Pelicans At Plus Odds Our Free NBA Pick vs. Injured Cavaliers

Charles Stark

Friday, December 4, 2015 12:01 PM GMT

The Cleveland Cavaliers visit the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night. Both teams have struggled with injuries, but who will be able to keep up? Review our NBA picks for this game.

With the Cleveland Cavaliers coming off arguably their worst performance of the year, this seems like a bounce back spot for them visiting a struggling New Orleans team. But I think the poor game by the Cavaliers is more a symptom of the fact they are a bit thin until they get all their key players back in the lineup. The Pelicans have not played well so far this season but the last two games, although losses, have included a couple guys back from injury. With those games under their belt now, and playing a rare home game, I will take the points with the Pelicans at home.

 

NBA Odds Overview
NBA odds have Cleveland as a favorite at -5 -105 at Pinnacle Sports. Even on the road, it makes perfect sense for them to be favored but for my NBA pick today, I am going to back the Pelicans to not only cover but to win this game straight up. I look for them to take advantage of this opportunity to play arguably the best team in the East and bring a lot of energy to the game tonight.

 

New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans are averaging 101.6 points per game, shooting 43.9% from the field, and 34% from distance. They have not been playing well since the beginning of the season highlighted by their last loss at the struggling Rockets. It has been a combination of things, but most importantly, they have not been healthy. Tyreke Evans and Norris Cole are both back playing which should be a big boost to this team on both sides of the ball. Offensively, they have been pretty decent and Anthony Davis is starting to find his rhythm averaging 25 points in his last five game.

On the defensive side, New Orleans is allowing 109.1 points per game, 46.3% from the field, and 39.8% from beyond the arc. Their scoring defense and opponent three point shooting percentage rank worst in the NBA. Overall, their defense has just been poor, but I think it can be attributed mostly again to the fact they have not been healthy. With Alvin Gentry wanting to get up tempo as the focus they will never rank as one of the better defensive teams in the league, but starting to get healthy we should start to see some improvements across the board on this side of the ball.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs are averaging 102.1 points per game, 45.4% shooting from the field, and 36.3% from beyond the arc. It is hard to feel sorry for them not having Kyrie Irving back when they have the best player in the world in Lebron James (let Curry do what he is doing for a few more years before we hand him the crown) and one of the top 20 players in the league in Kevin Love. David Blatt has a nice motion offense and their only real "issues" or where they lack a bit are points in the paint and turnovers. The key tonight though is them playing another game without Irving, and until he gets back, they are a decent team to fade in the right spots.

On defense, the Cavs are allowing 96.6 points per game, 43.7% shooting from the field, 33.6% from beyond the arc. There isn't really an angle to back them on the road as their defensive numbers stay consistent whether at home or traveling. But they are 2-3 in their last road allowing an average of 105 points per game in those losses to the Raptors, Pistons, and Bucks.

I think this is a good spot to grab the points with the Pelican against a Cavs team that isn't quite as intimidating on the road. For one of your NBA picks, I recommend backing New Orleans plus the points with a small play on the money line. The healthier Pelicans should play one of their better games of the year at home.

Free NBA Pick: Pelicans +5; Pelicans +185 at Pinnacle

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