NBA Pick: Expect Cavaliers & Hawks to Soar 'Over' The Total

Jay Pryce

Monday, April 11, 2016 1:13 PM GMT

Monday, Apr. 11, 2016 1:13 PM GMT

The Cavaliers and Hawks clash in Cleveland, both teams with plenty to play for in their next-to-last regular-season game. Need a pick? We got you covered. Analysis and NBA pick here.

Atlanta Hawks (48-32 SU, 42-36-2 ATS)
The Hawks enter this contest highly motivated. In addition to losing six straight to the Cavaliers, including a four-game sweep in last year's playoffs, they sit third in the Eastern Conference standings with a one-game advantage over the Celtics and Heat. A victory here gets them revenge, makes them a step closer to securing home-court advantage in the first-round, and all but wraps up their second-straight Southeast Division crown.

The Hawks possess the second most efficient defense in the NBA behind the Spurs, yielding 101.2 points per 100 possessions. They've tightened up even more down the stretch, allowing just 98.5 points per 100 possessions over their last five games. Nonetheless, the defense has allowed teams to cross the century mark in five of its last six road games.

Offensively, Atlanta averages 101.4 points a night on 44.1 percent shooting as a road dog. PF Paul Millsap leads the team in scoring with 17.3 a night, but five players post double figures on average overall. Since Tiago Splitter went down with a season-ending hip injury, Al Horford has assumed more offensive responsibilities at the center position.

Bettors should take note, too. Putting up 15.1 points per game, when the eight-year pro posts 16 or more a night, the Hawks are 26-9 SU and 22-12 ATS, beating the number by nearly three points. Horford has been held below 16 points in six of nine games versus the LeBron-led Cavs.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers (56-24 SU, 37-40-3 ATS)
The Cavaliers have yet to cement the No. 1 seed in the East after falling 105-102 to the Bulls in Chicago on Saturday. They hold a two-game edge over the Raptors with two to play, but Toronto, who have the lowly Sixers and Nets remaining on its schedule, own the tie-breaker, taking two of three from Cleveland in the season series.

Since LeBron returned to Cleveland, he is 7-2 SU and 6-2 ATS versus the Hawks, winning by 6.9 points per contest. In five meetings at Quicken Loans Arena, the Cavs put up 113.2 points per game with the King leading the way with 26.4 per tilt.

Cleveland's 113.5 points scored per 100 possessions is the second best efficiency rate at home in the NBA, trailing only the Warriors (116.4). Since Tyronn Lue took over head coaching duties in late January, the Cavs average 107.8 points per game at Quicken Loans Arena on 47.8 percent shooting with LeBron in the lineup. Prior to the leadership change, the team averaged 45.4 percent from the floor, posting 101.6 a night.

Cleveland has looked a little shaky on defense at times under Lue, allowing 100.8 points per game versus 95.7 prior. Seven of their last 10 opponents have surpassed oddsmakers' expectations on offense and have raised their points in NBA odds boards, scoring over their projected team total. In this stretch, the Cavs have yielded 101.3 points per game on 45.0 percent shooting. Iman Shumpert and Mo Williams will likely sit out, both dealing with knee soreness.

Final Analysis
Despite the top seed in the East still up for grabs, James will likely get another day of rest in one of the Cav's final two games. This is huge for bettors, as the market has undervalued his absence time and time again. Since returning to Cleveland last season, the Cavs are 4-14 SU and 1-16-1 ATS when the King fails to suit up; the 'Under' has hit in 13 of these games. Cleveland loses by 10.2 points on average, and misses the cover by 8.6 points per game.

If James plays, we'll lean the Cavs as our NBA pick and make the 'Over' 204.5 the official play. With one overtime game mixed in, these two have put up 216.6 points per game in Cleveland since 2014. Expect the Cavs to flirt with 110 points in this one. If James doesn't dress, it's a no play.

 

Overall YTD: 49-35-1 (-107)
NBA YTD: 24-17 (-109)

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Free NBA Pick: 'Over' 204.5 (-110)
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

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