Sometimes even bad teams can play well for a few games. The 14-47 Cleveland Cavaliers and 13-48 New York Knicks have the two worst records in the Eastern Conference, but both squads have looked pretty solid in the past week.
Cleveland has won two of its last three games. New York is on a two-game winning streak and has three wins in its last four contests. The Cavs visit the Knicks in Madison Square Garden today (7.30pm ET Thursday) in a game that could have ramifications on both teams’ odds at earning a top pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Let’s preview this game between two bad, but hot, teams before we look at some posted odds and make picks on how you should bet with our Cleveland Cavaliers vs New York Knicks predictions.
Will Cavs’ Experience Manifest Itself in Any Way in This Matchup?
If you’re a Knicks fan, you can at least take solace in the fact the team is playing a bunch of raw, young players. Kevin Knox, Dennis Smith Jr., Mitchell Robinson, Damyean Dotson, Allonzo Trier, Frank Ntilikina and Luke Kornet are all first or second-year players who have gotten major burn this season.
The Cavs are playing a lot more veterans. Kevin Love, Brandon Knight, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Matthew Dellavedova and some others are all unlikely to improve much more because of their respective ages.
Despite the fact that both of these teams are bad, experience does matter. The Cavs’ veterans will be able to draw on experience in this game that the Knicks’ young players just can’t use. Also, the Cavs may be extra motivated to play well in this game for the sake of pride. No veteran likes to be embarrassed by a bunch of first and second-year players.
Will Mitchell Robinson Stay on His High Against Cleveland?
The biggest positive development as of late for Knicks fans is the development of Robinson. The 7’1” rookie center is averaging 10.9 points, 8.9 rebounds and a mind-boggling 3.3 blocks in 22.6 minutes per game in the month of February. His field-goal percentage is also at 69.4 in that period.
Robinson looks like a future prototypical modern center. He is super long with great athleticism and a simple, yet effective offensive game and excellent rim protection instincts.
However, he is still 20 years old with very little experience at high levels of basketball competition. He’s very prone to foul trouble and silly mistakes on both ends of the floor. Will his positives outweigh his negatives in this contest? That will have a significant impact on the outcome of this game.
Will Cavs’ Rebounding Be a Big Storyline in This Game?
When the Cavs win, there is usually one common factor that leads the way for them: rebounding. Cleveland’s personnel on both offense and defense is terrible, but with excellent rebounders like Tristan Thompson (even though he’s out today), Larry Nance, Kevin Love and Ante Zizic, the team can stay in games by out-hustling opponents on the glass.
In fact, Cleveland grabs an average of 9.9 more rebounds than its opponents in its 14 wins. In its losses, it gets out-rebounded by an average of 4.3 rebounds per game. The Cavs are 13-25 when they corral 10 or more offensive rebounds, but just 1-22 when they have single-digit offensive rebounds.
The Knicks are definitely in the lower tier of rebounding teams, especially with Enes Kanter off the roster and DeAndre Jordan nursing a sprained ankle. The opportunity is definitely there for the Cavs to dominate the boards, even with Thompson’s injury.
Our Preview’s Cleveland Cavaliers vs. New York Knicks Betting Picks & Predictions
Despite being on the road, I think the Cavs should have a very good chance at taking this game. Remember, before the past few days, the Knicks had lost 16 straight games on their home floor. Cleveland’s experience will pay off against the youngest team in the NBA.
As far as the score of the game, we will see a lot of offensive incompetence and probably a lot of offensive rebounds by Cleveland, which will slow down the game.
- The Knicks are a 3-point favorite with all United States’ online betting sportsbooks. The smart move, I believe, is betting on the Cavaliers +3pts @ -105 with BetOnline. It is -110 with Bovada, Intertops or Bookmaker.
- The over/under on the total points for this game is a bit below average, at 218pts with all betting sites. With both teams’ struggles to score and the Cavs’ offensive rebounding, bet the under 218pts @ -110 with Bovada, Intertops, Bookmaker or BetOnline.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.