Warriors-Cavaliers Game Still Has Betting Value Despite No LeBron

Jordan Sharp

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 6:50 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 6:50 PM UTC

Even though Wednesday's Warriors-Cavs game has lost all luster due to LeBron James fleeing snowy Ohio for the sunny beaches of Los Angeles, there is still betting value to be had from the sportsbooks.

Jordan’s NBA picks record: 10-10

Golden State (16-9 SU & 11-14 ATS) at Cleveland (5-18 SU & 12-11 ATS)Wednesday, 7 p.m. ETFree NBA Pick: OverBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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With LeBron James trying to get the Lakers into the Western Conference playoffs, things have not been going great for the Cavaliers. However, the Warriors aren’t playing their best basketball either, so is there value to be had in the double-digit home dogs or the total?

Warriors’ Front Court Is A Disaster

You kind of got the idea at the beginning of the season that after signing DeMarcus Cousins, the Warriors would be thin up front until his eventual return from a ruptured Achilles' tendon. Boogie is making his way back and has been recently cleared to take part in practices without any restrictions.

This is great news for the Warriors long term, too, because without a credible post defender, their defense has suffered. The Warriors are giving up just more than 109 points per 100 possessions this season, which ranks them in the bottom half of the league.

Not only are they still without Cousins, but Damian Jones went down with a torn pectoral muscle a few days ago, and he had been eating up 15 to 20 minutes per game at the center position. He has been a serviceable rim protector for the Warriors, but his season is probably over.

Now the team is forced to start Kevon Looney at center and rotate Jordan Bell and Jonas Jerebko in to get some minutes at the five. This is because Draymond Green is also still sitting out. He would normally play more center minutes, but his absence has really hurt the defense, too.

Considering all this, the Warriors are going to be awful on defense until Green and/or Cousins are back and at full strength. That’s going to play in this game. Tristan Thompson is a monster down low, and it would not surprise me to see him go for 20 points and 20 rebounds in this one with no one to keep him off the glass at both ends.

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Add in Larry Nance and you have two huge mismatches already in the Cavaliers’ favor.

With Green on the bench this season the Warriors are giving up 117.9 points per 100 possessions, which is 10 full points higher than when Green is in the game!

The Sharp Pick

Taking all of this into account, if you’re thinking about betting the Warriors ATS in this one in your NBA picks, back away from the counter, window, smart phone, or computer and listen. Golden State isn’t playing well right now, but instead of being a fish, let’s all be sharks together.

That does not mean you should bet on the Cavaliers ATS either, although I know that may be a sharp play. However, a much less risky play that is also just as sharp potentially is a bet on the over.

If the Warriors’ defense is battered as much as I think it’s going to be, the Cavaliers should not only keep this game close, they could put some real pressure on the Dubs. Cleveland’s offense took a big step up recently with the return of George Hill, who can take a lot of pressure off rookie Collin Sexton.

The Warriors are probably going to win by double digits, but they are going to have to do it with their offense. Without Green available over their last nine game, the Warriors have cashed the "over" at 6-3.

I understand the Cavs’ offense doesn’t give a lot of confidence points in this one, but with Hill on the floor the Cavs are averaging 114.4 points per 100 possessions, compared to just 107.3 when he is sitting.

With this being probably the biggest Cavs game of the year outside of when James came back to Cleveland a few weeks ago, the crowd should also help keep Cleveland get buckets. Even if the game isn’t close, I see the Cavs getting 105 and maybe even close to 110 points in a shootout.

Prediction: Warriors 120, Cavaliers 107
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