We chose a pair of highly anticipated playoff battles for today’s edition of Best Games to Bet On. Two defending champions – Cleveland Cavaliers and Pittsburgh Penguins – are aiming to advance and return to their respective league’s finals. It’s not as easy as it looks, as they are matching up against resilient foes – the Boston Celtics and the Ottawa Senators, respectively.
Read on and see which teams are great to put some money on!
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Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics (8:30 PM ET)
We should see a Cavaliers squad that is eager to finally move on and advance. Their big three – LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love – are all averaging 24 or more PPG in the series, while also shooting above 50 percent.
The Celtics, meanwhile, should again showcase their classic team-oriented basketball (27.5 APG in the series), especially since Isaiah Thomas is out for the playoffs (hip). Look for Avery Bradley and Al Horford to power the team on both ends, with Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, among others, also helping.
The Cavs (-10) win, 110-102, barely failing in covering the spread.
Ottawa Senators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (8:00 PM ET)
It’s exciting and all, but tomorrow’s knockout game will be one weird matchup, as the Senators are 0-5 in Game 7s while the Penguins are 0-7 in Game 7s at home. Whoever comes out on top, one team’s ugly trend will continue.
The Senators’ leading scorers heading into the contest are Bobby Ryan and Mike Hoffman, who each have two goals and a combined six assists on the series. Their goalie, Craig Anderson, has a .938 save percentage in the same span.
The Penguins, meanwhile, are of course boasting Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The duo has five goals and six assists in the past four games, while also having one of the members of their supporting cast, unheralded rookie Jake Guentzel, explode for nine goals in his first 11 playoff games. Anderson’s counterparts on the Pens, Marc Andre Fleury and Matthew Murray, have a combined save percentage of .935.
The more battle-tested Penguins (-220) return to the finals after a thrilling OT win.
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