Pistons Our NBA Pick As They Won't Back Down Against Cavaliers

Charles Stark

Friday, January 29, 2016 12:21 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 29, 2016 12:21 PM UTC

Tonight Cleveland takes on Detroit, with a new moniker of wanting to push tempo. I believe the Pistons will gladly entertain Cleveland trying to do that. Check our NBA pick inside.

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NBA Pick: Pistons +4.5
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle


NBA odds makers have come out making Detroit a +4 underdog and the total around 206.5. This actually seems about right considering Cleveland, despite the coaching change, is still the favorite to win the Eastern Conference. However, Detroit is no pushover at home and there is a good chance Cleveland may overlook this game with the Spurs coming up tomorrow. For one of my selections I will be backing Detroit plus the points.


Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland comes in averaging 101.6 points per game while shooting 45.3% from the field, and allowing 95.9 points per game on 44.3% shooting from the field. On the season they are 20-23-1 overall against the spread, and 10-12-1 on the road. Being just a shade below 50% against the spread demonstrates that this team has been overvalued somewhat at times this season. Recently head coach Tyronn Lue has stressed to the team about wanting to go faster and push tempo more. It is been reported that this was the idea of their previous head coach, but the players simply didn't respond. No matter the case, I don't think this is a good idea for Cleveland because I believe if they embrace this concept they will start to lack on the defensive end, which I also believe will hurt them tonight against Detroit. Offensively Cleveland has been consistent on the season, and they are averaging only 83.2 field goal attempts per game. However, I am not sure why they want to change much because they have been very efficient ranking eighth and sixth in shooting efficiency and effective field-goal percentage respectively. Defensively, and I've mentioned this before, they have really improved this season and rank third in the league in scoring defense, and again back to pace, allowing opponents only 81.1 field-goal attempts per game which also ranks third. Their defense has been good this season and they rank in the top 10 in most defensive categories from the inside out. This has led to Cleveland to have an average scoring margin of 5.6 which ranks fourth in the NBA. So why their new head coach wants to come in and change up what has essentially been a winning strategy is beyond me. If they want to run with the Pistons, a team that is more accustom to going up-tempo, I think they will have some trouble tonight.


Detroit Pistons
Detroit is averaging 101.9 points per game while shooting 43.3% from the field, and allowing 100 points per game on 45.4% shooting from the field. On the season they are 25-19-2 overall against the spread, and 15-6-1 at home. They have improved by leaps and bounds as compared to last year and head coach Stan Van Gundy is starting to give this team a real identity. They're going to push the tempo, defend the perimeter, and hit the boards. They have been a little bit inconsistent the past couple weeks, but I expect them to be focused and tonight facing the Cavaliers. Offensively, thanks to Andre Drummond, Detroit leads the NBA averaging 58.5 total rebounds per game. Statistically they don't shoot the ball particularly well, but tonight if Cleveland tries to go up-tempo that will be more suited to how Detroit likes to play. On the season they are averaging 88.2 field-goal attempts per game which ranks second in the league, making 38.2 of those on average which ranks ninth in the NBA. The Pistons love to put the ball up and they can score from the inside out. Defensively, although they do like to go up-tempo, Detroit has been good in limiting fast-break points, opponent assists, and rank in the upper half of the league in opponent shooting efficiency and opponent effective field-goal percentage. They are far from a defensive juggernaut, but at home are very tough to beat with a 15-7 record.


Final Analysis
There are three things I really like about Detroit's chances to cover and possibly pull off the upset. First, they match up well with Cleveland.  Second, they are an up tempo team and will be well equipped to run with the Cavs who will want to push tempo. Third and finally, with the Spurs coming up for the Cavaliers tomorrow they might be a little less focused. For one of your NBA picks I recommend backing the Detroit Pistons plus the points and don't be surprised if they win this game straight up.

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