Hopefully you’re following along with my NBA picks at the moment, as the Blazers scored a nice road win over the Knicks last night. At a -110 price that was a solid bargain and it gave me my third straight win. After some back and forth action to get things going, I’m now 6-3 on the year and trending in a positive direction.
I hope that has helped you cash in the process and I’ll try again on Tuesday to get a winner and keep this streak alive.
To do that I need to locate the best overall bet and on a weird five-game slate, that feels harder than usual. The Timberwolves, Jazz and Bulls are all at home and are the slimmest of favorites. Those teams are always going to be tough to trust, while Washington is in Minnesota without John Wall, the Suns are +1.5 underdogs in Chicago and Denver takes a bad road record (3-6) with a weak +2 spread into Utah.
The other two games are the Heat vs. Cavs in Cleveland and the Bucks vs. Kings in Sacramento. There could be trouble afoot if the Cavs are tired and/or rest anyone, while the Kings proved to be feisty last night in an unlikely win over the Warriors.
For now, I don’t envision Cleveland sitting any of their studs and they feel like the most reliable bet on the board. The question is whether you should trust them to cover or just take them straight up.
Miami Heat (+4.5) @ Cleveland Cavaliers (-4.5) Total: 209
There is so much uncertainty on this NBA betting slate. The Bucks and Nuggets stink on the road, so neither feel stable. Milwaukee would probably be my pick there, but they need to win by 7 against a Kings team that just beat the Dubs. I’m not getting up for any of that, while trying to figure out the Bulls vs. Suns matchup feels like a thankless task.
This might be a pretty good slate to bow out and take a break, but I need to make a pick and the one that stands out the most is Cleveland at home (-185 at GTBets). LeBron James has a bad history against his former Heat squad (1-3 last year, 4-7 since returning to Cleveland), but Miami hasn’t looked that great this year and some context is necessary when looking at last season’s series.
For one, the Cavs went 1-1 in Cleveland and one of those games saw Kevin Love sidelined. Another win came in Miami and went to overtime despite both LeBron James and Kyrie Irving sitting out. A third Miami win also saw both James and Irving take a break yet again.
That is the only thing that would get me off the Cavs tonight; Tyronn Lue sitting some of his studs. Cleveland is red hot at the moment, however (8 straight wins) and I think disrupting their current groove would be a huge mistake. Even on the second game of a back-to-back set, I expect all of Cleveland’s stars to suit up.
Looking back at this series last year, I don’t think we’re learning much. In fact, Cleveland might get an added spark off their bench, as former Heat star Dwyane Wade could be looking to dish out some revenge. That was certainly the cast last year when Wade was with the Bulls, when D-Wade poured in 28 points in one contest and ended the year with a 2-1 edge over his former squad.
Wade alone isn’t selling the Cavs for me, but he and LeBron James will get up for this game and Cleveland has a lot going for them. Obviously they’re at home and they traditionally get the job done at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs started slowly this year, but they’re still 6-4 on their home floor and will naturally want to improve that mark.
Something has to break in this matchup, overall. Both teams are in a groove (Miami has won three in a row) and neither has really helped bettors out against the spread (both come in with just 7 wins ATS). For me, the edge goes to the Cavs, who are at their home base and on paper remain the better team.
From a matchup perspective, Miami can be stingy on defense, but that stems from a slow pace and I’d bet Cleveland will control the tempo at home. The Cavs are usually more of a concern against truly elite defenses, ultra fast offenses or tough opponents on the road. At home in a pace-down game where their outside defense might not necessarily be exposed as much as usual, they’re actually in a great spot.
Hassan Whiteside hypothetically could be a problem for the Cavs down low, but Joel Embiid wents nuts last night and it didn’t matter. Cleveland has slightly improved defensively, having now held three of their last four opponents below 100 points. Miami is not a scary offense and on the road they could easily falter.
The value isn’t insane here, of course. I really don’t trust either side against the spread and I do think this will be a close game. The Cavs are a disgusting 0-9-1 against the spread as home favorites and while that eventually has to get snapped, it’s a nasty record I don’t want to play with.
Ultimately, this is a bad slate for betting so I’m fine with just getting a win and moving on. I think you can get that with the Cavs straight up and all things considered, -185 isn’t so bad.
The beauty is you could locate even better value if you shop for lines. Sportsbetting.ag is offering the Cavs straight up at -190 and if you roll with GTBets you’re narrowly beating that price. Depending on where you bet, I think lines as good as -175 to -165 could be available. For now, GTBets is the best route and the Cavs SU is my favorite play on the board.