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Knicks vs. Cavaliers Odds, Pick, Prediction | NBA Betting Preview

Knicks vs. Cavaliers Odds, Pick, Prediction | NBA Betting Preview article feature image
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Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images. Pictured: Jalen Brunson.

  • The Knicks are on the road to take on the Cavaliers on Friday night.
  • New York will be without star Julius Randle in this potential first-round NBA playoff preview.
  • Expert Kenny Ducey is unfazed by Randle’s absence, which is reflected in his Knicks vs. Cavaliers preview and betting pick.

Knicks vs. Cavaliers Odds

Knicks Odds+3.5
Cavaliers Odds-3.5
Over/Under221
Time7:30 p.m. ET
TVNBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

We’re in for a treat on Friday night when the Knicks travel to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers in a potential first-round playoff preview. Down Julius Randle, New York is being spotted a few points, but is that the right call?

Let’s get into some predictions and picks for Knicks vs. Cavaliers in our game preview.

New York Knicks

Everything was going just a little too well for the Knicks, who nearly have the fifth seed locked up in the Eastern Conference. In the middle of an inspired comeback against the Heat, star forward Julius Randle suffered a sprained ankle that will sideline him at least two weeks. It came on the same night Jalen Brunson made his return from injury, getting the team back to full health.

The Knicks won their second straight, but in the immediate aftermath, the road is going to be a bit treacherous. Cleveland is a team with a ferocious interior defense and without Randle, Obi Toppin will be called on to give N.Y. minutes inside.

The good news for the Knicks is that they’re 2-1 against the Cavaliers this year. They’re also a scorching hot 24-14 against the spread on the road. The bad news? The one loss New York had against Cleveland came on the road in a game where it was outscored 37-15 in the fourth quarter. The Knicks didn’t come close to covering the spread, and they also played that game with Brunson and Randle in the lineup.

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Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers don’t exactly love to shoot 3s. They’re around the middle of the league in 3-point frequency and rank 14th in 3-point percentage. With that said, it’s not really a coincidence that they shot 46% from deep in the game, which saw them pull away from the Knicks, and were a combined 29.4% from deep in the two losses.

The 3-pointer may swing this one way or another, and the Knicks are not a team which gets burned by it very often. New York ranks seventh in defending the perimeter for the season; on the other side of the coin, the Cavaliers are ninth-worst in the same category. That might come into play when you consider the Knicks sit inside the top 10 when it comes to how often they shoot the long ball.

Cleveland is also dealing with injury concerns of its own. Jarrett Allen is doubtful to play in this game due to a groin strain and will likely join Danny Green (health and safety protocols) and Isaac Okoro (knee soreness) on the sideline. Raul Neto (hamstring) is also questionable for this one, while Dean Wade is at least listed as probable.


Knicks-Cavaliers Pick

One might think the loss of Randle hurts the Knicks inside given the stout frontcourt defense of the Cavs. The 3-point shot, though, has powered the Knicks offense. While Randle was a decent threat from beyond the arc, the Knicks have shooting in spades.

With Brunson back in the lineup, I have no doubts about the Knicks’ ability to torch a weak Cleveland 3-point defense. Toppin’s shooting numbers are similar to Randle’s, but if Tom Thibodeau elects to go small, it could really open up this explosive offense.

New York has been excellent on the road this season and there’s no reason to believe that won’t continue. The Cavaliers don’t match up well and needed a ridiculous shooting performance to get past them the last time these two sides met in Cleveland. On top of that, the Cavs won’t have Allen, so I’m also not sure how much they can assert their dominance inside.

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