Monday, November 13
New York Knicks +5.5 (5 Units) ***PLAY OF THE WEEK***
The Cleveland Cavaliers have made me fade cash on one occasion this year and they are about to do it again. What you have to understand about this Cleveland team is that although they have outstanding potentital to compete for the East Title this season, they still tend to keep games too close with weaker teams and it has cost them on the ATS front. The problem I think with this team is all about ego. It seems like Lebron James and company only play well when they are up against some of the top notch teams in the NBA which is a problem. Example? The only two times the Cavs covered the spread this season was in San Antonio where they were underdog and at home against the Bulls last week where they were -4 point underdogs. As a road favorite this season the Cavaliers are a 0-1 ATS having lost their only favored road game to the Bobcats. If they come into this game tonight with the same attitude as that road game, they are going to be in for a New York surprise. It also seems to me that everytime Lebron goes to the Big Apple he is distracted by the cameras, the action and all the commercial shoots. That could also explain why he averages only 22.7 points per career game against the Knicks. The Cavs are shooting only 43.9% this season while the Knicks have done a decent job containing easy buckets. The problem with New York's defense is that they allow too many three pointers. How can you back a Cleveland team that is making only 64.8% of their Free Throws? That's about 9.7 percentage points lower than the NBA average for teams. I don't know if you guys have noticed but the Cavs get a ton of points off offensive rebounds. However, the Knicks have allowed only 7 O-Boards per game this year and it shouldn't be a problem tonight. Larry Hughes and Eric Snow need to be agressive in this game on both offense and defense because Jamal Crawford and Stephon Marbury are not the type to sit around and they will pick your pocket. The Cavs average only 4.0 steals per game this year while the Knicks average 7.6 steals per game. Like I said, the key for the Cavs to keep this game close is that they are not able to expose New York's weakness which is the three point shots allowed. The Cavs rely on three pointers for only 22.2% of their points. It won't be that big of a problem tonight.
The New York Knicks are one of those teams that will give you big time headaches when you bet on them but this is a great spot for this team because they have been playing some outstanding ball as of late and oddsmakers refuse to respect this. The Knicks are back home after a three game road trip where they beat Denver, lost to Houston and lost to San Antonio. The positive? They were 3-0 ATS on the road trip and they showed the basketball betting world that someone needs to make adjustments on the Knicks lines. In their only two home games of the season the Knicks have lost and as underdogs and failed to cover the spread in both games. The good play on the road is nice and all but it's time to get a little bit of giddeeup in the Madison Square Gardens crowd. The hype is going to be huge because Lebron is a big market guy in the Big Apple and the fans would love nothing more than to see their guys beat him and beat him well. Steve Francis probably won't play tonight but even if he doesn't, it won't make a difference. As much as the attention will be on Lebron in this game, his counterpart Quentin Richardson has been on fire the last three games and he should give him a run for his money tonight. The Knicks are scoring 99.0 points per game this season and seeing that the Cavs allow 93.0 points per game, I don't see why the Knicks can't press the issue and keep up with this team. The Knicks have done a great job getting the ball inside to Eddy Curry and Channing Frye and they are going to the line 22.6 times per game this season. The positive part about that is that they hit 73.8% of their free throws. Cleveland struggles badly when opposing teams can grab offensive rebounds and the Knicks can do exactly that. The key for tonight's game is to have everyone crashing the boards and getting second efforts because the Cavs love to offer them up. Marbury does tend to get careless once in a while but he should be up for this game. The Knicks are getting 32.9 points per game from their bench and they definitely have the advantage when it comes to second unit quality in this game. I like the Knicks a lot in this spot because they haven't won at home yet this season. They beat the Cavs here last year and went 3-0 ATS against the in all three meetings of last season.
I think a lot of public bettors are going to blindly take the Cavs in this game because they are just that...LEBRON JAMES AND THE CAVS. It's a mistake because Lebron never plays all that well under the spotlight of the Big Apple where he is always busy with other stuff like autograph signings and commercial shoots. The Knicks have played a lot better than the odds are showing and they are due for a win at home. The Knicks are the smart play in this game.
Trend of the Game:
The underdog is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings.
New York 99, Cleveland 98