Cleveland Cavaliers favored to defeat New York Knicks in opening round

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Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) shoots against New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (55) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 31, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

This weekend is the official start of the 2023 NBA Playoffs, and the Cleveland Cavaliers enter the postseason with plenty of expectations.

Cleveland finished fourth in the Eastern Conference and will have home-court advantage in the opening round against the New York Knicks. Game 1 between the Cavs (51-31) and Knicks (47-35) is set to begin at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

The Cavs are priced at -205 via FanDuel Sportsbook to win this opening-round series against the Knicks, meaning they have an implied probability of 67.2% to advance to the next round. The Knicks are valued at +172 to win the series at FanDuel, which gives them a 36.8% chance of claiming a first-round victory.

FanDuel offers plenty of other series-related markets that are worth looking into before Saturday’s action. Cleveland’s series spread of -1.5 is priced at +104, which means this team would have to win before Game 7 to cash this ticket. New York’s series spread of +1.5 has a -128 vig.

As for the total games in this series, it appears oddsmakers believe this has a chance to go the distance. Seven games is the favorite at +190, followed by six games (+210), five games (+230), and four games (+600) entering this weekend.

In FanDuel’s correct series score market, Cleveland to win 4-1 is actually the favorite at +310. The Cavs to win 4-3 is +350, while their 4-2 victory is being offered at +390. All of New York’s correct series score props are listed at 5/1 or longer.

Prior to Saturday, fans should also consider betting on the Game 1/Series parlay tab at FanDuel. Cleveland to win both the opener and the series is being offered at -135, which is the favorite in this market. No other option has better than 4/1 odds.

Cleveland is a 6-point favorite over New York for Game 1, with the home team having a money-line price of -235. The total has been set at 214.5, which is currently the lowest mark for this weekend’s games.

What’s interesting is that the Knicks actually got the better of the Cavaliers during the four-game regular-season series. New York won three of those matchups after dropping the first meeting in October.

The Knicks were underdogs in each meeting with the Cavaliers, coming away with a 130-116 road win in their last showdown on March 31. The totals went 2-2, though all four lines were listed at 220 or higher.

During the regular season, Cleveland went 44-36-4 against the spread and 42-40 to the under. New York posted a 44-34-4 ATS clip with a 44-37-1 record to the over. 

The Cavs went 23-15-1 ATS as a home favorite in the regular season and would like to come through once again on Saturday to help set the tone for the series.

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