NBA Picks: Strong Home Court Gives Hawks -1.0 the Edge Over Cavaliers in Series Kickoff

Ross Benjamin

Monday, May 18, 2015 3:48 PM GMT

Monday, May. 18, 2015 3:48 PM GMT

Our NBA consultant provides us with a betting preview article on the opening game of the Eastern Conference Finals series between Cleveland and Atlanta. Join us in reading this enlightening piece which is culminated with an ATS selection.

Game 1 of NBA Eastern Conference Final on Wednesday
The Atlanta Hawks host the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday at 8:35 PM ET. According to the NBA betting odds at Wagerweb, Atlanta is a -1.0 point favorite, and the posted total is 197.5. Atlanta went 3-1 during the regular season versus Cleveland, and that includes 2-0 SU&ATS at home. Cleveland made a combined 53 three-points shots in the four regular season games versus Atlanta, and converted on a red-hot 41.1% of their attempts from long distance.

 

Cavalier need to keep Defensive Focus
The Cavaliers have shown a marked improvement on the defensive end of the floor during the playoffs in comparison to the 82-game regular season slate. They’re allowing 92.6 points per game, holding opponents to just 40.8% shooting from the field, and that includes 30.8% from beyond the three point line in ten playoff contests.  It’s not like they were a bad defensive team during the regular season by any stretch. However, their attention to detail on that end of the floor was inconsistent at times. They’ll especially have to be better in that aspect compared to what was displayed in their last three meetings against Atlanta. During those three contests, Atlanta shot an outstanding 55.2% from the field while averaging 114.0 points scored per game, and defeated Cleveland on each of those occasions.

 

Protect your Home Court
The Atlanta Hawks were the best home team in the Eastern Conference this season, and were second only to Golden State in the entire NBA. They’ve put together an outstanding 40-7 record at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta during the regular season and playoffs. Excuse me for stating the obvious, but if they don’t hit a flat spot on their home floor, they’ll punch their ticket to the 2015 NBA Finals. That will be easier said than done versus a quality opponent like Cleveland who has gone 4-1 on the road during these playoffs.

 

Final Analysis
It would be difficult to fade a team in the playoffs that has a cumulative winning percentage of .851 at home, and especially when they just need to win the game outright in order for me not to lose. I’m siding with the strong home court in this series opener for one of my NBA picks.

NBA Pick: Atlanta -1.0 over Cleveland at Wagerweb.

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