Cleveland owns a six-game winning streak, playing through a spate of injuries. Can the Cavs extend that streak to seven, and cover six points on the NBA odds, Tuesday night against Utah?
Tuesday's NBA odds market opened this game with Cleveland favored by 5.5 points, with no total, as books waited for better injury information. The Cavaliers are a little banged-up at the moment, to say the least.
Utah (4-2 SU, 4-2 ATS) owns a two-game winning streak, after beating Memphis Saturday night 89-79, covering at -3 at home. The Jazz led by 13 at the half and by 21 with 10 minutes to go, allowed the Grizzlies to pull within five points with two minutes left, but held on for both the victory and the cover.
On the night Utah only shot 42 percent from the field, and committed 21 turnovers, but hit 12-of-27 shots from 3-point land and held Memphis to just 33 percent FG shooting.
Just before that the Jazz won at Denver 96-84, holding the Nuggets to just 39 percent shooting, also covering at -3.
Cleveland, meanwhile, owns a six-game winning streak, after nipping Indiana Sunday 101-97. That game was close throughout, the biggest lead an 11-point Cavs advantage in the second quarter. Cleveland trailed by a bucket with just under four minutes to go, but LeBron and Kevin Love combined to save the day. They could not, however, coax a cover as eight-point favorites, which gave this handicapper a winner with our NBA pick on the Pacers, plus the points.
For the game the Cavs shot 46 percent from the floor, and held Indiana to 43 percent.
While it's won six games in a row Cleveland has lost four straight ATS, because it couldn't cover 12 points against Philly, 10 points against the Knicks or 13 points against the Sixers. Again, that's the problem with betting the Cavs; they're always favored by so darn much.
These teams split their two meetings last season, both winning and covering on their home courts. Utah won in Salt Lake City last November 102-100 as a five-point home dog, while Cleveland won at home in January 106-92, covering as a nine-point favorite.
The Jazz outshot the Cavs in that first meeting 51 percent to 42 percent, but Cleveland outshot Utah in the second meeting 52 percent to 42 percent.
Also, the totals split those two games, which averaged 200 points, against an average O/U of 202.
Utah is 5-1 on the UNDERS this season, as Jazz games have averaged a league-low 178 points.
Cleveland is 4-3 on the UNDERS, as Cavs games have averaged 195 points.
Cleveland is playing a little shorthanded at the moment, with guards Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert and JR Smith all missing recent action with various ailments. Also, C Anderson Varejao has been very limited recently, and the King is playing through a sore thigh.
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Utah seems on the improve, as its young players begin to mesh, while Cleveland is a hurtin' unit at the moment, and almost always overrated on the spreads. We like the Jazz here, plus the points. Also, both these teams play pretty good defense, and both teams are having a little trouble making their free-throws. So we're thinking UNDER.
NBA Picks: Jazz +6 & UNDER 185 at 5Dimes