When a really bad team goes up against a really talented team, the bad team needs the talented team to be off its game. Unless the Cleveland Cavaliers are half asleep on Monday, they should roll. They’re an 12.5-point favorite on the NBA betting odds.
The Denver Nuggets Can Win Because…
They are aware that they played the Cavaliers earlier in the season and can therefore scout Cleveland a lot better than other teams which would be playing LeBron James and company for the first time in the season. Denver hosted Cleveland just over a week ago, losing 110-101 to the Cavs. Randy Foye scored 28 points against Cleveland, so he knows that when he takes the court for this game, he can score. He should be optimistic about his ability to do a lot of damage against the Cavs, who are 24th in the NBA in defense, conceding an average of 104.1 points per game. Cleveland is not an especially strong rebounding team, posting an average of 41.3 rebounds per game. The Cavaliers’ roster is built to score, but this team has a soft defensive underbelly. Kevin Love has developed a reputation from his days with the Minnesota Timberwolves as an all-offense, no-defense guy who could certainly rebound, but was not very active or effective as a defender in the low post. Kyrie Irving is a one-way player at this point. His defense will need a lot of time this season. He has to work to get better and become a true threat as a perimeter defender. There are so many holes in Cleveland’s defense that Denver will be able to attack from different points. The Nuggets scored 101 points against the Cavs the first time the teams met this season; if they can reach 110 this time, they could steal a win.
The Cleveland Cavaliers Can Win Because…
They're a lot better than Denver, and what’s more is that they’re finally beginning to play like a team that’s going to do great things in the NBA before this season’s over. Cleveland should be pounding most teams in the NBA at home, and on Saturday night, they did just that against the Atlanta Hawks. Cleveland dominated the Hawks, and did so with the offensive firepower that is likely to characterize the Cavs for most of the season. Cleveland, whose offense is the second best in the NBA at 107.9 points per game, eclipsed its average by almost 20 points. The Cavs scored at least 30 points in each of the first three quarters, 41 in the first. Cleveland hit 54 percent of its field goals and 61 percent of its threes, 19 of 31. The Cavs didn’t even need many free throws (10) to score 127 points. They got wide-open shots on possession after possession.
Denver, meanwhile, has a terrible defense. The Nuggets allowed 84 points in the first half to Portland last Wednesday. They gave up 110 to the Cavs over a week ago. It would be hard for the Nuggets, who allowed 109 to the low-octane New York Knicks on Sunday, to find enough energy to hold the Cavs down.
It will be a bloodbath in Cleveland. Denver is highly disorganized and looks like a team that will need at least another two months to begin to look more cohesive. The Cavs offense is rolling right now and they should get another layup and another big cover here. SBR's NBA odds have the Cavs listed at -12.5 favorites; take them to cover your NBA picks.
Free NBA Pick: Cleveland -12.5 at The Greek