The banged-up Cleveland Cavaliers head to State Farm Arena to face off against the Atlanta Hawks in NBA action on Thursday night.
NBA betting lines opened with the Hawks as 5-point home favorites for this matchup before shifting to -5.5.
Here are our best free NBA picks and predictions for Cavaliers vs. Hawks on March 31, with tipoff at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Cavaliers vs Hawks odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
This line hit the board with the Hawks at -5 and the Over/Under at 220.5. Early money has come in on Atlanta and the Over, shifting the line to Atlanta -5.5 while the total has surged all the way to 225.5.
When these sides previously clashed on February 15, the Hawks won 124-116 as 2.5-point home favorites.
Cavaliers vs Hawks predictions
Predictions made on 3/31/2022 at 9:15 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Cavaliers vs Hawks game info
• Location: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA
• Date: Thursday, March 31, 2022
• Tip-off: 7:30 p.m. ET
• TV: Bally Sports Southeast, Bally Sports Ohio
Cavaliers vs Hawks betting preview
Cavaliers: Evan Mobley C (Out), Jarrett Allen C (Out), Rajon Rondo PG (Questionable), Collin Sexton PG (Out), Dean Wade F (Out).
Hawks: Danilo Gallinari F (Questionable), Skylar Mays SG (Questionable), John Collins PF (Questionable).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Cavaliers are 0-6 ATS in their last six games overall. Find more NBA betting trends for Cavaliers vs. Hawks.
Cavaliers vs Hawks picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
The Cleveland Cavaliers had been one of the biggest surprises in the NBA this season, boasting a 35-21 record and a league-best 34-20-1 ATS mark by February 11. A big reason for their turnaround was their thriving twin towers of first-time All-Star Jarrett Allen and Rookie of the Year favorite Evan Mobley.
Unfortunately, Allen has been out since March 6 with a broken finger and Mobley joined him on the sidelines earlier this week with an ankle sprain. That adds to the injuries woes for Cleveland who had starting guard Collin Sexton suffer a season-ending injury in November and also lost key reserves Rajon Rondo and Dean Wade within the last few weeks.
The Cavs have just four wins in their last 11 games (2-8-1 ATS during that span) with a pair of those victories coming in overtime and the other two coming against the league's worst teams in the Magic and Pistons. Now they face off against a Hawks team that is no stranger to injuries themselves but is 3-0 straight up and ATS in its last three games, most recently beating the Thunder 136-118 on the road last night.
Second-leading scorer John Collins and Danilo Gallinari are the biggest names currently sidelined for Atlanta but they don't seem to be missing them offensively. The Hawks are sixth in the league in both scoring (113.5 points per game) and field goal percentage (46.9%) and have seen those numbers surge to 129.7 ppg on 53.4% shooting in their last three games.
That's bad news for a Cavs team that was fourth in the league in defensive rating (106.5 points allowed per 100 possessions) before Allen's injury and is 23rd since (117 points per 100 possessions). That defense will be even worse without Mobley which we saw last night when they surrendered 120 points on 52 percent shooting to the Mavericks.
Without Mobley and Allen, the Cavs could also struggle on the glass against Atlanta big men Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu. With the Cavs going 1-5 ATS in their last six games as a road dog and the Hawks 13-6 ATS in their previous 19 contests at home, we'll eat the chalk with the home side.
Prediction: Hawks -5.5 (-110 at bet365)
The Cavs will really miss their twin towers on defense but they still have several guys that can get buckets. Darius Garland (21.6 ppg), Caris LeVert (17.4 ppg), and Lauri Markkanen (14.6 ppg) can all fill up the hoop and will be taking on a Hawks side that is 26th in the league in defensive rating.
That said, Atlanta is second in the league in offensive rating and should be able to put up plenty of points of its own. Led by point guard Trae Young (28.1 points, 9.6 assists per game), the Hawks have the lowest turnover rate in the NBA and shoot a sizzling 37.3% from beyond the arc — the second-best mark in the league.
With the Over 9-1 in Atlanta's last 10 games against teams with a winning record and Cleveland 5-1-1 O/U in its previous seven road contests, we're backing the Over here.
Prediction: Over 225.5 (-110 at DraftKings)
It's never a good feeling to settle for the worst of a number and obviously getting the Over 220.5 when it hit the board at 1:00 in the morning would have been ideal, but there's lots of reason to still like the Over here.
Both of these teams can score, the Hawks can't defend, and the Cavs haven't been able to defend without Allen and Mobley.
Add in the betting trends which all point towards the Over and two sides that could be a little lazier on the defensive end of the floor playing on a back-to-back and we'll still bet the Over at 225.5.
Pick: Over 225.5 (-110 at DraftKings)
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