Cleveland Cavaliers at New York Knicks (-12, 217.5)
The Knicks are poised for some serious revenge to start the weekend.
The Cavaliers stunned the Knicks 115-109 last week in Ohio, taking away all the momentum New York had gained since upsetting the Heat in the prior game. Cleveland won the game by controlling the paint and playing physical. The Cavaliers made a whopping 31-of-44 free throws and held a 62-42 edge on rebounds.
But this time will be a little different.
The Cavaliers will be missing Antawn Jamison (finger), the team’s leading scorer who went off for 28 points and 13 boards with no turnovers in the victory. Cleveland also is expected to give some burn to the recently acquired Baron Davis for the first time in this game. For a player known to stop trying on bad teams, this isn’t necessarily a good thing.
The Knicks, meanwhile, are coming off a 107-88 beatdown of the Hornets and are playing more consistently. The team may miss lead guard Chauncey Billups (thigh), but Toney Douglas has been serviceable as his replacement in small doses, finishing with 24 points, five assists and four rebounds in the win over New Orleans.
"I talked to him this morning," Billups said of Douglas. "I told him, 'Try not to defer so much to the guys. When you call a plan, just run it no matter what people say or what you might feel. Be in command out there.’
"And I know it's probably tough for him as a young player playing with those studs like that, guys that are alpha males. So I know it's a difficult position for him, but I told him, 'Be confident in what you do.'"
Pick: New York
Pennsylvania Quakers at Harvard Crimson (-10.5)
There’s no denying Harvard is one of the top teams in the Ivy League this year. But the Crimson aren’t that great as a large favorite.
When listed as double-digit chalk this season, Harvard is a less-than-impressive 3-4 ATS, including late home rallies against Yale and Dartmouth just to pull out the wins. And the Quakers love being big underdogs.
Penn is a staggering 3-1 ATS this season when getting more than 10 points and actually trailed Kentucky by just a point at halftime in a game at Rupp Arena earlier this season. The Quakers may be just 4-9 SU on the road, but the squad is a very solid 7-5 ATS in lined games away from Philadelphia this season.
"We always talk about some days the ball is going in the basket, and some days it's not," said Penn coach Jerome Allen floor. "But if you're consistent in your defensive effort, you always give yourself a chance to win."
In the teams’ earlier meeting, Harvard left the Palestra with a one-point overtime win. But the officiating in that game was so poor that league officials were forced to comment on it the following day.
Plus, it’s not like the Crimson are in rare form. Harvard is coming off a disappointing 70-69 loss at Yale that saw the team favored by six points. Overall, the Crimson are just 2-4 ATS in their past six as favorites.