NBA Playoffs Betting: Cavaliers at Hawks

NBA Playoffs Betting: Cavaliers at Hawks

If LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers are to advance to the NBA Finals they’ll have to defeat the same Atlanta Hawks team that claimed the number one seed in the Eastern Conference, and took the season series from them 3-1 by an average of 15.3 points. And that was when the Cavs had Kevin Love in the lineup. Without Love, Cleveland will have its hands full at both ends of the court. Atlanta is sneaky good on offense, and found its defensive groove in disposing of the feisty Wizards in the semifinals. The Hawks should have a slight advantage in the paint, but James is 3-0 when facing number one seeds with a ticket to the Finals at stake. Plus, there’s that whole legacy in Cleveland thing that definitely comes into play. Here’s a preview of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.


This is essentially a pick-em, so oddsmakers clearly feel that Atlanta deserves to be the underdogs. It makes sense considering the presence of James, who by himself has mountains more of postseason experience than the Hawks’ core group of players. James averaged nearly a triple-double versus the Bulls with 27.6 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 8.8 assists. However, Bron was less than stellar in the three regular season losses, missing one game and averaging 19.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 5 assists in the other two. Those numbers won’t cut it this time of year, particularly with no Love available to pick up the scoring slack. Kyrie Irving has had five days to rest his ailing knee, so he should be ready to roll once the game tips. The center combo of Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov controlled the glass against Chicago and will need to do the same to limit Paul Millsap and Al Horford.

What precisely makes the Hawks so formidable an opponent? They are basically a clone of the San Antonio Spurs in that they utilize excellent spacing, pass the ball crisply and frequently, play unselfish, and are led by an underrated point guard. Six players are netting double-digits in points in the playoffs, but it hasn’t been Jeff Teague or Millsap who has looked most impressive. That honor goes to journeyman small forward DeMarre Carroll, whose physical defense and timely scoring has given Atlanta the exact kind of weapon needed to go toe-to-toe with mighty Cleveland. Will he be tasked to shadow James, and can he in any way slow down the planet’s greatest basketball talent? If the answers are yes and yes, the Hawks will be a tough out. Kyle Korver is someone to watch; he hustles on defense and is still one of the league’s deadliest three-point snipers, when he’s hitting.

Cleveland is 0-4 ATS in its last four trips to Philips Arena. Atlanta is 2-5 ATS in its last seven home tilts. Game 1s can be tricky. Both are rested and motivated to grab an early series’ lead.

Bet Cleveland +1