I scored another win on Monday night, as I saw some upside in a showdown between the Magic and Wizards and aimed for the Over on a 222 Total. More than anything, I noted Washington’s pace and horrendous defense. Things set up well for the Over (-108) and the two teams did enough to deliver 226 total points.
The win was my third straight and sixth in my last seven tries. It also pushed my NBA picks record to a blistering 14-4 on the year.
Betting on pro basketball has it’s ups and downs, so I’m still bracing for that stretch where it turns ugly. You need to embrace the good while it’s here, though, and right now we are running hot and hopefully The Sports Geek readers notice and take advantage of it.
Things calm way down on Tuesday, as the NBA spews just three games onto the basketball betting schedule. That does not give me (or you) a lot to work with, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something there to exploit in NBA betting circles.
The pickings are slim, but of this trio my favorite bet falls in a showdown in Cleveland where the Cavaliers host the Charlotte Hornets.
Charlotte is the easy call as a -300 favorite in this spot. They’re traditionally worse away from home, but they are leaps and bounds better than Cleveland, who have lost five straight and are just 1-11 on the year. The talent gap is large and Kemba Walker will be going up against a rookie point guard as well as a team that ranks 28th in defensive efficiency.
Bettors probably shouldn’t gamble on Cleveland despite their attractive moneyline (+250) at home. The real question is who will benefit from a -7 point spread and/or if the Total is worth attacking. Let’s dive into this matchup to find out:
Charlotte Hornets (-7, -119) @ Cleveland Cavaliers (+7, -101) Total: 219 (-104/-116)
I’ll be pretty open about the fact that Charlotte is the way better team, but they’re still not amazing. The Hornets are predictably average (3-3) on the road this year and are just 7-6 as a whole. They’re way more talented and cohesive than Cleveland, however, so I’m not seeing a reality where the Cavs flat out steal a win here.
This game looks to be all Hornets, as Charlotte has a pretty efficient offense and has even been decent defensively compared to the rest of the NBA. Cleveland has been a garbage offense and can’t defend worth a lick. The Cavs also rank 18th in perimeter shooting and that is compounded by Charlotte’s nasty outside defense (4th).
That probably means Cleveland needs to do of three things (or all); defend well, win the rebounding game and score inside.
Cleveland ranks 27th in doing the latter and 26th in rebounding, so I’m not exactly solid on them dominating in either capacity. As for their defense, we already know few teams are worse.
The biggest issue is the Cavs really don’t have anyone to slow down Kemba Walker. He’s been enjoying a career year and was efficient with the rest of his team in a massive 32-point win over Cleveland earlier this year.
All of this leads me to believe Vegas is coming off pretty easy on the Cavs. Maybe that’s because the Hornets are on the road, but that’s not enough to have me buy in and back Cleveland in any sense of the word.
Cleveland isn’t even at full strength, either. George Hill is out for two weeks, J.R. Smith missed Monday’s practice due to illness, Cedi Osman (back) has been ruled out for this game, Sam Dekker is sidelined with an injury, Kevin Love has been out for a while already and bench shooter Kyle Korver is out as well.
Cleveland is seriously depleted and even if they had all of their guys I still might take the Hornets to cover in this spot. The -119 price isn’t through the roof, but this feels like a gimme line and on a bad three-game NBA betting slate it’s easily the best wager to chase after.