Bet Pistons vs. Cavs to Go 'Under' for Tonight's NBA Picks

Darin Zank

Sunday, December 28, 2014 1:52 PM GMT

Detroit has been one of the worst teams in the NBA to bet on this season, going 9-20 against the spread so far, and Cleveland hasn't been much better, at 12-17 ATS. So which way do we go with our free NBA pick when the Cavs host the Pistons Sunday afternoon?

 

Pistons-Cavs Betting Odds
As of early Sunday morning the NBA betting odds had not yet lined this game, probably because of the Kyrie Irving injury situation. Our guess is when a line does come out Cleveland will be favored by a touchdown or so, with a total of around 200.

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Pistons-Cavs: The Match-Up
Detroit had lost 13 games in a row, then won two in a row on the road at Sacramento and Phoenix, then lost four more in a row, before beating Indiana Friday night 119-109. The Pistons led by 15 early in the fourth quarter, allowed the Pacers to get withing seven points with four minutes to go, then hung on from there for the victory, winning outright as two-point home dogs.

Detroit shot 55 percent from the floor Friday, and had a good night with the ball, dishing out 25 assists while committing only 11 turnovers. So the Pistons are 1-0 both SU and ATS since dumping Josh Smith.

At 6-23 Detroit sits seven games behind Miami and Brooklyn, who are tied for the seven-eight spots in the Eastern Conference standings.

Cleveland recently won eight games in a row, then lost three of four, but has since won four of its last five, after topping Orlando Friday night 98-89. The Cavs only shot 41 percent from the floor, and allowed the Magic to shoot 49 percent, but hit 24 of 26 free-throws and won the turnover battle by a 17/9 margin.

Cleveland trailed Orlando by nine late in the third quarter, but rallied not just for the victory but also for the cover as a four-point favorite.

So following a 5-7 start Cleveland has gone 13-4 to get to 18-11, which gives it the five seed in the East at the moment.

 

Pistons-Cavs Recent History
This is the first meeting this season between these longtime rivals. Last season Cleveland took three of four games from Detroit, and that was before LeBron came home. The Cavs also went 3-1 ATS in those four games, with the totals splitting 2-2.

 

Pistons-Cavs Key Numbers
Detroit ranks second-worst in the league in FG shooting at less than 42 percent, and second-worst in FT shooting at just 69 percent. The Pistons also rank 21st in FG defense, allowing opponents to shoot 46 percent from the field.

Cleveland ranks seventh in FG shooting at 46.5 percent, 11th in FT shooting at 77 percent, but 25th in FG defense, allowing foes to shoot 47 percent.

 

Pistons-Cavs Betting Trends
Detroit is 14-14 on the totals this season, as Pistons games have averaged 196 points. Detroit has also played four OVERS in a row, as both the Pistons and their opponents have hit the century mark on the scoreboard in each of the last four games.

Cleveland has leaned toward the UNDERS this season by a 17-11 margin, going 4-1 over its last five games, even though Cavs games have averaged 202 points.

Detroit is 3-10 SU, 5-8 ATS on the road this season.

Cleveland is 11-5 SU but 7-9 ATS at home.

 

Injury Update
Cleveland just lost C Anderson Varejao (10 points, seven rebounds per game this season) for the season to a torn Achilles, and G Kyrie Irving (20 PPG) missed Friday's game with a sore knee; his status for Sunday is uncertain. So the Cavs might be down two starters for this one.

 

Pistons-Cavs Free Pick
Detroit, which is shooting 42 percent from the floor on the season, shot 55 percent from the floor last time out. Our guess is the Pistons will shoot a lot closer to their season average Sunday.

It's difficult making a pick without a line; our guess is Cleveland will open favored by a touchdown or so, regardless of Irving's status. Try as we might, we can't come up with a play on the side. So instead, while the total might come out a bit on the low end, we like the UNDER for our free NBA pick in this spot.

Free NBA Picks: Bet Pistons/Cavs to go 'Under' at 5Dimes