Find season-long NBA odds on the Betway sportsbook. You'll find all the latest spreads, totals, money lines, and parlays. Missed tip-off? No problem, Betway also offers live betting. All your NBA playoff betting needs are covered in our online sportsbook.

Visit Betway’s NBA playoff predictions page for the best insights, analysis, and picks on parlays, props, SGP, and more.

Cavaliers vs Knicks Playoffs Series Preview, Predictions & Picks  

TV/Radio Host, Anthony Lima: First of all, home court advantage: Does that mean anything in this series, knowing how good the Knicks are on the road but how good the Cavs have been at home? 

Joe Vardon, NBA writer for The Athletic : Yeah, and the Cavs stink on the road. So let's start with that.

I think the headliner in this series is Donovan Mitchell. He thought he was going to the Knicks. By all rights, he should have been going to the Knicks. The Knicks ultimately couldn't get that done. They wouldn't pony up what the Utah Jazz were looking for in late summer. Donovan ends up in Cleveland, and in my opinion, he just changes everything for this franchise. It was a team that had made some strides last year, fell off late, and up until the Donovan Mitchell trade, we were coming back with really no differences in an East that had gotten a lot better. Mitchell shows up. He has the game of the year by all accounts, with 71 points. He makes them way more dynamic on offense. He's brought a certain confidence and a certain attitude to the way they play. He's on my ballot as a first-teamer for all NBA because of the impact that he had.

I think the Cavs won five or six more games in the regular season than they did last year, and he was their only addition. So you can look and say that he was worth the six wins. So I think you start there. He's from New York, Greater New York. He will be motivated to beat his hometown team. He loved LeBron when LeBron came to Cleveland. And so he understands the history, but he also knows that he has a chance to be the author of his own Cavs chapter. And he already did that with the 71 points, however many games that he had. I think it was 11 or 12 that he scored 40 or more that, you know, that hadn't been done here. So he's writing it. He wants to continue to write it. And beating the Knicks in the first round will be the next step there. 

Anthony Lima: The Knicks are an underdog in this series with the Cavs -215. Neither team with a lot of actual playoff experience. So how big of a factor do you think that will be in this series? 

Jason Lloyd, Senior Columnist for the Athletic: Yeah, both teams have to rely on their veterans. And for the Cavs that means Donovan. Obviously, as Joe was saying, this team goes where Donovan and Darius take them.

They've been guard dominant all year long and those two have the ball in their hands on almost every possession. And you know the other guy, I've been saying it for weeks now, I really think Danny Green's going to have a big role in this series for the Cavs. He's a guy who has hardly played at all... (They) wanted him for his veteran experience, his ability to shoot and I just think you can't play four-on-five in a playoff series when the game slows down. The Cavs played a slow place to begin with and that grinds even slower in a playoff series. We all know that everything really turns into halfcourt sets and if you have a guy in the corner who the other team doesn't respect, and I'm talking about Isaac Okoro. Of course, had a great year for the Cavs shooting the ball, but teams still don't respect him enough to guard him. And too often they're playing four-on-five on the offensive end of the floor and it's going to be too hard to score that way. So I absolutely think Danny could play a big role in being able to just be a threat out there that the Knicks have to be aware of and know where he's at on the floor at all times.

I do think the Cavs being so young, being untested, being the fact that this is their real first playoff experience, you know? How will they handle that hostile environment, how do they handle something like the Garden? I think it's unrealistic to think that they're going to hold serve and win four games at home. I just think the Knicks are probably going to steal the win in Cleveland. And now you have to go to the Garden and win. We saw it with Boston a couple of years ago when a Cavs team, and I think outside of LeBron, the talent on this team I think is better than what the Cavs had in 2018. But you saw a team with a lot of young guys really struggle. In an environment like in Boston, they lost the first three road games and then they relied heavily on LeBron, obviously in Game seven to pull them through. And you could have a similar type scenario here where if you got to go to the Garden to win a game, that's where Donovan is really going to have to deliver for this team on the road in a hostile environment.

