New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers March 31 Betting Preview
With just 10 days left in the NBA regular season, teams are in desperation mode. When it comes to the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers, both of them are in the playoffs, and will more than likely play each other in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
However, they both have the opportunity to move up or move down in the playoff standings. These two will meet on Friday night at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, as the Eastern Conference foes will battle in Cleveland in a potential playoff matchup.
These two teams have met twice this season, with the Knicks winning each of the first two matchups. New York won 92-81 in early December, and then again in late January by a score of 105-103, both low-scoring affairs. Both of these games were in New York, so keep that in mind.
We will now preview both teams, and then we’ll give you our best betting predictions for this key matchup in the Eastern Conference.
New York Knicks
Early in the season, Tom Thibodeau was on the hot seat in New York. However, the Knicks came to life, and are now a contender in the East. With a 44-33 record, the Knicks are a solid playoff team. They currently are sitting in fifth place in the East, 2.5 games ahead of the sixth-place Brooklyn Nets, and 3.5 games behind the fourth-place Cavs.
Although the Knicks are coming off of a big victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night, they did have a big loss in that game. New York’s leading scorer, Julius Randle, left the game early with a sprained ankle. Randle has been ruled out for the next two weeks, so this will really hurt the Knicks offensive output.
The loss of Randle will be big, but the Knicks did get Jalen Brunson back on Wednesday night. Brunson had missed multiple games prior to Wednesday with a hand injury, but it looks as though he’ll be ready to play for the remainder of the season.
Cleveland is still in play for the #3 spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but they’re going to need a lot to happen to get to that spot. In order to get there, they’ll need to beat the Knicks on Friday night. With just five games remaining on their schedule, Cleveland will more than likely need to win out to get there, and need the Sixers to tumble.
The Cavs have the best defense in the NBA, and now they’ll see a Knicks team who will likely be without their leading scorer. Cleveland’s perimeter defense is suspect, so we anticipate Jalen Brunson having a big game for the Knicks. Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell are both very good scorers, but below-average defenders.
The Cavaliers are 3.5-point favorites in Friday night’s contest. The over/under is set at 220.5 We look for big things from Jalen Brunson. We like the Cavs to win the game and cover the spread, and we also like the under in this one.
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