The New York Knicks visit the Cleveland Cavaliers to open the play-offs. The Knicks are coming off a loss to the Pacers on the road to close out the regular season, while the Cavaliers are coming off a home loss to the Hornets to end the season. My prediction is that the Knicks cover the 5.5-point spread against the Cavaliers. The Knicks and the Cavaliers are very similar and 5.5 seems too much in a series that’s going to be close across the board. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for this game!
New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Prediction
The Pick: New York Knicks +5.5
The New York Knicks have been a very good surprise this season in the NBA.
The Knicks will go as far as Julius Randle can take them this year. He leads the team in scoring at 25 PPG and in rebounds at 10 per game. Jalen Brunson has been a huge x-factor for the Knicks this season after signing with them during the summer from the Mavericks. He averages 24 PPG and leads the team in assists at 6 per game. RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley are up next in production and have been good when needed on the perimeter for the Knicks. Barrett averages 20 PPG and Quickley averages 15 PPG for the season. Quickley also leads the team in steals at 1 per game.
The Knicks have been one of the best offenses in the NBA this season. They’re 10th in scoring at 116 PPG, 7th in point differential at +2.9, and 4th in offensive rating at 117. They’re also third in rebounds at 47 per game.
On the other side, the Cavaliers have really taken off this year as a team and everything has fit very well for them to take an extra step.
Donovan Mitchell has been the X-factor for the Cavaliers this season. Mitchell leads the Cavaliers in scoring at 28 PPG and in steals at 1.5 per game. Darius Garland is a great sidekick that’s emerged for Mitchell in the backcourt too. Garland averages 22 PPG and leads the team in assists at 8 per game. Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen make up the best defensive front court in the NBA this season. Mobley scores 16 PPG and leads the team in blocks at 1.5 per game, while Allen scores 14 PPG and leads the team in rebounding at 10 per game.
The Cavaliers have emerged as the best defense in the NBA this season. They’re first in scoring defense at 107 PPG allowed and first in defensive rating at 109.9. Their offense has been very good too. They’re 8th in offensive rating at 115.5, 5th in field goal percentage at 48.8, and 2nd in point differential at +5.3.
The Cavaliers should win this game, but the Knicks are going to make it close. The Knicks should cover the 5.5-point spread in a tough game, where the Cavaliers win late.
New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Betting Odds
The Cleveland Cavaliers are 5.5-point home favorites against the New York Knicks and are at -210 on the money line. The over/under is also at 216.5. It doesn’t make a ton of sense that the Cavaliers are this much of a favorite against the Knicks, especially because Julius Randle isn’t confirmed to be out. The over/under also makes sense because each team is very good on defense, especially Cleveland, who has the best defense in the NBA.
- Knicks are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Cavaliers are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS loss.
Can Quentin Grimes matchup with Donovan Mitchell? Can Darius Garland matchup with Jalen Brunson?
Donovan Mitchell vs. Quentin Grimes
Donovan Mitchell has been great for Cleveland this year. He averages 28 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds per game. He’ll be matched up against Quentin Grimes most of the game, who averages 11 points, 2 assists, and 3 rebounds per game. Grimes has played well recently, but Mitchell is reason enough for the Cavaliers to win but maybe not cover.
Jalen Brunson vs. Darius Garland
Jalen Brunson has been great for the Knicks this year. He averages 24 points, 6 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game. He’ll be matched up against Darius Garland most of the game, who averages 22 points, 8 assists, and 3 rebounds per game. Garland is very good, but Brunson has been better and is a big reason why the Knicks should cover this 5.5-point spread even if they don’t win outright.
New York Knicks Starting Lineup
Cleveland Cavaliers Starting Lineups
New York Knicks Injuries: PF Julius Randle (Ankle) Q
Cleveland Cavaliers Injuries: SF Isaac Okoro (Knee) Q