This is the first time a serious Garland gets to react to a playoff setting. How's Evan Mobley going to react with the ball in his hands? So there are a lot of unknowns on both sides. The Cavs to me, though, are the more talented team. I do think they're more talented. But, I don't know how you don't give the coaching edge to New York right now at this point just because it's Tom Thibodeau. He's one of the best defensive-minded coaches in the league, and JB just hasn't been there before. I would argue that you could have said the same thing, though, in 2016 when it was Ty Lue against Stan Van Gundy with the Cavs in the first round, and everyone would have given the nod to Stan Van Gundy and Ty Lue was spectacular and that's what we need to see out of J.B. Bickerstaff. That's what I'm curious to see. How does he handle after timeout situations coming out of a timeout when you've got to have it. You're on the road and the Knicks just scored eight straight. You call a timeout now: what're your inbounds play? Where are you going to go to and what's going to get you a basket to quiet down the crowd to kill the momentum, to get you back on board? That's the type of stuff that we have to see. JB has never been in that position, and so this is a real test for him, not only for the players but also for him. 

Anthony Lima: Alright but gun to the head, you got to make a choice. Are you going with the home team? Is that going to be the edge in a potential game seven for the Cavs? 

Jason Lloyd: I think it's going seven. I think it's going six or seven. Like it's going to be a grind of a series. It's hard for me to pick this. It's really, really, really close. I guess I would give the edge to the Cavs because they would be at home for that game seven if it gets to seven. But boy, is it close. Like I don't have a good feeling about this either way. I don't. I think the Knicks are a really hard matchup for the Cavs in the first round, and I guess I would take them since they're the home team in a Game seven. But to me, this is a coin flip. This is probably, I think, the tightest series of all the first-round matchups. 

Joe Vardon: There are two significant injuries in this series. Isaac Okoro hasn't played in weeks because of a knee issue. And in fact, the last time the Cavs saw the Knicks, Okoro wasn't on the floor and Jalen Brunson lit them up without him. So if Isaac can't play at all because they need... Jason's right. He is an offensive liability, but they are shredded when he's not out there on defense at all. So you know, we don't know how healthy he's going to be. And then the Knicks best player or their second-best player or best player one day, Julius Randle also hasn't played in a couple of weeks because of a severe ankle sprain He practiced today. He didn't take any contact. I expect that he'll be out there, but those are two pretty big wildcards. I do like the Cavs in this series. I actually say I'm going to say it's a six-game series, which of course means it could go seven. But I just think the Cavs are a little bit more talented. They have the best player in the series and they have that extra game at home. 

Anthony Lima: And I'm with you, Joe. I think Cavs in six. They better win Game 1. We say it all the time, big playoff series. But all that pressure would, of course, be right squarely on the backs of a very young, inexperienced Cavs team. We remember what happened with Jalen Brunson when he was in Dallas just a year ago, outplaying Donovan Mitchell over the course of the series when Luka Doncic was dealing with an injury. So they can't let that happen. Cavs cannot get stung there in game one, but I think they'll be okay and I think that home court will serve well, but they will close it out on the road in Game six in New York. 

The Picks: 

Jason Lloyd: Series Total Games - Cleveland Cavaliers - New York Knicks - Series: Over 6.5 (+200)

Joe Vardon: Total Number of Games - Cleveland Cavaliers - New York Knicks - Series: 6 Games (+210)

Anthony Lima: Total Number of Games - Cleveland Cavaliers - New York Knicks - Series: 6 Games (+210)

Series Winner: Cleveland Cavaliers -223 

NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs Picture 2023: Predictions, Matchups, Sleepers, Props, and Conference Final Picks   

Anthony Lima: We know that the Boston Celtics got off to a great start to kick things off. We know that Milwaukee did not have Khris Middleton for most of the year. Then he came back and he has hobbled again and still doesn't seem 100% healthy. But Giannis getting to the playoffs. And then of course we know about Philadelphia having a terrific year and Joel Embiid most likely winning the MVP. Jason, I'll start with you: Who is your sleeper team in the East, and is that even possible to have a sleeper team come out of the East given everybody is either penciled in Boston, Milwaukee and maybe a few have penciled in Joel Embiid in the Philadelphia 76ers? 

