Friday night brings us the final two games of the NBA Play-In Tournament, including an exciting showdown in the Eastern Conference between the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Hawks are looking to get back to the playoffs after making a surprise run to the Eastern Conference Finals last year, while the Cavs are eyeing their first postseason appearance since LeBron James skipped town after the 2018 NBA Finals.
Which team will come out on top in this Eastern Conference showdown? Let’s dig in with our Hawks vs Cavaliers predictions and best bets.
Cavaliers vs Hawks Odds
All NBA Play-In Tournament odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook and current as of Thursday, April 14, at 3 p.m. ET.
- Moneyline: Cavaliers (+125), Hawks (-145)
- Spread: Cavaliers +2.5 (-110), Hawks -2.5 (-110)
- Over/Under: Over 223 (-110) / Under 223 (-110)
- Implied Score: Hawks 112.75, Cavaliers 110.25
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Cavaliers vs Hawks Prediction
This game is a classic matchup between a great offense and a great defense. Atlanta ranked sixth in scoring this year with 113.9 points per game, while Cleveland surrendered the fifth-fewest points at 105.7 per game.
The Hawks are built around Trae Young, who followed up last year’s postseason heroics by averaging 28.4 points per game during the regular season. He’s the lynchpin of an efficient offense that ranked second in three-point percentage, fourth in free-throw percentage, seventh in field-goal percentage, and had the fewest turnovers in the NBA.
The Cavs don’t have anyone on Young’s level, although they do have a young, up-and-coming roster led by breakout star Darius Garland. While Cleveland lacks Atlanta’s offensive firepower, their depth and elite defense makes them dangerous.
While the Cavaliers have the slightly better record (by one game) and have home-court advantage here, the Hawks have valuable playoff experience from last year that could give them the edge in this win-or-go-home game. With momentum on Atlanta’s side as well, look for them to emerge victorious and advance to the first round of the playoffs.
Cavaliers vs Hawks Score Pick
Hawks 118, Cavaliers 113
Atlanta beat Cleveland in three of their four regular-season matchups this year, including the three most recent ones. Their last game at the end of March was especially lopsided, as the Hawks won by 24.
The score should be closer this time around, but Atlanta appears to have the edge in this matchup and should prevail, especially if Young comes up big during crunch time.
Cavaliers vs Hawks Best Bets
Hawks Cover -2.5 Spread (-110)
WAGER: 1 Unit
Atlanta is simply playing better basketball right now. The Hawks are on a roll after winning 13 of their last 18 games, including a 29-point blowout win over the Charlotte Hornets in the first play-in game. The Cavs, on the other hand, have lost nine of their last 12 games, including their first play-in game against the Brooklyn Nets.
If Atlanta’s going to win, it will likely be a comfortable margin. Only two of their last 11 wins have been by fewer than nine points, including three straight victories by 15+. They’ve also beaten Cleveland by at least three points in their last three matchups, making this my NBA bet of the day.
Cavaliers vs Hawks: OVER 223 Total Points (-110)
WAGER: 1 Unit
The last three games between these two teams have all gone way over this total, finishing between 238 and 240 points. Atlanta has an explosive offense that has scored at least 118 points in seven of its last nine games and is coming off back-to-back games with 130+.
Cleveland’s defense has been a mess lately, allowing at least 115 points in six of its last eight games, including the last four in a row. If the Hawks shoot as well as they normally do — especially from downtown — the final score is going to be well above this total.
Cavaliers vs Hawks Parlay
Best Same-Game Parlay (+264)
WAGER: 1 Unit
- Hawks -2.5 (-110)
- Over 223 Total Points (-110)
Given my confidence level in both of the bets above, I’m going to combine them into a same-game parlay to give us a shot at a higher payout. Based on how both teams have played lately as well as against each other this year, the Hawks winning a high-scoring game by at least three points seems like the most likely outcome.