NBA Eastern Conference Playoff Chase: Cleveland Cavaliers at New York Knicks—Betting Preview

Tyson Chandler-knicks-2013Cleveland at New York
Time: 8 PM ET, Jan 30, 2014
Spread: NY -6.5
Total: 196

Betting odds courtesy of Bovada

The New York Knicks are starting to turn things around. The team has won three straight games to propel itself to within just one game of Charlotte for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks are just 10-15 at home this season but will still be 6.5 point favorites according to NBA oddsmakers as it hosts the Cleveland Cavs in NBA action Thursday night.

Cleveland, though 13 games below .500, is not out of the playoff chase either. The Cavs are just two games behind New York. The Cavs have lost two straight to Phoenix and New Orleans. The team will head west for a two game stint against Houston and Dallas following tonight’s contest.

The Cavs made some waves by acquiring Luol Deng from Chicago, but Deng is still adjusting to new teammates and a new offense. He’s averaged 15.6 points per game in his 10 games in Cleveland thus far, and if Kyrie Irving is going to lead this team to be a legitimate playoff force, it’s imperative his talents mesh with Deng’s.

Irving is posting 21.5 points and 6.2 assists per game, but he’s felt a lot of defensive pressure due to the lack of options in the Cavaliers offense. Dion Waiters was supposed to be that secondary scorer, but he’s shooting just 41 percent from the floor and averaging 14.3 points per game.

The Knicks are still too reliant on Carmelo Anthony, who is averaging 27 points and nine rebounds per game. Ray Felton and J.R. Smith have been overwhelmingly disappointing and Amar’e Stoudemire is a shadow of his former self (see: 19 minutes per game). Stoudemire is out for two weeks with an ankle sprain and bone bruise, but that’s not much of a loss. Missing Iman Shumpert and Andrea Bargnani adds insult to injury for New York.

The Knicks don’t really have any cap flexibility and has traded away most of its draft picks, leaving Mike Woodson and the Knicks with few recourses to revamping the roster. J.R. Smith was almost sarcastically dangled for trade offers, as James Dolan knew no one would inquire about the shoot-first headache guard.

CLE Trends: UNDER 4-0 in last 4 on 1 days rest; UNDER 5-0 in last 5 overall; UNDER 4-0 in last 4 when opponent scores 100 or more in previous game.

NY Trends: OVER 4-0 in last 4 vs teams with losing road records; OVER 4-0 in last 4 vs teams with road winning percentages under .400; OVER 5-0 in last 5 on 1 days rest.

Head-to-head: OVER 9-2 in last 11 meetings in NY.

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