Jason Lloyd: Yeah, I don't think it's a sleeper. I like Boston to win it all this year. I thought they should have won it last year. The one wild card: we talk about J.B. Bickerstaff being a rookie head coach and going through this for the first time. You could say the same thing about Boston and Joe Missoula. And again, coaching matters so much in the NBA playoffs. And in those moments where you’ve got to draw up a play, where you got to have it, where they take away your number one, your number one weapon, where else do you have to go? But I just think Boston's wings, how athletic and interchangeable they are and probably the experience of getting there last year and not getting it done. I think this is the year that they do it. Giannis is the best player in the East. Boston to me is the best team in the East and I think Boston wins it. 

Anthony Lima: Joe, a sleeper, is there a potential of that even coming out of the East? 

Joe Vardon: If you consider Philadelphia a sleeper then sure. I mean the Sixers are as deep or close and about as good I think, in several aspects, as either of the top two contenders. You consider James Harden to be probably an all-time great, and Joel Embiid to this point in his career has been a dominant player when healthy. They have P.J. Tucker, they have Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey is a really fun upcoming young player. But then when you start considering track records, you know James Harden shrinks in the playoffs. Is that going to happen now? Doc Rivers, he won one title with Boston a number of years ago but he struggled in the playoffs. Joel Embiid his body usually breaks down in the playoffs. So it's “Can this team that's so deep can they get past the track record?”

I am concerned about Khris Middleton. In the last game that the Bucks cared about at all, last week Middleton was removed from the game with knee soreness. His bad leg last year wrecked their playoff hopes and they are a different team without him. He is why they were able to win the ‘21 championship with how good he was in the conference finals against the Hawks and kept the ship afloat while Giannis dealt with an injury. They need him and he's not 100% so that opens the door for a sleeper like the Sixers. Also, I agree with Jason in a lot of ways. I love Boston. I think they're a great team. I don't know about should they have won it last year? I thought you know, kind of like the Warriors did in ‘15 to Cleveland, the Warriors figured out that series and shut down, you know, Tatum and Brown or maybe made it a lot harder for them in Games five and six. But I think they come back stronger. So in the event that Khris Middleton's leg is no good, then, yeah, you certainly look to Boston. 

The Pick: Eastern Conference Winner 2022-23: Boston Celtics +150

NBA Western Conference Playoffs Picture 2023: Predictions, Matchups, Sleepers, Props, and Conference Final Picks   

Anthony Lima: So let's get over to the West where I want to talk to you, Jason Lloyd, about your sleeper team because you have already mentioned the Los Angeles Lakers and we know that LeBron's missed 27 games. Anthony Davis has missed 26, their record 17-9 since they traded Russell Westbrook. We're talking about a team that is no stranger to championship aspirations. They've come through in the past. Do you think they could go through that gantlet and stay healthy enough because that is the big factor there and getting all the way? 

Jason Lloyd: Yeah, I don't think the West is actually that much of a gauntlet. And you know, LeBron has said throughout his career “I don't care about seeding, records don't matter. Just get me in and I'll handle the rest.” Now, that was prime LeBron, you know, four, five, six years ago when he would talk like that. But this will be the ultimate test of that because I do think they could run the table in the West. Memphis, obviously, we know about the problems that they've had with James and some of the off-court issues and just the uncertainty of that season of that whole franchise, really. And Denver is the number one seed. Obviously, Nikola Jokic is worthy of where he's at. Could be a three-time MVP. Fantastic player. But I don't look at that as a team that L.A. can't beat really the team that I think could give them the most problems in the West is Phoenix, quite frankly. So I do think of L.A. if you're looking for a wild card team if you're looking for a team that could run the table in surprise. I don't know how much a team that has LeBron James on it could be considered a surprise. But given where they're at in the Play-in tournament, where they're starting from, I absolutely think that they could be a team that goes on a deep run here 

Anthony Lima: Joe, he mentioned Phoenix. They won ten straight when Kevin Durant is actually in the lineup and Kevin Durant has been so good this year. If you combine his records with both when he's actually on the floor with the Phoenix Suns and the Brooklyn Nets, he has won 21 of 22 games. But is there enough chemistry there? Could you see Phoenix coming out of the Western Conference? 

Joe Vardon: Oh, absolutely. I mean, this is a strange, bold statement I'm about to make. But when he is on the floor, Kevin Durant is probably still the best player in the NBA or is the best player in the NBA, but he doesn't get that moniker at all because he never plays. He played in 47 games this year, but I don't think the Suns have lost when they have him actually in uniform on the floor. Add that to Devin Booker, Chris Paul and DeAndre Ayton. They were able to acquire Durant without trading him so they are deep. They are good. They are very good. So I think that's an obstacle.

