The Cleveland Cavaliers head to the Nation’s Capital to take on the Washington Wizards on Thursday night.
Cleveland is coming off a 108-104 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans in a game where they lost another key player to injury. Ricky Rubio suffered an ACL tear making him the second of the team’s three top guards to miss the rest of the season after Collin Sexton. The Cavs are 20-14 on the season and they are 3rd in the Central Division standings. Cleveland has the 5th best record in the East.
Washington has struggled after a strong start. The Wizards are just 3-7 SU in their last 10 games played and they have dropped to an even 17-17 record. Washington has lost back-to-back games and is coming off a 112-119 loss to the Miami Heat in their last outing. The Wizards are 3rd in the Southeast Division and 8th in the latest Eastern Conference team standings and would need to go through the play-in tournament to enter the postseason if the playoffs began today.
The Cavs blew a 23 point first-quarter lead and lost guard Ricky Rubio to an ACL injury in their last game against the Pelicans. Rubio scored 27 points before getting hurt while Kevin Love added 24 points off the bench. Rookie of the Year betting favorite Evan Mobley added 22 points and 7 rebounds in the losing effort. Lauri Markkanen also scored 14 points and grabbed 5 rebounds.
Cleveland ranks 16th in the NBA in scoring at 107.8 points per game this season. They are 13th in rebounding at 45.4 boards grabbed per contest and are 7th in passing at 25.5 assists per game The Cavs have the NBA’s second-best scoring defense at 101.6 points per game allowed.
A depleted Wizards team lost to an equally-depleted Heat squad last Tuesday night. Spencer Dinwiddie had a double-double with 24 points and 11 assists while Kyle Kuzma added 22 points and 7 rebounds. Davis Bertans scored 19 points while making 5 of 10 three-pointers while Daniel Gafford also had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
The Wizards are 21st in the NBA in scoring at 106.0 points per game scored this season. They are 20th overall in rebounding at 44.1 boards grabbed per contest and are 13th in passing at 23.8 assists per game. Washington has the league’s 20th ranked scoring defense at 109.0 points per game allowed.
Cleveland is 7-2 SU in their last nine games played. The Cavs are 10-7 SU in 17 road games played this season, and 6-1 SU in their last seven games against the Southeast Division.
Washington is 3-9 SU in their last 12 games played. The Wizards are 8-5 SU in 13 home games played this season, and 5-4 SU in their nine games against the Eastern Conference.
Head to head, the Wizards are 6-4 SU in their last 10 games against the Cavaliers but Cleveland is 2-1 in their last three meetings and 13-6 SU in their last 19 road games against Washington.
No doubt, the Cavs are having a much better season than the Wizards and it’s not even close. However, the Cavs have lost another key player for the season with Ricky Rubio out with an ACL injury. Then there is also the possibility that Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen won’t be playing in this game.
However, this is a Cavs team that is young and has found ways to win regardless of the circumstances. They are just 1-2 in their last three games played but expect this team to fight back here.
Washington is still missing several key players and wasn’t winning anyway when they were complete. There is a chance that the Cavs could struggle with the injuries and COVID-19 protocols but unless I see it, I will roll with them here, especially with the plus money.
Prediction: Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers are 15-2 ATS in their last 17 games played. Cleveland is 10-2-1 ATS in their last 13 games played on the road, 6-0 ATS in their last six games after a straight-up loss, 17-3-1 ATS in their last 21 games after allowing more than 100 points in their previous game, 5-1 ATS in their last six road games against an opponent with a winning home record, 16-5 ATS in their last 21 games when playing on one day rest, and 21-5 ATS in their last 26 games after scoring 100 or more points in their previous game.
The Wizards are 5-12-1 ATS in their last 18 games played. Washington is 1-4 ATS in their last five games played at home, 4-12-1 ATS in their last 17 December games, 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight games after a straight-up loss, 4-12-1 ATS in their last 17 games after allowing 100 or more points in their previous game, 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games when playing on one day rest, 3-13 ATS in their last 16 games after scoring 100 or more points in their previous game, and 1-5 ATS in their last six games after an ATS win.
The Cavs’ offense has been playing above average in their last three games played, scoring more than 115 points per game during that stretch and shooting 46% from the floor. Meanwhile, the Washington defense has struggled as of late, conceding 117 or more points in five out of their last six games.
Cleveland has also been playing well off the glass, averaging 13 offensive boards in their last three outings so expect them to get more shot opportunities here. The Cavs defense has also been holding down road opponents to 105 points per game this season.
The Cavs suffered another setback when Ricky Rubio suffered a season-ending injury. That means they will not have two of their best 3 guards the rest of the way. With Darius Garland questionable. But the Cavs are +4 points here and even if they don’t win the game, they should be able to cover this modest spread.
Prediction: Cavs +4
The total has gone under in five out of the last seven games played by the Cavaliers. The under is 4-1 in their last five games against the Eastern Conference, 5-1 in their last six Thursday games, 5-2 in their last seven games when scoring 100 or more points in their previous game, and 5-2 when their opponent allows more than 100 points in their previous game.
The total has gone over in four out of the last five games played by the Wizards. The over is 5-0 in their last five games against the Eastern Conference, 8-3 in their last 11 games against the Central Division, 4-0 in their last four games after an ATS win, 5-0 in their last five Thursday games, 5-2 in their last seven games after a straight-up loss, and 8-2-1 in their last 11 games when their opponent scores 100 or more points in their previous game.
Head to head, the total has gone under in four out of the last six meetings between these two teams.
The Cavs are one of the top UNDER teams in the NBA at 21-13 this season and that’s because they have the league’s second-best scoring defense at only 101.6 points per game allowed. Cleveland has held four out of its last six opponents by less than 100 points and there’s no question they have the ability to do the same to the Wizards.
Washington is in the bottom 10 in the NBA in scoring but is also in the bottom 11 in scoring defense, the reason why their games hit the over. However, the Cavs aren’t really a high-scoring team at just 16th in the league in scoring at 107.8 points per game.
With both teams not really explosive scoring squads, the Cavs having the second-best defense in the league, and all the players missing the game, I like this one to hit the under.
Prediction: Under 211.5
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