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NBA Play-In Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers vs Atlanta Hawks Betting Picks, Odds, & Predictions April 15th

<p>AP Photos</p>

AP Photos

Cleveland Cavaliers Moneyline+131
Atlanta Hawks Moneyline-145
Cleveland Cavaliers Spread+3
Atlanta Hawks Spread-3
Cavaliers/Hawks Game Total223
Game Date & TimeFri Apr 15th, 7:30PM ET
Odds via OddsJam Perfect Line

For the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs, we have the Cleveland Cavaliers battling the Atlanta Hawks for the 8 seed. As the higher seed, the Cavaliers will be at home for this game. The game is being played on Friday, April 15th at 7:30PM ET.

The Cavs find themselves here after they were unable to beat the Nets in their first play-in game, so now have to win this game in order to make the playoffs. The Hawks, on the other hand, are here after a win against the Hornets in the other play-in game.

In somewhat surprising fashion, the Hawks are the favorite here. I say this is somewhat surprising because the home teams have gone 4-0 so far to start the play-in games. The Hawks, of course, are the away team.

Looking at the odds, the Hawks are favored by 3 points, with the over/under at 223. The unders have also gone 4-0 in the 4 play-in games so far. So, where does the betting value lie? Let’s get into it.

Starting with the Cavs, their fans probably have mixed feelings about being the 8 seed and in danger of missing the playoffs entirely after losing to the Nets in their first play-in game.

Of course, there is no shame in losing to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, and if you go off of pre-season expectations Cavs fans have to be thrilled.

But, with that said, the Cavs were so good this season and only fell off recently due to injuries that it’s hard not to be disappointed to have dropped all the way to 8th.

The Cavs were a top 4 seed for the majority of the season, but a broken finger for Jarrett Allen and a sprained ankle for Evan Mobley caused both to miss time, and the Cavs struggled as a result. They limped to the finish line, finishing 3-7 in their last 10, and 8-13 in their last 21.

A fully healthy Cavs team is still a force to be reckoned with, though. They are led by a trio of the two aforementioned big men Allen and Mobley, and rising superstar Darius Garland. They also have key pieces in veteran Kevin Love, sharp-shooting big man Lauri Markkanen, and young Isaac Okoro.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we are going to get that fully healthy version of the Cavs for this game. Allen missed the game against the Nets and is considered 50/50 to play against the Hawks. The guess here is that he won’t suit up for this one.

Looking at the other side of the court, the Hawks have had a disappointing season this year. They took the Bucks to 6 in the Eastern Conference Finals, and a lot of people (including yours truly) thought they would take a step forward in this regular season. You see this happen a ton in sports, with teams using a successful playoff run and carrying that success into the following season.

That did not play out for the Hawks, though. They finished this year 43-39 and 14th in Net Rating. Last year, they finished 41-31 (Covid shortened season) and 11th in Net Rating.

Looking at the roster specifically, I was expecting Trae Young to have a season worthy of being in the MVP conversation, but instead he was merely great, as opposed to elite.

He finished the season averaging 28.4 points, 9.7 assists, and 3.7 rebounds per game on 35.5% shooting from deep. The real problem with the Hawks is none of their other young talent stepped up, and some even regressed.

The highest profile member of the Hawks who regressed was John Collins. He went from averaging over 21.5 points in 2019-2020 to 17.6 last year, and this year he was down to 16.3. Counting stats were down, and also visually you could tell something was up.

There were whispers before the trade deadline that he was unhappy with his role and that he was a potential trade target, but nothing materialized. If the Hawks want to go on another playoff run, let alone even make the playoffs, they are going to need him to step up.

At least the Hawks looked better to end the season, and specifically in the play-in game against the Hornets. They dominated that game pretty much from the jump, and I expect them to continue this hot play. I am going with the favorite in the Hawks moneyline on this one.

The Hawks are 3-1 against the Cavs this year, and I just have a little more faith in them to get to another gear. The Cavs haven’t been the same team since Allen and Mobley went down, and even though they have Mobley back they still haven’t been able to get their form back.

So, I’ll ride with the Hawks here.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Atlanta Hawks Pick:

My official NBA betting pick is to take the Hawks moneyline. I bet this at -127 on BetRivers Sportsbook.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Atlanta Hawks Prediction:

My prediction for this game is that the Hawks win 117-113.

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