NBA Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Atlanta Hawks

Joe Gavazzi

Tuesday, December 30, 2014 5:12 PM GMT

Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014 5:12 PM GMT

The Cavaliers At 18-12 SU are looking up in the standings when they visit Atlanta tonight, and Cavs have plenty of reasons why they will not take this game lightly.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Atlanta Hawks 7:30 ET
A quick look at the Eastern Conference standings in the NBA finds the Cleveland Cavaliers looking up in the standings when they visit Atlanta tonight for a 7:35 Eastern tip.  At 18-12 SU, Cleveland holds down the 5th spot in the Eastern Conference playoff queue.  Surprising Atlanta is 22-8 SU, trailing Toronto by a single game for conference supremacy by one single game in the loss column.  There are plenty of reasons why Cleveland will not take this game lightly.  Among them is the fact that when these teams last met, the Cavs were embarrassed on their home floor by a score of 127-98 as 6 point favorite on December 17th.  That game was quite a turnaround from the first time these teams met.    Back on November 15th, Cleveland again hosted Atlanta, handing the Hawks their worst defeat of the year (127-94) as 7 point NBA odds favorite.  Now, the venue switches to Atlanta for the 3rd game of this series for the season.

There’s no doubt that Cleveland has had trouble adjusting to the formation of their Big 3.  The Cavs were built for success with the addition of LeBron James and Kevin Love to PG Irving and Varejao. Yet, the Cavs have struggled often to achieve consistency.  First year HC Blatt is rumored to have contentious relationships with the team, while key players have been in and out of the lineup.  Most recently, PG Irving missed 2/3 previous games in which Cleveland has shot just 41% from the field and 23% from the arc.  Perhaps, their biggest issue is the loss of interior force, Varejao, who was recently lost for the season with a torn Achilles.  It would seem reasonable to believe the Cavs would bounce back from a stunning (103-80) home court defeat to 7-23 SU Detroit in their previous outing.  But, that resiliency has been far from automatic for a Cleveland team who is just 3-7 ATS following a loss.

Far prefer the consistency that has been Atlanta.  Since their 5-5 SU ATS start, the Hawks have put it all together for a 17-3 SU, 16-4 ATS recent run.  Already in December, Atlanta has ripped off a 5-0 SU ATS streak in consecutive games against winning teams, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Dallas and the LA Clippers. 

Novice handicappers will kneejerk to the “revenge/bounce back scenario” with Cleveland.  We far prefer the consistency and momentum of Atlanta as our  NBA pick for this game. Hawks are 5-0 ATS as home favorite to -6. 

Free NBA Pick: Atlanta Hawks at 5Dimes

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