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Bet on the NBANow that the New York Knicks have vastly upped the talent of their program, their odds for making the playoffs just got that much better. With Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups coming from Denver to join Amare Stoudemire in New York, many of the pieces are in place for a very strong Knicks team, one which may rival the other elite teams in the Eastern Conference in a year or two.

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On the other hand, no one expects much from the Cleveland Cavaliers this season. After losing star LeBron James over the summer to the Miami Heat, the Cavs have been experiencing an unbelievably bad year in the NBA. But as bad as they are, they can still surprise teams, pulling out the most unexpected wins here and there.

So when these two teams meet at Madison Square Garden at 7:30 PM EST on Friday night, who knows what could happen? Although the Knicks are favored to win, they are playing with greater stakes right now. Cleveland knows that their year ends with the final game of the regular season, but the Knicks have to pull off every win they can to get as good of a position in the playoffs as possible.

It is when good teams start taking nights off that the Cavaliers find a new level to play at. Take the loss the Los Angeles Lakers experienced at the hands of Cleveland in late February before the All-Star Break. If the Knicks decide to rest a bit and take it easy against the Cavs, they may realize that Cleveland can be a dangerous team.

Cleveland has also been playing well against the spread recently, losing only 2 out of their last 10 games from February 2 through February 25. They only won 3 of those games outright, but they are playing more consistently against the numbers. And Cleveland went over the total in 9 out of the 10 total games.


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