Cavaliers Lay Big Number to Winless Bulls ... but Top Value on Total

chicago bulls

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 1:03 PM GMT

Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017 1:03 PM GMT

LeBron James and the Cavaliers look to rebound from a shocking loss in Orlando on Saturday, as they host the rebuilding Bulls at Quicken Loans Arena on Tuesday night (7 ET). Can Cleveland cover the big number (-14.5) here? Be hesitant laying the points.

Free NBA Pick: Over 208.5Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers (-14.5)

The Magic stunned LeBron James and the Cavaliers 114-93 at Amway Center on Saturday. Orlando tipped off as an 11.5-point underdog for the contests. Are James & Co. in danger of dropping a second as heavy chalk? Although the Bulls are in rebuilding mode, head coach Fred Hoiberg owns the Cavs historically. Since 2015, Chicago is 7-1 SU and ATS in the series, going off the underdog in all but one. One win came in two catching double digits. Oddsmakers are spotting the Bulls 14.5 points for Tuesday night’s contest.

One cause for concern for Cleveland backers is it has yet to iron out a solid first-team squad. Dwyane Wade will surrender his starting spot at the two guard to J.R. Smith. The 12-time All-Star requested the swap in order to come off the bench and give the second unit more punch. Wade struggled to find a rhythm with the first team, averaging just 5.7 points per game on 28 percent shooting through the first three. Smith will join James, Kevin Love, Jae Crowder and Jose Calderon in the starting lineup. Derrick Rose (ankle) and Isaiah Thomas (hip), Cleveland’s two top point guards, are sidelined by injury.

The Bulls are banged up as well. Kris Dunn (finger), Nikola Mirotic (concussion, face), Zach LaVine (knee), Cameron Payne (foot) and Bobby Portis (suspension) are all unavailable tonight.

Rookie Lauri Markkanen and center Robin Lopez are carrying Chicago offensively. The Finnish-born forward is averaging a double-double with 15.0 points and 10.0 boards per game through two. Lopez, meanwhile, leads the team in scoring with 17.0 per tilt. Paul Zipser, Justin Holiday and Jerian Grant are expected to fill out the first team

Early adjustments to the total see it trending up. NBA oddsmakers opened at 207.5, moving it to 208.5 in early trading. The Cavs are playing solid defense to begin the year, holding opponents to a .438 field-goal percentage through their first three games. Neither team is playing tremendously quick, either, with the Cavs sporting a 97.1 and Bulls a 97.8 Pace rating. But the public (67 percent of tickets across multiple online sportsbooks are on the ‘over’ as of publication) don’t envision Cleveland having another bad scoring night.

This is a spot the Cavs have come out scoring in bunches. Since the start of last season, when Cleveland is coming off a loss as the betting favorite where James suited up, the ‘over’ is 13-5 next time out. The Cavs put up 113.0 points per game with The King averaging 27.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 9.2 assists per contest. The combined score is 222.4 points, far eclipsing a 215.8 average total.

Lean the ‘over’ and consider taking the points with the Bulls. The Cavs have some issues to sort out, are down to their third-string point guard and have not faired well against the number under head coach Tyronn Lue when coming off an outright loss as heavy chalk. Five times the Cavs have fallen as double-digit favorites with LeBron playing since January 2016. They are 4-1 SU, but 1-4 ATS next time out. The one game Cleveland covered was by a single bucket. They are losing to the number by 3.5 points per game in this spot, tipping off 10.7-point favorites.

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