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The 5-seed New York Knicks (1-1) claimed home-court advantage in this series after stealing Game 1 at the 4-seed Cleveland Cavaliers (1-1) on the road. Cleveland rallied back with a 107-90 beat down of NYK in Game 2 to even the series.
Knicks-Cavaliers head to the World’s Most Famous Arena — Madison Square Garden — for Game 3. Cleveland has a +6.5 points-per-game (PPG) differential in this series but New York is winning three of the “four factors”.
Cavaliers All-Star Donovan Mitchell is proving why he was the most sought after trade candidate this past offseason. Mitchell is scoring a series-best 27.5 PPG, dishing a series-high 7.5 assists and has a +26 net rating.
The Knicks are 4-2 straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) vs. the Cavaliers in 2022-23, and their totals are 2-4 Over/Under (O/U), including the postseason.
Cavaliers At Knicks, Game 3 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
- Tip-off: 8:30 p.m. ET on Friday, April 21st.
- Venue: Madison Square Garden.
If I was forced to pick a side in this full game, I’d bet NYK on the moneyline. MSG will be rocking Friday and Cleveland is 3-13 SU as a road’ dog this season with a -3.8 SU margin.
However, I think the Knicks come out and set the tone early. As a NYK fan, I’ve seen them jump out to massive early leads only to stumble down the stretch due to playing too much iso-ball.
But, during the regular season, the Knicks are 25-5-1 ATS at home in the 1st quarter with a +19.3% return on investment (ROI). The Cavs were 19-21-1 ATS in the 1st quarter on the road with a -8.8% ROI.
NYK is out-scoring the Cavs 30.2-29.0 PPG in the 1st quarter in their six meetings this season. BET KNICKS 1ST-QUARTER MONEYLINE (-130) at DraftKings.
Cleveland vs. New York Total (211.5)
Aside from Knicks backup wing Josh Hart, NYK’s offense has been dreadful through the 1st two games of this series. Hart is scoring 11.0 PPG on 78.6% effective field goal shooting (.714/.667) and grabbing 7.0 rebounds.
In fact, the Knicks have the worst offensive rating in non-garbage time in the playoffs, including the four play-in teams that got eliminated, according to CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG).
Yet the public thinks this will be a get-right game for New York’s offense since it’s a home game. The Knicks are 20-9 O/U as a home favorite this season with a +9.5 O/U margin.
Also, styles make fights and the Knicks-Cavaliers scream: “UNDER”. Cleveland played the slowest pace in the NBA during the regular season and New York were 25th in pace. Their series is the 2nd-slowest in these playoffs.
The most successful aspects of both offenses in this series has been drawing fouls. The Knicks are 3rd in offensive free-throw rate (FTr) in the postseason and the Cavs are 5th. But, that could be off the table for Game 3.
The assigned officiating crew for Knicks-Cavaliers Game 3 has a combined 98-138 O/U record this season, which is 58.5% to the Under. Plus New York was 8th in defensive FTr during the regular season and Cleveland was 2nd, per CTG.
BET: UNDER 211.5 in Cavaliers at Knicks Game 3 at DraftKings, down to 210
Listen to the ‘OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark’ podcast HERE.
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