NBA odds makers have set the point spread to between 1 and 2 points for tonight's battle as the Cleveland Cavaliers travel to Atlanta to face the Hawks. Find out what our top pick is.
Cleveland Cavaliers (-1-) at Atlanta Hawks 7:35 ET
The Cleveland Cavaliers travel to Atlanta tonight for this 7:35 ET pm tip in a matchup of the 2 best teams in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta enters the contest with a 48-12 SU record to hold the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff queue. Cleveland is currently 39-24 SU, giving Atlanta a comfortable conference lead. Yet, Cleveland has been installed as a road favorite in NBA odds for this game, leaving one scratching his head about why the oddsmakers have posted Cleveland as the favorite. The answer to a degree comes in the current form of Cleveland. These teams have played 3 times this season with Atlanta winning the last two by scores of (127-98) and (109-101) after Cleveland won the first game (127-94). Let's go inside the numbers to determine the winner of this game & develop our NBA picks.
Atlanta has had the phenomenal run due to the coaching influence of 2nd year mentor Budenholzer. Using the principles he learned as a San Antonio Asst. for 17 years, Atlanta now has the conference's best defense and best assist/TO ratio. After a mediocre start, Atlanta has responded by going 40-7 SU, including 21-5 ATS to -9. Their home court has been a tremendous ally with a record of 28-4 SU and 10-2 ATS to -6. But, Atlanta's pointspread fortunes have taken a dip to 5-11 ATS of late. This is due to 2 factors. First, Atlanta became overpriced after their incredible run up. Secondly, this pointspread slide is linked to the absence of Sefolosha, Atlanta's best defender, who is out with a groin injury. He will certainly be missed against the potent Cleveland offense.
Now, it is Cleveland's turn to make a run. The Cavs hit the nadir of their discontent with a 19-20 SU mark in mid-January. Since that time, Cleveland has gone 20-4 SU, 18-6 ATS. This turnaround corresponds with the addition of Mozgov to replace an injured Varejao and a deal with the NY Knicks that brought shooting guard JR Smith (to replace the traded Waiters) and I-man Shumpert as defensive enforcer. Along with the potent offensive trio of James, Love and Irving, Cleveland has hit its stride. They proved their mettle Wednesday night with a victory against Toronto north of the border.
No questioning the superiority of Atlanta, whose fundamentals could take them a long way. But, the Hawks appear on the downside of their pointspread run with the absence of Sefolosha. Trailing in the standings, Cleveland remains the hunter in this matchup. With recent double revenge as the motive, Atlanta will find out (much like Toronto did Wednesday night) that "it aint no fun when the rabbit got the gun"!
NBA Picks: Take Cleveland Cavaliers at Pinnacle Sports