NBA Pick on Cavaliers, Hawks ‘over’ in Eastern Finals Game 1

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 3:31 PM GMT

Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out a total that simply does not add up and therefore offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Wednesday.

 



Much like the regular season meetings between the top two seeds in the Eastern Conference, look for a relatively high scoring game Wednesday night when the second seeded Cleveland Cavaliers (61-31, 26-20 away) pay a visit to the top seeded Atlanta Hawks (68-26, 40-7 home) for Game 1 of the conference finals from Philips Arena in Atlanta, GA at 8:35 ET in a game televised nationally on TNT.

The posted total at Bet365 is 197 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at -110.


Two-Seeds Heavy Series Favorites
Despite the Hawks being the top seeds after winning 60 games during the regular season for the first time in franchise history and thus owning home court advantage, the second seeded Cavaliers are the favorites to win this series and rather heavily so at around -230. That just goes to show what happens when you boast the best player in the planet in LeBron James, who has fueled a Cleveland team that leads the playoffs in offensive efficiency.

Also both of these teams are well rested after finishing off their respective Eastern Conference semifinals in six games. The Bulls were a blowout winning NBA pick 94-73 in Game 6 vs. the Chicago Bulls last Thursday, giving them nearly a week off, while the Hawks wrapped things up vs. the Washington Wizards 94-91 last Friday. Thus both coaching staffs have had ample time to scout their respective opponents.


High Scoring Regular Season Meetings
In the end though, is their any reason to believe that this contest will be significantly lower scoring than the four regular season meetings between these teams, which averaged 214.8 total points? Even if you adjust that total downwards for more defense and half-court play that is generally played in the playoffs, would the result really be lower than this posted total of 197, nearly 18 points less than the season head-to-head average?

Granted the Cavaliers are without Kevin Love for the rest of this year, but the offense has been unaffected during the playoffs, in fact being more efficient than it was during the season. The Cavaliers finished fourth in the NBA in offensive efficiency during the regular year with 107.7 points per 100 possessions, but Cleveland leads all playoff teams during the post-season at 108.2 points per 100, the only Eastern Conference team in the top seven in efficiency.

J.R. Smith has made up for the loss of Love by picking up his scoring and even Matthew Dellavedova has made great scoring contributions off the bench to help pick up a hobbled Kyrie Irving. Speaking of Irving, though he is still bothered by his ailing knee he is well enough to make this start tonight, and he was probably well enough to re-enter the deciding Game 6 vs. the Bulls if the game had been closer.


Balanced Atlanta Scoring
Yes, the Eastern Conference Playoffs have been relatively low scoring with the ‘under’ going 18-14 through the first two rounds, but besides the Cavaliers being the most efficient offensive team this post-season, the Hawke are another team that can light up the scoreboard and they did average 109.0 points in the four meetings with Cleveland during the season.

The Hawks lack that one superstar to go to in crunch time like the Cavaliers have with James, and that may very well end up deciding this series, but what Atlanta does have is a very balanced attack with five guys on the court that can score at just about all times. That is how the Hawks averaged 102.5 points while ranking fourth in the NBA in field goal percentage at 46.6 percent and second in three-point shooting at 38.0 percent, with all five starters averaging double-digits.

The Cavaliers had no answer for the Hawks defensively during the season and while Cleveland has played well defensively during the playoffs, Atlanta is a much tougher team to defend than its previous two opponents, the Celtics and the Bulls.


Hawks Usually Go ‘over’ When Well-Rested
Finally, while the rest should probably help both offenses, the Hawks in particular have done well offensively following lay-offs as the ‘over’ is 13-4 in Atlanta’s last 17 games playing on three or more days rest.

Add this all up and unlike many of the playoff games in the Eastern Conference so far this season, look for more scoring and an ‘over’ when favored Cleveland visits top seeded Atlanta for Game 1 of the conference finals on Wednesday.

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NBA Pick: Cavaliers, Hawks ‘over’ 197 (-110)