Atlanta vs. Cleveland: Better Job on the Boards, Make Cavs -5 the Smart NBA Pick

Darin Zank

Saturday, November 21, 2015 7:58 PM GMT

The Cleveland Cavaliers may 9-3 this season, but they're also just 4-8 against the NBA odds, recently losing eight games in a row ATS. Are they our NBA pick tonight?
 

Betting Odds
As of this writing most of Saturday's NBA odds market was chalking Cleveland at -5.5 over Atlanta, without a total, presumable because of the injury situation with both teams.

Bettors thinking the Hawks might win this game outright could get +201 on the moneyline at Pinnacle.

 

The Match-Up
Atlanta (9-3 SU, 6-7 ATS) just snapped a three-game losing streak with a 103-97 victory at home over Sacramento Wednesday night, and even managed to cover as a short three-point home favorite. The Hawks built a 10-point lead at the half, led by double-digits for good parts of the second half, let the Kings get within a bucket with 30 seconds to go but came up with a hoop and two free-throws to secure the victory and the cash.

On the night Atlanta only shot 43 percent from the floor, but won the turnover battle 21-12.

Prior to that, though, the Hawks had lost three games in a row, against Boston, Utah and Brooklyn, averaging just 92 PPG. However, we should point out the Celtics and Jazz are two of the better defensive teams in the league.

Cleveland (9-3 SU, 4-8 ATS), meanwhile, just stopped a two-game slide with a 115-100 victory over Milwaukee Thursday night. The Cavs led by five points after one quarter, pushed that to 21 before halftime, allowed the Bucks to get within seven heading into the fourth but pulled away to lock down the win and the cover at -10.

Almost incredibly, Cleveland had lost eight games in a row against the spread.

The Cavs shot a hot 56 percent from the floor Thursday, albeit against a generous Milwaukee “defense,” and outrebounded the Bucks by a lopsided 51-26 margin.

Just before that, though, Cleveland lost at Detroit 104-99, and just before that it fell in double-overtime to those same Bucks 108-105.

 

Recent History
Atlanta took three of four games from Cleveland during the regular season last year, but the Cavs swept the Hawks in four games in the Eastern Conference Finals. On the whole the teams split those eight games ATS, while the underdog covered five of the eight meetings.

Also, the OVERS went 5-3 in the eight games these teams played last season, which (disregarding one overtime period) averaged 204 total points.

 

Totals Trends
Atlanta is 8-6 on the UNDERS this season, as Hawks games have averaged 201 points.

Cleveland is 7-5 on the OVERS, as Cavs games have averaged 200 points.

 

Injury Update
Atlanta guards Jeff Teague (17 PPG) and Kent Bazemore (12 PPG) have both missed recent action with bad ankles; Teague is questionable for Saturday night, Bazemore out.

Meanwhile, Cleveland is still playing without guards Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert, and Mo Williams (16 PPG) and C Timofey Mozgov are now both out, too, dealing with injuries. So both teams are a little banged-up at the moment.

 

Final Analysis
Cleveland is playing a little better defense than Atlanta, and doing a better job on the boards. Plus, the Cavs swept the Hawks out of the playoffs last season without Kevin Love, but he's back now. So we'll give the points with Cleveland as the NBA pick.

NBA Pick: Cavaliers -5 at Bookmaker

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