With a win tonight over the Atlanta Hawks, the Cleveland Cavaliers will enter some pretty unfamiliar territory.
The last time that the Cavs made the
NBA playoffs without LeBron James was 24 years ago, when the Cavs, led by Shawn Kemp, Wesley Person, and rookie Zydrunas Ilgauskas, lost to the Indiana Pacers in the first round.
In LeBron’s 11 seasons with the Cavs, they made the playoffs nine times–the final five seasons of his first stint in Cleveland and each of the four seasons of his second stint.
But this is the closest they have come to making the playoffs without him, and they will be aiming to uphold the trend of home success thus far in the
NBA Play-in Tournament. However, the Cavs will be in the rare position of being a home underdog for tonight’s matchup. Atlanta Hawks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers 2022 NBA Play-In Tournament Game Betting Odds and Matchup Information Matchup Information Game Matchup: Atlanta Hawks (43-39, 9th in the Eastern Conference) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (44-38, 8th in the Eastern Conference) Venue & Location: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse (Cleveland, Ohio) Date: Friday, April 15, 2022 Time: 7:30 p.m. ET How to Watch the Hawks vs. Cavs Play-In Game: ESPN Hawks vs. Cavs Betting Odds FanDuel Sportsbook Spread: Atlanta Hawks -2 (-110), Cleveland Cavaliers +2 (-110) Total: OVER 222.5 (-110), UNDER 222.5 (-110) Moneyline: Atlanta Hawks -130, Cleveland Cavaliers +110 Caesars Sportsbook Spread: Atlanta Hawks -2 (-110), Cleveland Cavaliers +2 (-110) Total: OVER 223 (-110), UNDER 223 (-110) Moneyline: Atlanta Hawks -135, Cleveland Cavaliers +115 BetRivers Spread: Atlanta Hawks -2 (-109), Cleveland Cavaliers +2 (-112) Total: OVER 223 (-110), UNDER 223 (-110) Moneyline: Atlanta Hawks -125, Cleveland Cavaliers +106 Allen Aiming to Return for Crucial Clash in Cleveland
Center Jarrett Allen has been a major part of the Cavs’ success this season, but the NBA All-Star big man has been absent for over a month due to a fractured finger.
But there is hope that he could make his return to action against the Hawks, as Allen has been upgraded to questionable in the latest injury report.
More often than not, when a player is upgraded to questionable after being out for multiple game, it’s more of a “yes” than a “maybe” as to their status. So, the status change is a good sign for Allen, and it could also be a good sign for the Cavs and their chances to advance to a first-round matchup with the top-seeded Miami Heat.
Cleveland Cavaliers with and Without Jarrett Allen This Season (SU W-L Records) With Allen, overall: 35-21 Without Allen, overall: 9-18 With Allen, at home: 18-9 Without Allen, at home: 7-7
That includes Tuesday night’s 115-108 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, in which Cleveland trailed by 20 after the first quarter but made a valiant rally to make things interesting in the fourth quarter.
Allen may well not have made a result-altering difference against his former team, but as in their loss in Brooklyn last Friday, the Cavs were outrebounded.
Not having a guy in there who averages 10.8 rebounds per game and is one of the league’s top offensive rebounders is a big void that is not easily filled, and when the Hawks have the league’s fourth-leading rebounder in Clint Capela (11.9 RPG), Allen’s availability would be huge.
The Cavs have been a much more successful team at home than on the road this season, and they have been much more successful at home with Allen than without him. In 27 home games with Allen, Cleveland is 18-9. In 14 home games without him, they are only 7-7.
When home teams have been so successful thus far in the NBA Play-In Tournament’s existence, those surface numbers aren’t to be overlooked, especially given that the Hawks are just 16-25 SU and 14-27 ATS on the road this season.
However, while the Hawks have not been great on the road, they have not been horrible as a road favorite, going 10-7 SU and 8-9 ATS in that spot. And in last season’s run to the Eastern Conference finals, Atlanta won six of ten road games in the postseason.
Hawks vs. Cavs Prediction and Best Bets Prediction: Cavs 117, Hawks 112 Best Bets: Cavs +2 (-110 at FanDuel Sportsbook and Caesars Sportsbook) & OVER 222.5 (-110 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
The Hawks were certainly impressive in their 29-point win over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, and they won three of four regular season meetings with the Cavs.
But sometimes, you have to ride a trend until the wheels fall off when the numbers are as skewed as they are. In ten NBA Play-In Tournament games, the home team has won nine times.
This is the first time that the road team has been favored in a Play-In Tournament game, and thus far, favorites are 6-4 ATS. So, in that regard, the numbers do favor the Hawks. But home energy has been key time and again, and in a tight game, that home energy can help turn the game in the home team’s favor.
Look for that to be the case tonight as the Cavs, Allen or no Allen, will finally get to experience a playoff series sans LeBron.
Best Prop Bet for Hawks vs. Cavs: Darius Garland OVER 34.5 Points + Assists (-120 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
The Cavs’ comeback came up short against the Nets, but Garland certainly did all he could, scoring 34 points (13-24 FG, 3-6 3PT, 5-6 FT) and dishing out five assists, hitting the over on his points + assists total as a result. Back to the well we go tonight.
In 22 games since the All-Star break, Garland has had over 34.5 points + assists 12 times. In games that he has come up short, he had 34 in two games, 33 once, and 32 once, so you have to like the total and the value here.