Free NBA Finals Picks: Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers Game 1

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The NBA Finals tips off on Thursday night at the Staples Center, and Cappers Info has the lowdown on Game 1 of NBA Finals betting action between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Boston Celtics (+5.5) @ Los Angeles Lakers
Thursday, June 3rd, 2010
9:00 ET, Staples Center

Boston Notes: HC Doc Rivers has to be thankful that his team was given a few off days after playing back-to-back grueling six game series with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic. The names that you have become familiar with have all taken their place and taken their turns as the stars of the Celtics. F Paul Pierce is averaging 19.1 points per game in the playoffs to pace the team, but he really didn't shine his brightest until the Eastern Conference Finals against the Magic when he scored 30+ points in two of the final three games of the series to help put Orlando away. G Rajon Rondo has also been huge for the C's, as he put together a monster series against Cleveland in which he averaged 20.7 points per game. Boston is allowing just under 92 points per game in the postseason, the best such mark in the league. The Celtics haven't scored more than 96 points in a game since Game 5 against the Cavs, but the defense has conceded 90 points or fewer in seven of its L/9 NBA playoff betting affairs.

Los Angeles Notes: The Lakers have a lot of issues coming into the NBA Finals, most notably the health of their C Andrew Bynum. Bynum had fluid drained from his knee earlier in the week in an effort to get him ready for the championship series. He was rather harmless in the Western Conference Finals, posting three games of four points or less. However, he was picked up on the inside by the play of both F Lamar Odom and F Pau Gasol. Gasol has been particularly stellar in these playoffs, averaging 20.0 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. Odom has had five double-doubles in the postseason, and he has had at least either double digits in points or rebounds in seven consecutive games. However, when it's playoff time, it's Kobe Time. G Kobe Bryant has been absolutely unconscious at times in the postseason, as he has scored 30+ points in four straight games and reached the 35+ point plateau four times against the Suns in the Western Conference Finals. Bryant still feels disrespected by the way that Celtics fans treated him and his Lakers following the 2008 NBA Finals, and he will inevitably try to channel that aggression to lead the purple and gold to their second straight NBA title.

NBA Finals Betting Odds: Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers Game 1

JustBet Sportsbook
Diamond Sportsbook
BetUS Sportsbook

Trends of Note: The season series was split between these two teams one game apiece with both teams winning on the opponents' court. However, the Lakers' loss at Staples Center was largely thanks to the fact that Bryant didn't suit up that day. The C's covered all six NBA Finals odds in the 2008 series between the teams, including sticking within huge numbers in both Games 3, 4, and 5 in Tinseltown. Boston's only failed cover attempt at Staples Center since the '07-'08 regular season was in a 92-83 Christmas Day loss in the first meeting of these two teams after the Finals.

The Final Word: Boston has the horses to win this series, just as it did in 2008. The difference this year is that there has to be a win for the visitors at some point if the Celtics have hopes of winning it all. That may be just what happens on Thursday night, as the C's are going to use a stifling defense to once again take care of an opponent on enemy soil. The Cavs and Magic went a combined 1-3 SU and ATS on their home floor against this Boston squad in Games 1 and 2 of those series. Don't expect LA to do any better than that.

Prediction: Boston 98 – Los Angeles 93

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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