Cavaliers vs. Trail Blazers: Take Road Favorites & 'Over' as Your NBA Picks

Kevin Stott

Saturday, December 26, 2015 6:47 PM GMT

LeBron James and the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers head to the Pacific Northwest on Saturday night to face the Portland Trail Blazers. Check our NBA pick here.

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Final Score Prediction: Cavaliers 109  Trail Blazers 99
NBA Pick: Cavaliers -8 & Over 196
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Portland Trail Blazers: LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers (20-7, 7-6 Road, at Warriors on Christmas Day) head to the Moda Center in Portland on Saturday night to face the beat-up Portland Trail Blazers (11-20 SU, 6-6 Home, L5) in an inter-conference meeting which will be the second and last meeting of the season between the two (the Cavaliers won in Cleveland, 105-100 on Dec. 8 but failed to cover ATS as 9-point chalks). Oddsmakers this time have made the visiting Cavaliers 6-point favorites (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) with the game’s Total (Points) set at 198½ (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook). The Money Line (Winner) NBA odds see Cleveland priced at -220 (Paddy Power) with the host Trail Blazers lined at +180 on the takeback. The Cleveland Cavaliers Team Total Points has been set at 103½ (Under -125, Sky Bet) with the Toronto Raptors Team Total Points at 97½ (Over -110, Under -120, Marathon). The 1st Half odds see the Cavs as 3-point favorites (-125, Titan Bet) with the Total at 97½o -118 (Marathon).

 

Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers (11-15-1 ATS Record, 13-14 O/U) and Head Coach David Blatt have been very mediocre away from Home this season, and despite re-signing F Tristan Thompson and getting PG Kyrie Irving back on the court, the defending Eastern Conference champions and current Central Division leaders actually look a little less dangerous and have feasted on a schedule heavy on games against the weaker Eastern Conference (Cavaliers 15-6 vs East). Good teams find ways to win consistently on the Road in professional sports and with that loaded Roster and others in the conference playing so apathetic, the Cavaliers (101.4 PF-95.2 PA) should be rolling and as confident as the Western Conference’s Golden State Warriors (28-1) and San Antonio Spurs (25-5) have been and are playing, Cleveland (13-1 Home) seems to have lost some ground and the NBA may realistically be a Big Two now with the Western Conference Finals basically the NBA Finals in drag. Here in Portland, the Cavaliers (+275 to win NBA Championship, at Bet365) will be coming off a big game on Christmas Day at Golden State in a rematch of last season’s NBA Finals where they fell, 89-83, so expect some emotional letdown as well as the realities involved in a flight from the Bay Area to Portland along with the Hotel and added stress of the Christmas holidays. These people we watch may be millionaires and professional athletes, but there are also Human Beings who feel differently on different days and most gamblers just plug a guy like LeBron in like he’ll be at 10 all the time but with Injuries and Playing Time and Schedules and Age, players change despite many putting a perceived value on the name. Look at the NFL’s Peyton Manning or the Lakers Kobe Bryant. The bottom line here is this could be a letdown spot for a team after playing in the spotlight but this handicap so far has shown me that the Trail Blazers are more the issue here than are the potentially tired Cavaliers (6-5 ATS on 1 Day of Rest). And Cleveland may have lost in Oakland to Stephen Curry and the Warriors so LeBron and the cavaliers may want to get a Win back quickly against a team they match up with very well, especially at this point in Time.

 

Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers (15-16 ATS Record, 17-14 O/U) and Head Coach Terry Stotts are doing the best with what they have and after losing two of their three best players in LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs) and key cog Wes Matthews (Mavericks) to Free Agency over the Summer and now dealing with an Injury to PG Damian Lillard (Plantar Fasciitis), who reportedly said he was hopeful to return for this game after dealing with his Left Foot problems, so with such a big opponent in town—and not for the Voodoo’s Donuts—expect Lillard (24.6 ppg, 6.8 apg) to be ready to go. And backup SG CJ McCollum (Ankles) has also been dealing with his own Injury issues. One way to look at this is, that if were last season and Cleveland was heading to Portland (500/1 to win NBA Championship, Ladbrokes) with Aldridge, Matthews and a healthy Lillard, the combined Points the hosts would be able to generate just from those three would/will be way more than trying to do so against Cleveland with Meyers Leonard (8.1 ppg, 4.7), Mason Plumlee (9.5 ppg) and a healthy Lillard who saw his impressive streak of 275 straight Starts come to an end last week with this Injury. And even if Lillard is back, Portland (2-8 L10) will catch the Cavaliers at a horrible time and the Trail Blazers (4-12 ATS L16 Saturday) have been playing some lousy basketball in this 5-game Losing streak where they’ve lost by an average of 11.2 ppg (26, 9, 7, 8, 16), allowing over 100 points in all five of those setbacks. Portland is an Eastern Conference quality team playing in the West but it’s impossible to blame Stotts with all that this Roster lost and how tough the NBA’s Western Conference has become through the years, especially at the top.

 

Series Trends, Logical Reasoning and Pick
When these two teams last played earlier this season in Cleveland (Dec. 8), the Cavaliers won, 105-100, thanks in great part to a 58-44 2nd Half and LeBron James’ 33 Points. The Over is 40-16-2 the L58 Trail Blazers Saturday games—the first meeting between these two went over the closing Total (200) by 5 Points (105-100)—and with the way Portland has allowed triple-digits along with the possibility Cleveland will be tired and that Lillard should be back, the Over is the definite look here in the Totals marketplace although the Under is 11-5 ATS the 16 Portland games against the Central Division. It seems there should be around 210 points scored with all of this mine, and it being Saturday night and a Holiday weekend and all. Side-wise, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and the Cavaliers are 6-2 ATS their L8 against the Pacific Northwest but failed to cover ATS as 8-point favorites in Cleveland earlier this month (Dec. 8) and in the recent history of the series, the Cavaliers are just 3-6-1 ATS (Under 6-4). But with the massive Roster mismatch here and Cleveland (4-7 ATS L11 Road) defeating below average to bad teams on the Road, laying the modest lumber with the visiting Cavaliers is the call here, but only for a moderate to small amount and balancing that wager out with the Over seems like a sane approach on Boxing Day. If the Cavaliers had to travel from Ohio to Oregon and if they weren’t coming off a showdown (and Loss) at Golden State on Christmas, this would be a different story, but with Cleveland already used to the Time Zone (PST) and maybe Angry after Friday’s Loss, the Cavaliers and King James probably end up wrapping up Portland like a present here, just like they did three weeks ago with a strong 2nd Half after a possible sluggish start. And this NBA pick is more of a Trail Blazers fade than a Cavaliers backing, but only by a little bit.