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May 26, 2015 (Posted at 5:00 PM ET)

Tonight's pick is another 2% wager.

Sports Profit System is 80-59 in NBA and currently 5-4 in MLB! Seasonal results are all that matter.

We have no doubt that baseball will prove to be just as lucrative as NFL and NBA!

Take Cleveland Cavaliers at -7 spread (buy half a point) against Atlanta Hawks risking 2%.

We correctly predicted that the Hawks would put in a solid effort to keep things close in Game 3 but tonight is a different story. Atlanta was up 4 points with just a little over a minute to go and somehow broke down defensively allowing Cleveland to tie the game in regulation. That alone had to be a devastating blow to Atlanta. Not only did the Hawks let the win in regulation slip away, but they ultimately managed to allow Cleveland to win the game in overtime. The fact that the Cavaliers somehow managed to win that game sealed their faith. Because of the manner in which Atlanta lost Game 3; we find it hard to believe that they will mentally recover from that so quickly and be at their best tonight. That was an emotionally draining defeat and we expect that the Hawks players will likely come out somewhat deflated and flat in this contest which will likely prove costly against a team that has shown their ability to dominate the physical aspect of the game like the Cavs have been able to do thus far in the series. 

Atlanta has been crushed on the glass in this series and it's unlikely that will change for this contest. The Cavaliers have been the bigger and more physical team when it comes to grabbing rebounds and we saw just how much more they appear to "want" this series as young guys like Matthew Dellavedova are winning the scrambles and going after loose balls. It's that type of enthusiasm and drive that has been lacking from Atlanta in this series. The Hawks haven't been winning those types of battles this series and at times already seem mentally defeated. After the way they lost Game 3, we don't expect that to change tonight. Our database shows that good NBA teams (high winning %) off a loss as an underdog in which they covered the spread against another good NBA team are just 43-84 since 1997, which shows that it's hard for teams to bounce back in the following game which will likely be the case tonight. 

A big reason why the Hawks managed to keep Game 3 competitive was the fact that Cleveland allowed Jeff Teague to dictate the flow of the Hawks offense. Teague was able to do basically whatever he wanted on offense with little resistance from the Cav defenders. We don't expect that to be the case tonight. Coach David Blatt will likely make adjustments in his defense in order to contain Teague in this contest forcing him to pass the ball to one of the many Hawks players who are currently dealing with nagging injuries. Carroll, Millsap, Horford, each one of these guys is dealing with an injury which has been hampering their production in this series. As we stated, Cleveland has been playing a physical style of basketball and even a team that is at full strength would be hard pressed to stop them. With their major role players playing at less than 100%, we feel that is simply too much of a hurddle for the Hawks to overcome tonight. Atlanta also got to the free throw line 32 times in Game 3 which is more than they managed in both Games 1 & 2; something that we don’t expect to see again in this contest. Lastly, the 3-ball had also finally started to fall for the Hawks which tells us that Cleveland slacked off in their perimeter defense. The Hawks are a quality shooting team but now that Cleveland had a real scare, we expect them to make the necessary adjustments and get back to playing stifling defense! 

Game 3 was a fairly tough situation for Cleveland to be in as it was their first game back at Quicken Loans Arena after an extended road trip. Let's not forget that the Cavs had closed their series out in Chicago before travelling to play Atlanta in the first two rounds of this series. It had been a while since Cleveland had played on their home court and it has been historically proven that teams often struggle in their first game back at home after a long road trip. With this being the second game at home tonight we do expect them to be much more comfortable playing in front of their home crowd and will use their energy to close out the series. 

Cleveland could also give themselves a huge advantage by ending this series tonight. A win tonight would likely give them nearly a full week off to rest players and heal injuries prior to entering the NBA Finals. That would be a huge benefit since this would allow them to be the much more rested team and prepare them to play the winner from the Western conference. Kyrie Irving has been a player who has been dealing with a leg injury nearly all series and he is going to be needed at close to full strength if the Cavaliers want to have a shot of claiming the championship. 

We all saw LeBron James record an incredible Triple-Double! He certainly as his eyes on the prize and is showing everyone now why he is the best player in the league. Very few people can guard a player like James, let alone guard him when he is at his best, which is where he is now. James is focused and that becomes dangerous for the Hawks tonight. We also feel that the public perception has now changed. Yes the Cavaliers managed to get the win but many believe Atlanta should have won that game and are live underdogs tonight. We don't feel that is the case anymore. Game 3 was a different situation and one in which the underdog was the correct play but that has passed This is a contest that favors the home side as they will do everything to ensure the series ends and avoid an unnecessary trip to Atlanta. Clubs that are coming off a close home win (3 points or less) involving two top teams are 49-6 over the past 2 decades! If Atlanta comes out flat as they are likely to, Cleveland should find a way to separate themselves on the scoreboard and barring a late backdoor cover willl do enough to cover this number.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Atlanta is 16-32 ATS in road playoff games.
  • Cleveland is 4-2 ATS when leading in a playoff series this season.
  • Cleveland is 20-13 ATS vs. good offensive teams in the second half of the season!

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