Another obstacle in the Laker's way. And it's hilarious to say that, we're talking about obstacles for a seventh-place team, but the Clippers under Ty Lue have beaten the Lakers 11 consecutive games. Ty, who of course, was LeBron coach in Cleveland when they won it all, knows how to draw up a game plan to--you don't stop LeBron, but to mitigate the resources around him, that would be who the Lakers would see in a Western Conference finals. Either the Clippers, the Suns, or the Nuggets. Assuming the Nuggets get past the first round, which we think they will. The Nuggets remind me of the Hawks in 2015 and then also the Heat last year and the Hawks were dumped easily in the second round that year by the Cavs and LeBron just tore them up.

The Heat are a little different, though. The Heat were basically wire-to-wire first-place team last year give or take. They spent a long time in first place last year winning as the number one seed, got no respect whatsoever, and were one shot away from going to the finals.

The Nuggets have dominated the Western Conference this year. Dominated it. They are much healthier than they've ever been with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. They have Kentavious Caldwell-pope who has entirely changed them. He is a three and D wing. He has won a title with the Lakers. He can be that gritty physical defender that they've lacked and they are getting absolutely no, no respect. So I think we need to stop and consider that this second-round matchup, I'll say it's between the Suns and the Nuggets, I think that's going to be a hell of a series. And you know, there's a chance that that, that the Nuggets are right there at the Western Conference finals. 

Anthony Lima: I guess crystallize your pick then to get out of the Western Conference. And we know a lot of parity right now in that conference. You just don't know who's going to be healthy enough to get through that journey, which we know can be such an obstacle for certain guys at this stage of the game. So what do you got?Joe Vardon: I've got the Suns. I'm definitely with Jason that the Lakers could do this, but I'm just concerned about Anthony Davis and staying healthy for that long. And so I feel better about Durant's just in a playoffs playoff setting so I will go with the Suns and Jason. 

Jason Lloyd: Oh, I've talked up the Lakers so much and I'm going to drop them at the altar. I like the Lakers to get to the conference finals, though I do think L.A. can get there. I don't think none of those teams really scare me. Not even Golden State, Memphis, you know, I think they can handle those teams. But I do think Memphis probably is just a little bit too deep and too talented. Memphis, I'm sorry. Phoenix takes them in the conference finals, but I like Phoenix-Lakers Western Conference finals.

Anthony Lima: And I'll say Golden State. I just think while Wiggins is going to have some rust, they're going to have some rust over the next few weeks. They just have to get past Sacramento. Sacramento's not been tested. It's been a great year by Mike Brown in the Kings, but I do think the Warriors have the better setup to actually being able to get to the Western Conference finals. And once they're there, I mean, who's picking against Steph Curry in a best-of-seven? I mean, you could argue Steph Curry is having the best season of his career right now at this age. And I just think their system, the way it's set up, they've coasted all year. They haven't even bothered to pretend to be engaged on the road. That all changes once the playoffs start. And I think a healthy Wiggins is going to be a big deal by the time we get to the Western Conference finals, Wiggins will be in midseason form. So I am going with the Golden State Warriors.  

The Western Conference Winner Picks:

Joe Vardon: Western Conference Winner 2022-23: Phoenix Suns +187 

Jason Lloyd: Western Conference Winner 2022-23: Phoenix Suns +187

Anthony Lima: Western Conference Winner 2022-23: Golden Warriors +300 

NBA Finals 2023: Predictions, Picks and MVP AwardAnthony Lima: And so you guys matched them up on both sides of the bracket. Jason Lloyd, recap your two teams and talk about the potential matchup, what that could mean in the NBA finals this year? 

Jason Lloyd: I got Boston against Phoenix. I like the Celtics to win it all. I just- I'll take the team that to me is a little bit better defensively, could switch on anything, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, obviously Marcus Smart. The only question for me is how will Joe Missoula handle his first run, his first postseason run? And there will be moments where Boston's got to have it from their head coach and more than maybe any other sport, I think coaching matters in the playoffs in the NBA more than the NFL, in baseball and hockey. And it's where guys can really make their mark and really make a difference. I like the Celtics to win it. I thought they should have won it last year and I think they get it done this year. 

