NBA Playoffs Preview: NY Knicks vs Cavaliers Odds Already Set

The Cavaliers and Knicks Locked In for #4 Vs #5 Matchup

Early NBA Playoffs Series Odds Favor Cleveland


With the rest of the NBA either jockeying for playoff positions or a spot in the play-in tournament, the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks are already locked into their matchup: The 4th seed versus the 5th seed, respectively. The NY Knicks vs Cavaliers odds favor Cleveland, with the home court advantage, to win the series at -185. The comeback on New York is +150.

Cavaliers vs Knicks: New York Won the Regular Season Series 3-1


The Cavs and Knicks met four times in the regular season and New York won the last three games, however, Cleveland’s star center Jarrett Allen did not play in two of these three losses. Also, in the first game, star guard Darius Garland sat out.

In fact, Allen is currently nursing a groin injury while Garland has a hurt leg. Leading scorer Donovan Mitchell, who Cleveland acquired in a deal with Utah, also has an injured hand.

But NBA injuries are not an excuse. The Knicks had to weather many through their NBA schedule as well. Currently, star forward Julius Randle is also dealing with a hurt ankle while guard-forward R.J. Barrett is sick.

Come to the NBA playoffs, which start next Saturday (April 15), Cleveland and New York could both have all of their main players back in some capacity. That’s why the NY Knicks vs Cavaliers odds support Cleveland. The team has the better record (51-30), is the number-one ranked defense (109.9) and has the second-best net rating (5.8) just behind Boston.

The Knicks, however, have the fourth-best offense (117.0) and have their best net rating (3.0) since 2011-12. They also rebound better (third-best rebound percentage at 52.1 percent) and are more careful with the basketball with a 13.1 turnover percentage (fifth-best). Jalen Brunson, the Knicks’ big free agent signing, has more than stabilized New York’s point guard position and the franchise is at its best in over a decade.

The Key Matchups for This Cavs-Knicks Series


Going by the stats, this could be a highly competitive series. Even if the NY Knicks vs Cavaliers odds give the Cavs nearly a 62 percent chance of prevailing, the Knicks could pull off the upset. A few matchups may decide how this one shapes out.

The Experience Edge P1: About Even With the Players


Both the Cavaliers and Knicks are composed mainly of young NBA players. The former are relatively inexperienced and many of their key players are making their playoff debuts namely Garland and Evan Mobley. Allen and Caris LeVert have played in nine playoff games with Brooklyn. Mitchell, the team’s best offensive player, is experienced with 39 games and two playoff series victories under his belt.

The Knicks appear more experienced in comparison. Most of the Knicks’ core experienced losing to the Hawks in the first round two years ago, and Brunson broke out for the Mavericks in last year’s playoffs. He was crucial to the team that went to the Conference Finals. Josh Hart and Quentin Grimes are two players on the rotation that have no playoff experience.

The Experience Edge P2: Thibodeau vs Bickerstaff


As for the coaches, Tom Thibodeau is a grizzled vet compared to J.B. Bickerstaff. The latter has only coached five playoff games where Houston lost to the 73-9 Warriors in the first round. Thibodeau has been to the Conference Finals with Chicago and has coached in 62 playoff games. However, he has only won one playoff series in his last four appearances.

Winning the Close Games: Knicks are More Clutch?


Since it’s the playoffs, the games will be more intense and defensive. A few games may be decided by one or two possessions late in the game. Only one of the Cavs-Knicks’ regular season series was decided by three points or fewer: The Knicks won 105-103. Mitchell missed his last six field goal attempts, which led to the Knicks winning.

New York is also 10-4 in games decided by three points or fewer. It edged the likes of Philadelphia, Denver, and the Celtics all on the road. Cleveland, on the other hand, is just 5-8 in these decisions. Speaking of road wins, the Knicks are 24-16 compared to Cleveland’s 20-21 record.

Role Players: Which Ones Will Step Up?


We can bank on stars like Mitchell and Brunson to put up big NBA player stats in this series. So it will be up to the supporting cast to be the difference. Cedi Osman could be that guy for Cleveland.

The team averages the third-fewest points off the bench. Osman will be critical in keeping the team’s offense afloat when most of the starters sit. Cleveland is 11-4 when he scores 15 or more points and 6-0 when hits 20.

For the Knicks, it is Hart. The team is 17-6 with a 7.1 net rating (second-best in this span) since he joined the team on February 11. The Knicks are a whopping 13 points better when he is on the floor. But he’s never played in the playoffs and the NBA team might suffer if his play drops off.

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