Defy the Odds & Bet Cavaliers +120 vs. Hawks: NBA Playoffs Picks

Nikki Adams

Friday, May 22, 2015 1:57 PM GMT

Friday, May. 22, 2015 1:57 PM GMT

The Cleveland Cavaliers look to take a 2-0 lead in the series with the Atlanta Hawks tonight, all while defying the NBA odds. Can the Cavaliers take the commanding lead on the road? Join us as we preview this game and serve up NBA picks.

Cleveland Cavaliers Up 1-0
Cleveland Cavaliers took game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals behind a 97-89 win, all while coming through as the 2-point underdogs in a big way. The Cavaliers now look to take a 2-0 edge in the series before it shifts back to Cleveland.

As it is, the odds makers stack the NBA odds against the Cavaliers ever so slightly. They are matched as the +120 underdogs to win outright and the mere 2.5-point road pups against the spread. Having defied the NBA odds in game one, there's sure to be few NBA bettors that will fancy their chances. In fact, consensus betting reveals 55% of public money coming down the wire is going towards the Cavaliers to win SU and another 67% is on the Cavaliers to cover.

Game 1 saw LeBron James lead the Cavaliers with 31 points, J.R. Smith was just as sensational scoring 8 three-pointers (28 points on the night)  to lift the Cavs to the road win. For the Cavs it marked the second series of the NBA playoffs in which they won the opening game. Only the Bulls got the better of the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals opener. It marked the first time the Cavs started on the road in the NBA playoffs and the start couldn't have gone any better.

They had the 1-0 edge in game 1 and no matter what happens in tonight's game, they know they have two home games to look forward next, where they only lost one home game so far (the said opener with the Bulls).

Check out this ATS NBA Pick for Tonight's Cavs/Hawks

Atlanta Hawks Must Win
Top seed Atlanta Hawks are down 0-1 to the Cavs and in danger of going down 0-2 if they don't win tonight's home game. It would set them up rather disadvantageously for the series when it shifts to Cleveland at the weekend.

In more ways than one, this is a must win game. For the time being, the odds makers favor the Hawks to win outright at -140 NBA odds and send them into this pivotal game as the 2.5-point home chalk, up from 1.5-points at early NBA betting doors. Yet, is this just overly optimistic?

Fact is the Hawks were outplayed by the Cavs in game 1. Then there is also the fact that the loss marked the second straight series they opened with a loss. They got away with it against the Washington Wizards in the end, but the Cleveland Cavaliers are in a different league. Falling down to one of the NBA Finals favorites is hardly promising.

If there's one thing that might go the way of the Hawks is the fact that James was visibly limping in game 1 after rolling his ankle and Irving is suffering from tendinitis (Yikes). It's rather unfortunate when the balance of a series shifts because of injuries. Everybody wants to play against the best and prove themselves against that high standard. But the Hawks won't complain if it is a weakened and hobbled Cavs that shows up on Friday night.

 

NBA Betting Verdict:
It's a promising NBA betting outlook for the Hawks, as they look to bounce back in this series with a home win before heading to Cleveland. The NBA outlook is slightly tainted by the perceived reduced strength of an already hobbled Cavaliers, all and sundry expecting them to fall short tonight.

However,  perceptions and reality are mutually exclusive. It may not be as grim as it appears to be for the Cavs in all the post game 1 narratives. James is slated to make an appearance tonight and he's as close to a demigod on the court as one can be in basketball. Kyrie Irving is touch and go, but let's not forget the Hawks might be without DeMarre Carroll, so they're not so immune.

In any event, with the series going the way of the Cavs 1-0, we fancy them to continue the momentum and take a 2-0 lead. The NBA odds have swayed us a bit, admittedly. At +120 to win outright, it's a value NBA picks that we can't pass up.

NBA Picks: Cavaliers +120 at The Greek

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