell (knee): out 

Celtics vs. Cavaliers key players to watch


Payton Pritchard: Boston has been a well-oiled machine offensively over the last two games and Pritchard has played a big role. The 2020 first-round pick averages 8.2 points per game but has poured in 29 points over the last two games on 12-of-19 shooting and five 3-pointers. He’s added 8 rebounds and 7 assists, too.


Sam Merrill: The former second-round pick is averaging 8.1 points per game but has scored in double figures in back-to-back games with Donovan Mitchell sidelined by a knee injury. In Sunday’s loss to the Knicks, Merrill was a bright spot off the bench, sinking seven 3-pointers for 21 points, his first 20-point outing since Jan. 22. 

Celtics vs. Cavaliers prediction and pick

Cleveland is a middle-of-the-road offense this season, but now will be without Donovan Mitchell, who is averaging 28 points per game this season. Cleveland has averaged just 103.5 points over its last four games without Mitchell and will also be without Max Strus Tuesday night against a Boston Celtics team that is No. 2 in defensive rating.

Boston is No. 4 in the NBA in scoring defense (109.9 points per game) and No. 2 in opposing shooting percentage at just 44.7%. Boston is also No. 1 in defensive rebounding per game and faces a Cleveland offense that is top-10 in second-chance points.

On the other side, Boston scored 395 points over its last three games (131.6 points per game), but it’s easy to project the Celtics’ high-scoring ways won’t continue on the road Tuesday night against a Cleveland defense that still has a dangerous front court with double-digit rebounders Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen in the lineup. Plus, the Celtics carry injury concerns, too, with Brown and Porzingis listed as questionable. 

Both defenses have the advantage in this matchup and NBA unders have been rolling in since the All-Star Break. Go below the posted total. 

Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.

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