Cleveland Cavaliers vs New York Knicks betting tips and predictions for Saturday’s NBA Playoffs game on ESPN. The 4th seed Cavaliers host the 5th seed New York Knicks in Game 1 of what will be a highly contested series in the Eastern Conference. Read on for all our free predictions and betting tips.
After a successful 51-31 season, the Cavaliers have finally made the postseason without having LeBron James on their roster. Donovan Mitchell asserted himself as a bonified superstar averaging 28.3 points per game and likely guaranteeing himself a spot in one of the All-NBA teams.
All that is well, but now the pressure is on the Cavs to deliver in the postseason as well. Standing in their way are the New York Knicks who beat them in 3 of the 4 meetings during the regular season. The Cavs are 5.5 point favorites to take Game 1, which is realistic considering they finished the year with a 31-10 SU record in home games. They are also the healthier team here which could make a huge difference.
New York Knicks
Missing their best player and leading scorer Julius Randle will be a big blow for the Knicks here as they enter the postseason with a ton of hype from the New York faithful. They finished the regular season winning 47 games, plus on the road they were 24-17 SU which was one of the better record in the Eastern Conference.
Jalen Brunson has proven all his doubters wrong, he just had 48 points against the Cavaliers at the start of April and averaged 25.3 per game in 4 meetings against them. He is expected to lead the way offensively in Game 1 with Randle missing, the Knicks will come into this game with a lot of optimism having covered the spread in 9 of the last 13 meetings and in 5 of their last 7 visits to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
No matter how good the Knicks have been on the road, the absence of Randle will be huge for them here. It’s hard to win in the playoffs even when you’re at full strength, it would be disrespectful to the Cavs not to back them to beat a shorthanded Knicks team here. Go with the home team.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs New York Knicks Predictions & Odds
Defense has been the calling card for both teams this season and despite them combining to score 246 points in the last meeting some 2 weeks ago, this series is expected to be one of the lowest scoring first round match-ups in this year’s Playoffs. We have the Knicks who rank only 25th in pace and the Cavs who are on the bottom averaging just 97 possessions per game.
Cleveland had the number 1 defensive efficiency for most of the season, they finished the year allowing just 107.7 points per 100 possessions. With Randle out of the line-up the Knicks have to come up with an extra 25-30 points to make up for his absence, I’m just not sure they are deep enough to do that. With just 207.2 points per game scored between them in the last 10 games head-to-head, I’m expecting a low scoring series opener on Saturday, so let’s back the under here.