Going into the final weekend of the NBA season, there’s just one playoff matchup that’s locked in. That’s the 4-seed Cleveland Cavaliers vs. 5-seed New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference side of the playoff bracket. While dates and times for the series haven’t been announced, we’ll take a look at the Knicks’ NBA playoff odds with a preview of this first-round series.
Knicks and Cavaliers Come Into Playoffs on a Hot Streak
Both New York and Cleveland have won seven of their last 10 games with each having two left to play. The Knicks are on a five-game winning streak, which is currently the longest such run in the Eastern Conference.
Going back further, the Knicks have been one of the NBA’s hottest teams for a couple of months now. After a 125-116 loss at Toronto on January 22, New York was 25-23. Since that game, NY is 22-10. Of teams in the East, just Philadelphia and Milwaukee have been better in that span.
Cleveland, however, hasn’t been far behind, going 21-11 in that time frame. The Cavs have won 50 games for the 12th time in franchise history. Additionally, it marks just the fourth time they’ve done so without LeBron James being a member of the team.
NY Holds Head-to-Head Edge Over Cleveland
The Knicks and Cavs met four times in the regular season. After a 121-108 Cavs win at home on Oct. 30, the Knicks won the remaining three contests between the clubs.
New York won both games at Madison Square Garden: 92-81 in December and 105-103 in January.
For the final matchup last Friday, the Knicks were without top scorer Julius Randle but got a 48-point effort from Jalen Brunson in a 130-116 victory on the road.
Knicks NBA Playoff Odds in Series vs. Cavaliers
NY sportsbook DraftKings has the overall series price along with some props.
Overall, the Cleveland Cavaliers are -185 to win the series; the Knicks come in at +150 underdogs.
In Series/Correct Score and Series Games bets, the odds have a Game 7 as the most likely outcome.
|SERIES EXACT GAMES
|SERIES WINNER AND CORRECT SCORE
|CLE Cavaliers, 4-3
|CLE Cavaliers, 4-1
|NY Knicks, 4-2
|CLE Cavaliers, 4-2
|CLE Cavaliers, 4-0
|NY Knicks, 4-3
|NY Knicks, 4-1
|NY Knicks, 4-0
The series total games bet favors over 5.5 (-160). Under 5.5 is at +130.
Knicks Star Randle’s Health Will Be Key
We noted that the Knicks were able to beat the Cavs–on the road, no less–last week without Randle in the lineup. Over the course of a long series, however, expect the Cavs to make adjustments that will make things difficult if Randle is unable to play due to an ankle injury.
Even so, it’s a feather in New York’s cap that they scored 131 points against the league’s best defense in their last meeting.
The last time the Knicks were in the playoffs, it was as the 4-seed in 2021. It that series, Atlanta focused heavily on stopping Randle, and it worked to the tune of a series win by the Hawks in five games.
Since Randle last led the team in scoring with a 57-point outburst against Minnesota on March 20, Brunson and Immanuel Quickley have been the Knicks’ best scoring options. He’s been the high scorer in four of the last eight games for the Knicks, including a 40- and 39-point effort in that span.
For the Cavs, Donovan Mitchell has been the player who helped the team surge the most after it didn’t advance out of the play-in round in 2021-22. In his first season in Cleveland after being acquired by Utah, Mitchell is averaging 28.3 points per game. Darius Garland is at 21.6 PPG while Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen have been solid rebounders, pulling down over nine boards per game.
Knicks-Cavs NBA Playoff Prediction: Value in Odds Against NY
The Knicks showed last week that they’re capable of winning in Cleveland, and there is tremendous value in the odds for them to do so again later this month. The odds for a Knicks series win in seven games is the same (+650) as they are for a sweep by the Cavaliers.
New York has a far better offense and a much more balanced team than they did in the quick 2021 playoff exit, so we like the Knicks’ value going into this series.