NBA Playoffs Betting Preview
Atlanta Hawks at Cleveland Cavaliers
Tuesday, 8:00PM Eastern
Betus.com betting line – Cleveland -11.5, O/U 179.5
Game 1 Conference Semi-finals
The Cleveland Cavaliers swept the Detroit Pistons in 4 games putting just another notch on their impeccable resume this season. Cleveland remained extremely dominant at home winning the two games over the Pistons by a combined 30 points. The Cavaliers will put their home court advantage to the test once again this Tuesday night when they host the Atlanta Hawks in Game 1 of the Conference Semi-Finals. Atlanta is fresh off a hard fought 7 games series with the Miami Heat. The opening round series was back and forth the entire way. Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 27 points in Game 7 to lift them to a strong 91-78 victory over the Heat and into a meeting with the heavy favored Cleveland Cavaliers. Atlanta has lost 3 out of 4 games to the Cavaliers already this season, but they did win one game in Atlanta and only lost by one point the 2nd meeting at home. The Hawks lost a 6 point battle in the most recent trip to Cleveland on back in late March and will be fairly sizeable underdogs when they take the floor on Tuesday night.
Cleveland has looked very strong thus far through playoff action. The Cavaliers are also expected to play extremely tough at home like they have all season hence the 11.5 point favorites. Lebron James led all scoring efforts in the previous 4 games against the Pistons. James averaged 32 points per game to lead the Cleveland scoring attack. James also averaged 26 points per game in the previous 4 meetings with Atlanta and it is safe to say that the Hawks need to limit his scoring opportunities. Despite an off night in Game 3 against Detroit, point guard Mo Williams has been stellar through the 2nd half of the season including the playoffs as well. Williams scored just below 20 points per game outside of Game 3 where he only managed to score 2 points in 42 minutes of play. Williams play has been a big key to Cleveland success to take some of the energy and focus off of James. Cleveland of course is big favorites to win the series, but believe they will need center Zydrunas Ilgauskas to be a bit more effective than he was in the opening series mainly on the boards. However like we have said all season, for any team to beat the Cavaliers in a series means they will have to find a way to win in Cleveland.
Atlanta momentum from their 7 game series can work one of two ways. One way is that they come out strong catching Cleveland off-guard since they have been resting up over the last few days. Or Atlanta may come out on tired legs, and Cleveland could come out dominate with the fresh legs. Take a pick on what you think will happen, but keep in mind that the unexpected seems to always happen in the post-season before you write off the Hawks. Atlanta is the same teams that come on very strong last season taking the eventual NBA Champion Boston Celtics to 7 games. Joe Johnson averaged 21.4 points this season and knocked home 17 points on average through the opening series with Miami. Add to the fact that Josh Smith, Mike Bibby, and Marvin Williams all have the ability to make a difference in the series. Smith had one fairly poor performance in Game 6, but was solid throughout the series in general. Atlanta is a lot like Cleveland in their style of play. Both teams generally tend to score lower totals, and rely on defense to control the pace of game. The only difference is in this series is that they will be playing a much tougher team than Miami.
Pick – Over 179.5