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The Cleveland Cavaliers suffered a loss at home in Game 1 of their first-round series against the New York Knicks. That makes tonight's Game 2 a crucial matchup for Cavs, who must travel to New York afterward for the next phase of the series. I’m diving back into this series to put together some NBA picks and parlays for Game 2.

Julius Randle fought his way back from an ankle injury to play in the postseason opener and turned out to be a key inspiration for the Knicks early in Game 1. He finished with a double-double on 19 points and 10 rebounds, and New York’s Jalen Brunson stepped up in the second half in his faceoff with Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell.

Mitchell did what he has always done in the playoffs and took over as his team’s primary scorer -- dropping 38 points with eight rebounds and five assists. However, it wasn’t enough for the Cavs, and the disappointing 101-97 loss could prove detrimental for them if they don’t quickly even up the series tonight.

Cleveland knows the dangers of losing tonight's game. Going on the road to face the Knicks down 0-2 would be the worst possible scenario in which they could find themselves. With that desperation in mind, let's build an NBA same-game parlay for Game 2 of the Cavs-Knicks series.

Knicks vs Cavaliers Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under – NBA Playoffs Betting Lines 4/18

Moneyline: New York Knicks (+200), Cleveland Cavaliers (-200)
Spread: New York Knicks +5.5 (-120), Cleveland Cavaliers -5.5 (-110)
Total: Over/Under 213.5 points

Knicks vs Cavaliers Injury Report

Josh Hart could be a major loss for the Knicks in Game 2, since the guard is currently listed as doubtful with an ankle sprain. He was instrumental in Game 1, scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds off the bench. He had five offensive rebounds on his way to the double-double and finished the game as the Knicks’ third-highest scorer.

If Hart doesn’t play, the Knicks will use a combination of Quentin Grimes and Immanuel Quickley to make up for his minutes. Hart played 33 minutes in Game 1

Knicks vs Cavaliers Prediction

The final score aside, these two teams were quite evenly matched in the opener. This series has the makings of an instant classic if it goes to six or seven games.

The Cavs know that can only happen if they deliver in this must-win game on their home court tonight. Cleveland was 31-10 at home during the regular season, but their 20-21 road record could be a concern as they head to New York.

Donovan Mitchell had no trouble shooting the basketball in Game 1, but he’s going to need some help. He took 30 shots in the game, shooting 6-for-16 from 3-point range in his 38-point performance. Nobody else on Cleveland’s roster took more than 13 shots, and the Knicks’ ability to keep Evan Mobley quiet was a factor in the game.

Mobley scored just eight points on 4-for-13 shooting. Without his hoped-for contribution, the Cavs fell short of 100 total points. The Knicks were more aggressive in rebounding at both ends of the floor -- grabbing 17 offensive rebounds and 34 defensive rebounds, compared to the Cavs’ 11 and 27.

In a close series with extremely tight margins between winning and losing, it can all come down to how teams crash the boards and fight for offensive rebounds. Josh Hart had five offensive rebounds off the bench, and Mitchell Robinson had another five, as none of the Cavs players were able to keep up with their hustle on the boards.

One of Cleveland’s other key issues in Game 1 was a lack of discipline that resulted in points for New York. Darius Garland lost the basketball too many times for someone performing in a playoff game -- giving up easy points off early turnovers. That’s something the young guard needs to tidy up for the teams’ second head-to-head meeting tonight.

Ultimately, Cleveland had to be disappointed with its performance over the weekend. The Knicks entered with a strategic plan, which they successfully executed to make it tough for the Cavs. Tonight, I expect the home team to take more control of the game from the start and establish its position instead of starting slow and struggling to catch up.

Best NBA Same Game Parlay Picks Today for Knicks vs Cavaliers - NBA Playoffs Game 2: Four-Leg Parlay Picks (+750)

Donovan Mitchell 3-Pointers Made

We went with this betting line in the first game, and Donovan Mitchell crushed the 4+ that first time around.

Mitchell has now hit five or more threes in four of his last five games, including the 6-for-16 performance in Game 1. He is the clear volume shooter for the Cavs. As I predicted, the Knicks’ prowess in closing down easy looks inside resulted in a higher volume of 3-point attempts for Cleveland’s All-Star guard.

The Knicks are not going to allow easy looks around the basket for the Cavs’ big men, so Cleveland needs to figure a way around that. One of those options is for Mitchell to continue high-volume shooting, so I’m very comfortable with the 4+ threes again tonight at -215 for this game’s NBA parlays and picks.

If you want to boost the odds of this parlay, you could take Mitchell for 5+ threes at +105.

Leg-1 SGP Pick: Donovan Mitchell Over 4 threes made (-215)

Julius Randle Rebounding Total

The Cavs need to be more aggressive on the glass at both ends of the floor. Offensively, Evan Mobley should make a stronger effort to crash the boards and challenge the Knicks with increased intensity. Additionally, both Mobley and Jarrett Allen need to box out the Knicks on the defensive end to avoid losing the turnover battle in back-to-back games.

Julius Randle had 10 rebounds in the opener. Reducing his production will be key for Cleveland tonight. While Randle might still be very active on the boards, I’m betting on the Knicks forward coming out of this game with under 9.5 rebounds.

Leg-2 SGP Pick: Julius Randle Under 9.5 Rebounds (-170)

Jalen Brunson Scoring Total

Jalen Brunson scored 27 points in 30 minutes of Game 1 after facing foul trouble that limited his playing time for the majority of the first half.

Brunson picked up two first-quarter fouls that resulted in an early seat on the bench. I expect to see him get closer to 37 or 38 minutes in Game 2.

Assuming Josh Hart's ankle will be a limiting factor even if he is able to play, Brunson is likely to get more playing time, which brings a chance to take additional shots and score more points tonight. Brunson's exceptional performance in the second half of Game 1, where his aggressive approach and midrange pull-up caused issues for the Cavs, indicates his potential Game 2 impact.

I have Brunson clearing the 25.5-point line tonight, adding a nice boost to these NBA same-game parlay predictions at +110 odds.

Leg-3 SGP Pick: Jalen Brunson Over 25.5 Points (+110)

Handicap - Spread Bet

After seeing how Game 1 played out -- and how evenly matched these teams are -- I’m stunned to see the betting line once again set in the Cavs’ favor at 5.5 points. While I believe Cleveland should edge New York in this one and even up the series on the moneyline, doing it by six or more points in a very tightly contested game feels like a stretch.

As one of the league's stronger road teams, the Knicks put up a solid performance in Game 1 and exceeded expectations. I think they cover once again here, just as we predicted they would in the series opener.

Leg-4 SGP Pick: New York Knicks +5.5 (-115)

Odds are subject to change*

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