The Cleveland Cavaliers will look to finish stronger than they did in their first-round playoff series opener when they host the Indiana Pacers as home favorites for Game 2 on Monday. The Cavaliers gave the Pacers a chance to win Game 1 at the buzzer, but CJ Miles missed a 14-footer after taking a pass from Paul George in the final seconds.
Point spread: The Cavaliers opened as 7.5-point favorites; the total is at 210, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
Why the Pacers can cover the spread
Saturday's 109-108 Game 1 setback was more frustrating than anything for Indiana as George didn't get the ball back from Miles to take the final shot after he was initially double-teamed and forced to give it up.
However, the Pacers still proved they will fight until the bitter end in improving to 10-2 against the spread in the past 12 meetings with Cleveland, according to the OddsShark NBA Database. The last thing Cleveland wants is a difficult series in the first round to hurt the team's confidence, and Indiana is game.
Why the Cavaliers can cover the spread
The Cavs were covering the spread in the fourth quarter of Game 1 at the 8:34 mark when the Pacers started coming back. They were even up nine at 103-94 with 6:54 remaining but saw Indiana score 11 straight points to go up 105-103 with 3:31 left.
The fact that they nearly lost at home should motivate Cleveland, especially star LeBron James, who scored a game-high 32 points and dished out a game-high 13 assists. James made six of his nine attempts at the free-throw line too as his team struggled overall in shooting 51.9 percent from the charity stripe (14 of 27). The Cavs can do much better.
Smart betting pick
George needs to be careful not to alienate his teammates after he was visibly upset because he did not get the opportunity to take the potential game-winning shot for the Pacers. Meanwhile, Cleveland dodged a bullet and must improve its defensive play in order to avoid this becoming a long series. Look for the Cavs to bounce back with a great all-around performance here, winning by double digits to cover the spread at sports betting sites.
NBA betting trends
Indiana is 5-0 ATS in its last five games.
The total has gone over in each of Indiana's last five games on the road.
The total has gone over in six of Cleveland's last seven games at home.
All NBA lines and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.