Anthony Lima: They have been almost unbeatable when Robert Williams is actually on the floor. They're like two different teams when he is there and when he's not. So how big of a factor could that be? Because you brought up the defense, they can switch every screen. They really get out on it. They can be physical. And again, I think the Celtics, you know, with their great record, I feel like they kind of coasted at times through the season with their new head coach. 

Jason Lloyd: Well, you could say about every team in the NBA, every team coast. It's the 82-game curse at this point where, you know, teams play hard for about 5 minutes tonight and for about six weeks during the season. And that's about it. And you could say every team has their moments where they just coast. That doesn't really bother me. Nobody's coaching at this point. 

Anthony Lima: Give us- I know it's very far out, but people are going to want to know because they want that juice. They want to be able to take advantage. Your MVP of that potential NBA finals lay all on the line right now Jason? 

Jason Lloyd: Oh to be Jayson Tatum Tatum in the Celtics victory. 

Anthony Lima: Listen, Tatum was maybe one of the frontrunners in the first month of the season for NBA MVP. Things kind of faded at times during the year. He kind of lost his shot. But I think that is a really, really good pick and one that if you could somehow get a future on that right now, you'd be good. Joe recap your teams going to the NBA finals and I think that matchup will play out. 

Joe Vardon: Well, I want to start by saying that up to this point before we talk about who's going to win the finals that Jason and I had actually been in lockstep. Now, he and I are very good friends. We've been close for a long time, but we did not talk about this at all. No, there has been no coordination whatsoever. We spend a lot of our days working on different things. So these are two totally different angles that we're coming from. And we see it the same. We both have Boston getting through in the East, and we both have the Phoenix Suns getting through in the West. But as I'm sitting here and I'm thinking this through as far as what happens in a finals between those two. Anthony, as you said, when Robert Williams is on the floor, the Celtics are awesome. It is because they can switch one through five, not one through four, one through five. And the other reason, along with Williams being so good at that, is that the decision by former coach Emma Udoka last year to start Marcus Smart at point guard unlocked their pressure defense unlike virtually anything that we've seen in the modern era and the way they can blitz, the way they can do all the different things with Marcus Smart out there is truly scary. But here we are assuming that Kevin Durant is healthy and leading a Suns team in the finals.

In the finals, there's no player currently in the NBA, not even LeBron, which is almost blasphemous for me to say, but there's no one I would rather have than a healthy Kevin Durant. I watched him put Team USA on his back at the Tokyo Olympics in a game that they should have lost to France. They didn't lose because Kevin willed them through. He is the best player in any situation that he's in, so long as he is healthy. And so if I'm going to put these two teams on the floor together at the same time and I'm acknowledging that the Phoenix Suns are no pushover as is, and complementary players like Devin Booker alongside him, if given the chance, I think Durant would find a way to get it done. So, it's not a perfect science by any stretch, but I'm going to split with my good friend here and I will say the Suns get it done behind Durant. 

Anthony Lima: Even though I teased before saying if Philly could make it, I do not think Philly ends up getting to the NBA finals. So I'll go with both of you. I do think the Boston Celtics are coming out. I just cannot trust the Milwaukee Bucks and their situation outside of Giannis and I have them, you know, going up in the NBA finals against the Golden State Warriors. And this time I do think they exact a revenge and I do think it is going to be Jayson Tatum able to pull it out and get the NBA MVP. I think it'll be a dogfight of the series, but I just think that added edge of having to taste defeat, we remember how that worked out of the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs and what happened when the Spurs went on their revenge tour and they dissected that LeBron, Wade, Bosh led Heat team. It was so bad that LeBron ended up leaving and going back to Cleveland. So in this case, I don't know if that'll send the Golden State Warriors into a tizzy and force them to make some tough decisions on Draymond Green and maybe Klay Thompson, but it will have some reverberations. And I think that in the end, it'll be the Boston Celtics holding the Larry O'Brien trophy. 

