Kyrie Irving out
The Cavs’ star point guard Kyrie Irving will miss the next two weeks and possibly longer as he recovers from a biceps injury. This almost drops the Cavs down to the status of the Sixers and Bucks until Irving can come back. Cleveland has almost no consistent scoring now outside of Luol Deng and Spencer Hawes, and tonight Deng will be very preoccupied with trying to stop James. His offense will likely not be very good because of it.
With Irving out, and the Heat looking like a runaway victory here, Miami might choose to rest Dwyane Wade tonight. They could even rest a guy like Chris Bosh if they really wanted to, but either way, as long as James is playing, the Heat look like a great value tonight.
Cleveland is only 1-4 SU and ATS in their last five home games, and now without Irving they may be an even worse bet. They would have been around eight point underdogs with Irving in, but even with him sitting out they are overvalued tonight against the defending champions.
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The Sharp Pick
Miami has been very good going back to Cleveland recently, as they have gone 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS in their last four trips there. Now without Irving, the Heat could take this game at half speed and still win by a couple of possessions. However as Lebron has done in many of his games back in Ohio, I expect a big showing from the King. The Heat will take advantage of the Cavs fresh without their best player, and that should create enough of a lull in Cleveland for the Heat to get the cover.
The Cavs have not been good bouncing back this year from a loss, as they are 16-24 ATS after a SU loss. They have also not been a great bet recently at 2-5 ATS in their last seven games. It would not surprise me at all if Cleveland didn’t get past 90 points tonight.
There is a reason why the books only have the total at 196, and it’s not because they think the Heat will score less. The Cavs may be one of the worst offensive teams in the league while they don’t have Irving. Hawes, Deng and Dion Waiters will not be enough to cover this spread, and a final score of 106-88 would not surprise me.
Miami has gone 18-14 ATS this season when playing on the road, and they should continue that run here. The Heat have also been just above .500 this season as road favorites, at 13-12 ATS.
Another surprising statistic on Cleveland is they don’t play well with one day off in between games. This may just be coincidence, but the Cavs are a league worst 11-25 SU and 12-24 ATS this season when playing on one day’s rest. The Sixers even have two more wins ATS on one day rest. The Heat should easily win by double figures tonight.
My Pick: Heat -9