Cavaliers vs. Knicks Odds, Expert Pick & Prediction: Expect Points at Madison Square Garden (December 4)
David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Donovan Mitchell
- The Cavaliers are short road favorites when Donovan Mitchell makes his Cleveland debut in Madison Square Garden against the Knicks.
- Both offenses have advantages in this matchup as the Knicks allow a high volume of 3s and Jarrett Allen remains sidelined for the Cavs.
- Chris Baker breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Cavaliers vs. Knicks Odds
|Time||6 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
Donovan Mitchell makes his return to New York as a Cavalier to prove how big of a mistake the Knicks made by not acquiring him this summer. Will the Knicks contain a motivated Mitchell and this hot Cavs team? Let’s examine how these teams match up.
Improved Cavaliers Offense Has an Edge
The Cavaliers have had an excellent start to their season as they sit third in the Eastern Conference with a 15-8 record. The Cavs have been the second-most efficient team in the NBA by Adjusted Net Rating (+7.2) and have been particularly dominant on defense as they lead the league in Adjusted Defensive Rating (107.9). This a challenging matchup for their defense as the Knicks have been absolutely rolling on offense lately.
The Cavs offense should have no issues scoring here as the Knicks have been awful on defense. New York ranks 27th in Defensive Rating by allowing about 115.7 points per 100 possessions.
Unsurprisingly, this Cleveland offense has been massively improved since adding Mitchell to play alongside Darius Garland in the backcourt. These two should give the Knicks a ton of trouble as New York is completely bereft of quality guard defenders outside of Immanuel Quickley.
The Knicks also struggle to defend the 3-point line, ranking 27th in 3-Point Rate Allowed on the season. This is a massive edge for the Cavs as they have four rotation players shooting above 40% from 3 on the season. Expect the Cavs to have plenty of success on offense against this porous Knicks defense.
Knicks Should Dominate the Glass
The Knicks have exceeded 120 points in four of their last five games and have jumped to 11th in points per 100 possessions (114.3). The Knicks came back to Earth against the Bucks, but the Bucks have an elite defense that matches up particularly well with the Knicks.
We all saw what Jalen Brunson did to Mitchell in the playoffs last year, and I expect him to replicate that level of play this time around. Brunson loves to bully small guards, and the Cavs have plenty for him to pick on. Between Mitchell, Garland, and Raul Neto, I expect Brunson to get to any spot he wants.
The Cavs defense has not been the same without Jarrett Allen as they have allowed 113.7 points per 100 possessions (41st percentile) with Allen off the court. They have particularly struggled with defensive rebounding as they have allowed a poor 28.3% Offensive Rebound Rate (31st percentile) with Allen out. That’s a huge issue when playing against this Knicks team as they rank as the fourth-best offensive rebounding team in the league.
The Knicks just grabbed 19 offensive rebounds versus Milwaukee on Wednesday despite the Bucks being the second-best defensive rebounding team in the NBA. Consequently, they should have no issues generating second chances against this smaller Cavaliers team.
I like Over 222.5 a lot given the edges on the offensive side of the ball for each team. The Cavaliers should launch plenty of 3s against this Knicks defense, and Brunson should generate lots of offense with one of Garland or Mitchell guarding him for the majority of the game. I also love the Knicks’ offensive rebounding edge and expect that to lead to consistent second-chance opportunities tonight. Take Over 222.5 in New York tonight at FanDuel.