NBA Finals Winner Picks:

Jason Lloyd: NBA Championship Winner 2022-23: Boston Celtics +300

Joe Vardon: NBA Championship Winner 2022-23: Phoenix Suns +450

Anthony Lima: NBA Championship Winner 2022-23: Boston Celtics +300

NBA Finals MVP Picks:

Jason Lloyd & Anthony Lima: NBA Finals MVP 2023: Jayson Tatum +425

Joe Vardon: NBA Finals MVP 2023: Kevin Durant +600

WELCOME OFFER: Earn up to $250 on bonus bets with your first wager. Download Betway Sportsbook today!

NBA Awards 2022-23 Predictions and Picks: ROY, DPOY and MVP 

Anthony Lima: We go over the awards and some of these are going to be very interesting. Let's start with you, Joe Vardon, the Rookie of the Year. People thought this was going to be a runaway with Banchero for a while. And then Jalen Williams, one of the two, Jalen Williams out of Oklahoma City, and obviously Walker Kessler starting to get a little bit of momentum. But is it enough? Banchero is a huge, huge favorite for Rookie of the Year right now. 

Joe Vardon: No, it's Banchero. I don't mean to be so dismissive, but he's going to win. 

Jason Lloyd: Yeah. This is decided. It feels to be like by January the rookie year race was over. 

Anthony Lima: Defensive Player of the Year. Now, this is interesting because if you would have said Evan Mobley a month ago, Jason, I think people around the NBA would be like, “What?” The Cavs were not on national television a bunch. Some of the metrics, some of the advanced metrics, while the Cavs do have the number one defense in the NBA, did not have Evan Mobley at the very top. And part of it was they have another big-time rim protector. Obviously, that got a lot of love. The Cavs were actually pushing for Jarrett Allen in the first two months of the year for Defensive Player of the Year. Now, is there enough momentum for Evan Mobley to be able to steal this award as a sophomore, which would be an incredible accomplishment? 

Jason Lloyd: Well, my guy over there has a vote and voted for Mobley. And yeah, I think that there's I think there's a real chance that that happens. You know, you mentioned Jared Allen. It's interesting because Jared is sort of like a temple to everything that the Cavs do. And in the games where Jarrett misses, it just feels like everything comes crashing down. So that would bode well for a case for Jarrett Allen for Defensive Player of the Year. But I like the Mobley pick. I think it's deserving. I did not have a vote. If I did, I probably would have voted for Evan. Just his ability to guard multiple positions, his body control, even last year as a rookie, the way that he could control his body and the way that he can alter shots, the way he can block shots without fouling just a real weapon in a force. And a huge reason why the Cavs do have the best offensive team in the league and I think it's all going to go up from here. Like, you know, when they drafted him, I thought he was a potential number one, a future number one on a championship-caliber team. And it's so hard to find guys like that. And, you know, would you like him to make more threes offensively? Yes, of course. And maybe eventually that will come. But in terms of his game now, you've heard the comparisons to Chris Bosh. I think that's accurate. Bosh was a great defensive player. I think Mobley is a fantastic defensive player and he's only going to get better. You know, it's only his second year in the league and you put the two of them together. The Cavs already have Jarrett Allen locked up long-term and they have him and Mobley together. They do feed off each other. Now, ultimately will Jarrett Allen cannibalize some of the votes from Evan? Perhaps. But if you watch him play night in and night out and you watch the way that he can change the game defensively. Yeah, my pick for defensive player of the year, there's a lot of worthy people. You know Draymond Green obviously is in the conversation. Brook Lopez to me is in the conversation. Jaren Jackson from Memphis hasn't played a ton but another terrific player averaging over I think three blocks a game when he's out there. But for me, and not just because I'm in Cleveland, Evan Mobley would be my pick. 

Anthony Lima: Joel Embiid, did he lock that in the last month of the year? 

Joe Vardon: This is going to be wild, Anthony. I've seen some ballots. I know who I voted for. I've seen four or five other ones and all three guys were getting votes, including Giannis. I know two people who voted for him... Joel number one. He wins followed by Joker followed by Giannis. But it's going to be close. 

Jason Lloyd: I don't know how you can go- I don't know how you can argue any of them. Whoever wins this award, you'll be upset if it's not your guy, if it's not the bet that you placed. But I don't know how you could dispute whoever it is and be it Joker, Giannis, Embiid. All of them are worthy. All of them have great cases and they're all fantastic players. This could be the closest vote that certainly I can remember. Maybe the closest in history.