Struggling Contenders: Cavs Slight Underdogs at Spurs

spurs cavaliers

Swinging Johnson

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 1:15 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018 1:15 PM UTC

Two top teams are slumping as the Cavaliers travel to San Antonio to take on the Spurs in a Tuesday night showdown. Let's review the NBA odds and get on the right side of this matchup.

Cavaliers (27-18 SU, 12-32-1 ATS ) at Spurs (30-18 SU, 24-20-4 ATS) Free NBA Pick: Cleveland +1½Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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  • San Antonio is 1-5 ATS against Central Division opponents.
  • San Antonio is 6-11 ATS versus poor defensive teams - allowing 106+ points per game.
  • San Antonio is 8-9 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record.
  • Cleveland is 5-1 ATS in their last six games as an underdog of 0.5-4.5.
  • Cleveland is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games as a road underdog.

LeBron James may have previously had a span of games in which his team has lost its last five and failed to cover the number in eight straight, but personally I can't remember when. Cleveland got laughed out of its own gym on Saturday when they were rolled by the Thunder, 148-124. King James had just 18 points on the night and was 0-for-4 from the arc. Isaiah Thomas led the Cavs with 24 points, which was a season high for the former Celtic. The points allowed tied a franchise record in a regulation game.

The intriguing aspect of this game is that these two perennial powerhouses are faltering at the same time. The Spurs have lost three of their last four and covered the spread in only one of those contests. In addition, while Cleveland is potent offensively, currently ranked 5th in the league in points scored, the Spurs are getting it done with stellar defense, allowing just 97.5 points per game, tops in the league. However, what San Antonio does well, Cleveland doesn't and vice-versa. The Cavs are surrendering 109.5 PPG (26th), while the Spurs are scoring just 100.6 PPG (28th).

This is a classic superior offense meets elite defense scenario. Defense often wins this battle, but I don't believe that will be the case tonight. The Cavs were blown out the last time they met the Spurs in San Antonio, which was in March of last season, and were also blown out in their last game against the Thunder. Both losses will weigh heavily when they enter the AT&T Center. The team had a meeting Sunday, the day after their loss to Oklahoma City, in which much of their frustration was focused on Kevin Love, who left Saturday's game with an illness and missed practice the following day.

Things are reaching a boiling point in Cleveland, and the fact of the matter is the Cavs are catching the Spurs at a good time. Cleveland is too talented to be this bad. They will right the ship, make the playoffs and could very well be in the Finals against Golden State again this year. The numbers are suggesting this is a good spot for Cleveland despite its recent woes and it won't have to deal with San Antonio superstar Kawhi Leonard -- and Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili and Rudy Gay for that matter -- who have been ruled out of tonight's game. The NBA odds are reflecting the Cavaliers as a rare underdog, and even though the head start is small getting points is better than laying points. Circle Cleveland as one of your NBA picks on Tuesday night and you'll be glad you did.

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