NBA Odds and Picks ATS: New York Knicks at Cleveland Cavaliers

carmelo-anthony-knicksNYK @ CLE

Time: 8 PM ET
Spread: CLE -13.5
Total: 204

Betting Odds courtesy of Bovada

The Cleveland Cavaliers are opening its season Thursday night with a nationally televised matchup against the 0-1 New York Knicks. The Knicks are 13.5-point underdogs according to NBA oddsmakers in what will be LeBron James’ first game as a Cavalier in four seasons, after his stint in South Beach.

The Chicago Bulls dismantled the Knicks badly Wednesday night. Carmelo Anthony scored just 14, and Amare had 12, while no other Knick reached double figures. Shooting 36.5 percent from the floor as a team as well having a negative-nine rebound differential won’t lead to any wins. The Bulls are a great defensive team, in fairness, but it was a sour note to be on the wrong side of a 21-point blowout to start the home opener. A lot of anticipation and pressure sits on the Cavs season.

Cleveland had the No. 1 overall draft pick for the second consecutive season, but it had to let go of that prospect Andrew Wiggins to trade for power forward Kevin Love. Love is among the top 4-men in the league, and pairing him with James and the dynamic Kyrie Irving gives the Cavs a legitimate “Big Three.”

Expect James to play more off the ball this season with a scoring point guard like Irving running the show. LBJ may post up more this season than in years past, and he’ll play a more off the ball. Kyrie is an excellent passer who will be able to hit James on his cuts to and from the rim. Love is a deadeye three point shooter and monster on the boards.

It’s a trio that opposing teams are going to have a lot of trouble with. The Cavs are going to come out focused on winning by a big margin to assert itself as a new contender. Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks may soon show the void left by Tyson Chandler was far more than statistical. Choosing to use Samuel Dalembert at starting center, the Knicks aren’t even able to start its best young talent, shooting guard Tim Hardaway, Jr.

Last night the Knicks started Shane Larkin and Iman Shumpert. The Knicks bench shot 16-of-43 from the floor (37 percent) which was no worse than the starting core. It could be said that the Knicks have depth, but with a first year coach implementing a difficult offense (Tex Winter’s triangle offense), this season is going to be a rough one at Madison Square Garden.

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