It was a quite day in the NBA on Tuesday, as only three teams took the floor. The notable result was Utah storming back to improve to 11-2 SU/ATS in its last 13 games. The Jazz have been incredible, and they are back in action tonight against a scuffling Dallas team.
Onward to a loaded slate of games tonight!
Note: * indicates that team is on second leg of a back-to-back.
Updated injury reports can be found here
Detroit at Cleveland (-2.5, 215)
This is a big litmus test for the Cavaliers tonight. J.B. Bickerstaff has this team playing very good basketball, but the legitimacy of the leap in Cleveland should be questioned. The Cavaliers are 4-1 ATS over their last five heading into Wednesday night, but under the surface of that run is a defense that has been buckling despite the eighth-ranked efficiency mark in the league.
Over the course of this five-game run Cleveland has allowed 1.165 points per possession; a far cry from the defense that had them off to this solid start. Now, four of their contests have been against the Lakers, Celtics and Nets which would inflate anybody’s defensive rating. However, I’ve had questions about how good this team can be on that end of the floor, and seeing this unit buckle like that against top-10 offenses is a sign there is some fraudulence when it comes to their defense.
Tonight is a test to see if the improvement in Cleveland is real. They struggled the last four games against legitimate offenses, but tonight comes the 20th-ranked offense in the Pistons (1.085). Detroit also allows 1.121 points per possession on defense, a matchup that should be exploitable for a Cleveland team that has averaged 1.134 points per possession since Collin Sexton returned from injury.
The opening number seems somewhat low given where the Pistons are as a team right now (1-4 SU/2-2-1 ATS in its last five), and it’s not surprising to see the market get to Cavaliers (-3.5). However, given the defensive struggles Cleveland has shown I’m not ready to run in and lay these points as the market could be overvaluing their prowess.
- Detroit is 8-3-1 ATS against the Eastern Conference this season.
- Detroit is 6-1 to the over on the road this season.
Sacramento at Orlando (-1, 221.5)