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New York wants to finish their first-round series against Cleveland on Wednesday night, but they’re not the team with the pressure. The Cavaliers are the center of attention, falling behind 3-1 and facing elimination. This outcome is a slight surprise as Vegas had Cleveland moving to the Eastern Conference semifinal to face the winner of Bucks vs Heat. This outcome could still occur, but Cleveland has a lot of work if they want to play in another playoff series in 2023. Let’s take a look at the best bets for the matchup.
DraftKings Sportsbook has been terrific for NBA bettors during the postseason. The company has made a drastic effort to be the industry leader in basketball. They’ve given tons of bonuses and promos in the 2023 playoffs, which is slightly different than we’ve seen in past seasons. The best bonus is for new players who join the site through our exclusive link.
If you bet on DraftKings Sportsbook as a new user from WSN, you’ll receive the chance to win $150 in free bets. If you wager $5 on any pregame moneyline and the stake is successful, your account will be credited with $150. The bet could feature a -1000000 favorite, but you receive free credit if they win. To learn more about DraftKings, please visit our easy-to-read guide.
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
The Cleveland Cavaliers will face the most adversity of their season on Wednesday night against the Knicks. New York has built a 3-1 series lead after splitting the opening pair of contests in Cleveland and sweeping at Madison Square Garden. New York set the tone in Game 1 with an impressive win where Jalen Brunson stole the show. Brunson has been the catalyst all series and has given New York the needed spark in high-leverage situations. The Knicks shouldn’t change much heading into Game 5.
Their game plan has been effective, and they’ve controlled the tempo all series. Cleveland has only scored over 100 points one time in this series. This is partly thanks to New York’s relentless effort in the backcourt, but Cleveland also hasn’t made many open looks. The Cavaliers are notorious for playing slow basketball, but this can be crippling with a lack of shooting efficiency.
Donovan Mitchell has been outstanding throughout the series. He has been off at times, but this is to be expected in the NBA. If the whole team was playing like Mitchell, they would be the aggressor in the series, but this hasn’t been the case. Despite being down 3-1, the Cavaliers are still laying more points than the Knicks in any game they played at MSG.
Bookmakers are looking at this game as a letdown spot for the Knicks, and the spread reflects this belief. However, New York is playing for an extended break heading into the Eastern Conference semifinal, so we don’t expect them to not show up on Wednesday.
The Knicks are now heavy favorites to win the series, but they started as underdogs. Tom Thibodeau deserves a ton of credit for his team’s effort through four games. They carried over their regular season road success into Game 1 and stole a win in Cleveland. In this matchup, New York wasn’t great on offense, but they delivered on the offensive glass.
Rebounding success has been one of their strengths through the first four contests, and we expect them to keep being more physical than Cleveland. Brunson has been fantastic and contributed in a variety of ways throughout the series.
The point guard has gotten every player involved, including Julius Randle. Randle wasn’t spectacular in his last outing, but he controlled the key, and this helped New York receive second chance opportunities. Every player for the Knicks has shined at times, but their three wins have been due to a combined team effort, which is something the Cavaliers haven’t matched.
Cleveland needs a complete overhaul from their level of play in the first four games. This is a matchup the Cavaliers should win, but nothing they’ve done has given us any level of confidence. Even if they prevail in this spot, they must go back to New York in Game 6 and win three straight contests to advance.
A 3-1 comeback has only occurred 13 times in NBA history, and we don’t see it happening in this series. The Cavaliers haven’t done the little things right consistently, and these won’t be fixed.
The biggest issue for Cleveland has been their inability to control the paint. The Cavaliers were outrebounded by 14 boards in Game 4, and Jarrett Allen has been horrendous. He only had four rebounds in 40 minutes, the second most time of any Cavaliers player. This isn’t a winning formula down 3-1 in any series.
The Cavaliers haven’t been good in any aspect of the game, so it’s unlikely they’ll fix it in this position. Cleveland should be favored, but 5.5 points is a few too many with how they’ve played. The Cavaliers haven’t been able to win the rebounding battle, and the Knicks have been relentless in the paint.
New York has been the aggressor all series and they’re working for an extended break before the next round. Take the 5.5 points for the Knicks in Game 5.
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Tanner Kern has been working in the betting industry since 2020. He currently is a social media content creator at DraftKings and contributes to multiple sites in addition to WSN, including Forbes and VSiN. He is also the cohost of the podcast Ride the Line at WSN.More info on Tanner Kern
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