To use the words of Magic Johnson, the Celtics “got blew out” the first two games of the series against Cleveland. To make matters worse, Boston had home-court advantage and the #1 seed, but the Cavs came to Boston and thrashed the Celtics from the start. Following Game 2, it was announced that Isaiah Thomas would miss the rest of the playoffs with a hip injury. Hope was mostly gone for Boston.
Before Game 3 even started, local radio host Tony Mazz basically counted them out:
I know we’re going to fight about this, but it’s impossible to conclude that Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics have not quit.
— Tony Massarotti (@TonyMassarotti) May 20, 2017
The Celtics opened +14 for Game 3 and even moved to as high as +18.5 at some sportsbooks following the news of IT. More than 80% of spread bets and money were on Cleveland until the line eventually started falling back down to +15.5 due to some sharper money. Cleveland still closed with 69% of spread tickets and 68% of spread money, similar to Game 1 and Game 2, but the outcome would ultimately be different.
Game 3 started like the first two games with the Cavs taking a 16-point halftime lead at halftime. The Celtics reached +2372 on the live moneyline but slowly started chipping away in the second half. Then with the game tied at 108, this happened:
— NBA.com (@NBAcom) May 22, 2017
Avery Bradley’s three-pointer with 0.1 seconds left sealed the win for Boston and got them back into the series. With Boston closing +15.5 on the spread and +1681 on the moneyline, it was the largest playoff upset that we’ve ever tracked in our database going back to 2005. It was also the third-biggest upset including regular season games, surpassed only by the Lakers (+17.5) vs. GS in March 2016, and the Kings (+15.5) at Utah in November 2009. There have now been 294 NBA teams to close +15 or higher since 2005. Only 8 have won the game straight up including the Celtics last night.
For what it’s worth to New England fans, the Patriots were +1600 on the live moneyline before they came back to win Super Bowl 51, slightly lower odds than +2372 that the Celtics reached last night. To look at it from the other side, Cleveland was -3050 on the moneyline, meaning you would have had to bet $3,050 on Cleveland to win $100. But of course if you bet that, you lost.
Despite the big win by Boston in Game 3, they opened +15 for Game 4 in Cleveland.
Keep up with all the latest odds, betting percentages, injuries, line predictions and more at our Free Live Odds page.
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