The Cleveland Cavaliers look to continue their early-season success when they travel to the Big Easy to take on the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night.
Cleveland heads to this game with seven wins in their last eight games played. The Cavs saw their six-game winning streak end against the Celtics right before Christmas but the Cavs bounced back in their first game after the holidays by blowing out the Toronto Raptors by 45 points.
The Pelicans are still trying to find success this season. Zion Williamson is still out but after a miserable start, the Pelicans are a decent 6-4 SU in their last 10 games played. Although New Orleans lost to the OKC Thunder in their last game played, they won four straight games before that behind the strong play of Brandon Ingram.
Darius Garland and Kevin Love each scored 22 points as the Cavaliers routed a depleted Toronto Raptors team last Sunday. Garland also issued eight assists while Lauri Markkanen added 20 as the Cavs won for the fifth straight time at home and did so with their largest winning margin of the season.
The Cavs rank second in the league in scoring defense at only 101.4 points per game allowed. They are 16th in the league in scoring at 107.9 points per game this season. Cleveland is also 12th in rebounding at 45.5 boards grabbed per contest and 7th in passing at 25.5 assists per game.
The Pelicans’ four-game winning streak ended against the OKC Thunder the last time out. Top scorer Brandon Ingram suffered an Achilles injury and is doubtful to play on Tuesday. Without Ingram, Josh Hart led the Pelicans with 29 points while Garrett Temple added 22. Devonte Graham, Jaxson Hayes, and Herbert Jones each put up 15 points.
The Pelicans are scoring just 105.0 points per game this season, 26th overall in the NBA. They are 4th in the league in rebounding at 46.7 boards grabbed per contest and 10th in passing at 24.6 assists per game. New Orleans is 22nd in scoring defense at 109.6 points per game allowed.
The Cavs are 7-1 SU in their last eight games played. Cleveland is 10-6 SU in16 road games played this season, and 4-1 SU in their last five games against the Western Conference.
The Pelicans are 4-1 SU in their last five games played. New Orleans is 6-9 SU in 15 home games played this season but 4-1 SU in their last five games against the Eastern Conference.
Head to head, the Pelicans are 8-2 SU in their last 10 games played against the Cavaliers. New Orleans is also 10-0 SU in their last 10 home games against Cleveland.
The Pelicans have dominated this head-to-head match-up in recent games. However, note that this is the first meeting between these two teams this season and that there’s a big difference between the two teams this year and in the previous years.
New Orleans is still without Zion Williamson while the Cavaliers are one of the biggest surprises of the season. The Pelicans have picked up the pace in recent games but still, they have not been consistent enough to get back on track. Meanwhile, the Cavs have been consistently good this season and are one of the top teams in the East right now.
Cleveland will be without big men Allen and Mobley but they are a team that doesn’t rely on one or two players. With Garland, Love, Markkanen providing the veteran leadership, the Cavs have more than enough weapons to topple the Pelicans.
Prediction: Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland is 15-1 ATS in their last 16 games played. The Cavs are 6-1 ATS in their last 10 games played on the road, 4-0 ATS in their last four games against an opponent with a winning percentage below .400, 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games after a straight-up win of more than 10 points, 24-4 ATS in their last 28 games when their opponent scores 100 or more points in their previous game, 13-3 ATS in their last 16 game after a straight-up win, and 21-5 ATS in their last 26 games after an ATS win.
New Orleans is 5-5 ATS in their last 10 games played. The Pelicans are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 home games, 4-1 ATS in their last five games against the Eastern Conference, 5-2 ATS in their last seven games after an ATS loss, 5-2 ATS in their last seven games against an opponent with a winning straight up record, 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games when their opponent scores 100 or more points in their previous game, and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games when playing on one day rest.
Head to head, New Orleans is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 meetings against Cleveland. The Pelicans are also 6-1 ATS in their last seven meetings in New Orleans.
Make no mistake, the Pelicans have been decent against the spread all season long and have been very good against in their recent games. However, they are facing a Cleveland team that is the best ATS team in the NBA this year.
The Cavs have covered the betting spread consistently this season, whether favorites o underdogs and whether they win games or not. At 26-6-1 ATS, no team has a higher cover rate than the Cavs.
Of course, we have to factor in the absences of Mobley and Allen in this game but if you look at the spread, it’s just four points and the Cavs are the 2nd best defensive team in the league so they don’t just rely on their offense to cover the spread.
I think Cleveland’s defense does its job here and the offense led by Garland and Love will score just enough points to cover the modest spread.
Prediction: Cavs -4
The total has gone under in five out of the last six games played by the Cavaliers. The under is 6-0 in their last six games against an opponent with a winning percentage below .400, 5-1 in their last six games after scoring more than 100 points in their previous game, 14-3 in their last 17 games after scoring more than 125 points in their previous game, 20-7 in their last 27 games after an ATS win, and 21-8 in their last 29 games after a straight-up win.
The total has gone over in four out of the last five games played by the Pelicans. The over is 4-1 in their last five December games, 8-3 in their last 11 games against the Central Division, 9-3-1 in their last 13 home games against an opponent with a road winning percentage greater than .600, and 5-2 in their last seven games after an ATS loss. However, the under is 13-6-1 in their last 20 home games, 4-1 in their last five Tuesday games, and 26-11 in their last 37 games when their opponent scores 100 or more points in their previous game.
Head to head the over is 6-4 in the last 10 meetings between these two teams. The total has gone over in 8 out of their last 10 games played in New Orleans.
The Cavs are one of the tops under teams in the league at 21-12 this season. However, without Allen and Mobley who are their two best defensive stalwarts this year, the Cavs may need more of their offense to help them win this game.
No question, the defensive sets will still be there and they are a good defensive team. However, without their two main big men, they will have to speed up the game and find ways to score as many points as they can to build a cushion.
Prediction: Over 212.5
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