If the NBA season ended today, the Cleveland Cavaliers would enter the playoffs as the two-seed in the Eastern Conference. Cleveland is 14-1 over their last 15 games, which has them a half-game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks in the standings. With another win on Monday night, Cleveland is in the midst of a six-game winning streak, and their next challenger will be a Wizards team that was blown out at home on Sunday.
In a battle between one of the best teams in the league against one of the worst, it’s best not to overthink things when it comes to betting on the game, especially in the first half.
The Washington Wizards roster construction is weak as it is, so with their leading scorer out of the lineup on Sunday, the game went as expected. With Kyle Kuzma out with a shoulder injury and the Phoenix Suns in town, the Wizards would lose 140-112, giving them their 8th loss over their last ten games. Washington’s second-leading scorer, Jordan Poole, would finish the contest with four points and a +/- of (-16).
Overall, that offensive performance by the Wizards has them ranked 28th in the league in points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time over the last two weeks (109.4). While it is expected that Kuzma will be back in the starting lineup tonight, the Wizards remain one of the most inefficient offenses in all of basketball.
Over their last ten games alone, Washington is 29th in catch-and-shoot field goal percentage, 29th in pull-up field goal percentage, and 28th in field goal percentage on drives, which gives them an overall effective field goal percentage in that span of 51.7%. To make matters even worse, they’re hosting a Cavaliers team tonight that is 2nd in the league in points allowed per 100 possessions in non-garbage time over the past two weeks (109.8).
Most recently, on Monday night, Cleveland held a Kings team that is 12th in offensive efficiency percentage over the last ten games to 110 points. With that defensive effort, the Cavs have now held eight of their last ten opponents to 110 points or fewer, and to make things even scarier for the rest of the Eastern Conference, Cleveland is also 10th in points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time on offense over the last two weeks.
This game opened with the Cavs being listed as (-10.5) point road favorites, but they have since been bet up to (-11.5) on most shops. Per usual, though, my play is on the first half number, which is set at (-6.5) on some Ohio sports betting apps. It’s not very surprising, but with how they’ve been playing lately, the Cavs enter tonight ranked 1st in the league in 1H NET rating at (18), while the Wizards are 29th in that same category.
Washington is 3-6-1 ATS in the first half of their last ten games, and before we get into their likely struggles on offense, we’ll look at their defense. In the previous ten games, the Cavaliers have gotten 37.1% of their points from three and 16.8% of their points in transition. In that span, the Wizards rank 16th in fastbreak points allowed per game, and opponents are knocking down 37.8% of their three-point attempts in the first half against them.
The Wizards have taken an opposite approach offensively, as no team has gotten a higher percentage of their scoring from inside the paint over the last ten games (54.2%). The problem is that the Cavs allow the fewest points in the paint per game in that span, with an average of 43.
Cleveland Cavaliers 1H (-6.5)(-115) on BetMGM
*odds subject to change