First Half of Cavaliers-Suns Matchup is an Easy 'Over' Pick

Jordan Sharp

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 3:12 PM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 13, 2018 3:12 PM UTC

Cleveland has started to struggle again, but tonight they have a perfect get-right game against tanking Phoenix. However, with how bad the Cavs’ defense has been, can we really bank on them?

Tuesday NBA: Cavaliers vs. SunsFree NBA Pick: Over 117½ 1HBest Line Offered: 5Dimes

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The Cavs are coming off a bad loss to the Lakers, but to give L.A. credit, they have been playing really well recently. The Suns, however, have not. Phoenix is dead set on losing to get another top-three draft pick, and they are well on their way to doing it.

Another loss tonight will go a long way in helping the Suns’ draft positioning. With how bad their defense has played, you can tell they are not trying very hard.

Since the All Star break, the Suns own a 111.2 defensive rating, and that number stays pretty similar in the first halves of their games since the break. Over their past nine first halves, the Suns are playing at a pace of 107.3 possessions per game, while posting a defensive rating of 110.8.

Compare that to the Cavs, and it’s amazing that these two teams aren’t both in the lottery. The Cavaliers own a 112.1 defensive rating in the first half of their games since the break, and their pace has been similarly fast at 103.2.

My point is that the first-half total on the NBA odds board is a steal of a value for the "over" with your NBA picks. If both teams push the pace tonight, you could see each enter the 60-point threshold before halftime.

My guess is Cleveland buckles down some on defense in this one, but it likely won’t happen in the first half. These teams rank in the bottom half of the league in first-half defense since the break, and in their last five games each of them is allowing 57 or more points per first half.

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