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Cavaliers at Nets – NBA Play-In Tournament Picks, Predictions and Best Bets

Cavaliers at Nets – NBA Play-In Tournament Picks, Predictions and Best Bets

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Cleveland Cavaliers at Brooklyn Nets

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Barclays Center, Wednesday 13th April, 9:00am (AEST)

Two teams that were not expected to factor in this play-in tournament kick start the series, as the Brooklyn Nets host the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

The winner will lock up the #7 seed and earn the right to take on the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs. The loser will get a second bite of the cherry, hosting the winner of the Hawks/Pelicans showdown.

These sides met only a few days ago, with the Nets managing a 118-107 victory. With the teams more than likely being the same, it is a difficult game to handicap, with the numbers being similar to the closing numbers of Saturday’s clash. 

The Nets closed 8.5-point favourites in that game and are currently 8.5-point favourites again. The total has come down, closing at 232.5 on Saturday, with the total for this match currently sitting at 228.5.

The market I am most interested in is the total, given the sharp number on the side. The total is down 4 points from the last meeting on Saturday, and the under has been bet on. I agree with this move, as I see this match playing out in one of two ways. 

If the Nets can skip out to a quick lead and hold it through half time, the Cavaliers are going to start thinking about the potential of having a second play-in match in a few days, one in which they must win, or their season is over. In this instance, it is conceivable the Cavs rest their starters early, which will lower the likelihood of both teams running up the scoring. 

The other likely scenario is this is a tight contest through at least 3 quarters, meaning the final quarter will surely be played at a slow pace. Given the significance that each possession will attract, the likelihood of the offense holding the ball for longer is heightened, as the need for taking good shots increases. Thus, scoring for both teams should be lower than usual.

In terms of the side, I lean the Cavaliers at +8.5, however believe the number could get higher so it could be a wait until the last minute before betting. The Cavaliers led by 5 heading into the 4th quarter on Saturday, so have shown they can compete with this version of the Nets for extended periods of time.

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