Unbeatens Clash for NBA Summer League Title
The Summer League Finals will cap off a great tournament showcasing the young talent rising in the NBA. The game will be played Monday between the Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers. Both head into the championship game undefeated through the five games in the tournament, but NBA odds lean toward the Cavaliers, who feature a more reliable roster.
Rockets Perfect Despite Loss of Talent
This Summer League was crucial for the Houston Rockets. The team signed two big free agents in the offseason to change the team’s NBA playoffs odds. On top of that, Houston had the fourth overall pick in the draft, selecting Amen Thompson. However, he would only play 28 minutes before hurting his ankle in the tournament’s first game, scoring 16 points with five assists, three steals and four blocks.
Through the first two games, the Rockets also had arguably the best two second-year players in the tournament. Jabari Smith Jr., picked third overall in last year’s draft, averaged 35.5 points in his two games played. Tari Eason also shined and filled the stat sheet, averaging 23 points with 9.5 rebounds, four assists, and three blocks.
What a night for Cam Whitmore!
🔥 25 PTS | 2 BLK pic.twitter.com/Nzy0r1LVa6
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) July 17, 2023
After Smith and Eason showed they had graduated from Summer League, rookie Cam Whitmore began to take over. The 20th overall pick this year showed that the NBA lines on him may have been correct, projecting him in the lottery. While beating the Utah Jazz 115-101 in the semifinals, Whitmore scored 25 points and averaged 20.4 through the tournament.
Defense Leading Cavaliers
Headed into the 2023 NBA Draft, the Cavaliers did not have a first-round selection, having traded it away to acquire Donovan Mitchell a year ago. That led to Cleveland’s roster primarily composed of players with at least some NBA experience or ones that had spent time in the G-League. Due to that experience, the Cavaliers have had one of the better defenses in the tournament, allowing the fifth-fewest points per game at 86.4, making them a reliable option for NBA picks.
ISAIAH MOBLEY CALLED GAME 😤 pic.twitter.com/iavQTyFYkV
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) July 16, 2023
The Cavaliers were forced into overtime in the semifinals against the Brooklyn Nets, winning 102-99. Isaiah Mobley, the brother of Cavaliers star big man Evan Mobley, headlined NBA news by making the final bucket to beat the Nets and send the team to the Finals. It was the end of an excellent game for Isaiah Mobley, who had 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
The Cavaliers made one draft selection, taking Emoni Bates with the 49th pick. He had been previously one of the top names in the 2023 Draft Class, but injuries and some off-court issues lowered his value. However, Bates has since shown he can be a scorer at the next level, averaging 16.8 points. Efficiency was the main question, but Bates shot 44% from the field and 41% from three. He scored 20 points in the semifinal, adding seven rebounds.
Rockets vs Cavaliers Game Information
- Game: Rockets (5-0) vs Cavaliers (5-0)
- Location: Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV
- Day/Time: Monday, July 17, 9:00 p.m. EST
- Rockets vs Cavaliers Live stream: NBA Game Pass
Rockets vs Cavaliers Betting Lines
Rockets vs Cavaliers Picks and Prediction
Due to Summer League teams not having much chemistry, they tend to struggle on the defensive end, leading to pure offensive threats excelling. Even with the Cavaliers’ more experienced roster playing solid defense throughout the tournament, the Rockets’ offense has been hard to match. They are averaging 110.2 points, 6.4 more than second place. Whitmore has shined in a more expansive role and should help the Rockets get the win.
The Houston Rockets are listed at +110 in our Vegas NBA odds. This means that if you wager $100 on the Rockets, you have a chance to win $110. The Cleveland Cavaliers are -130, offering a chance to win $77 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives the Houston Rockets a 47.62% chance to win, with the Cleveland Cavaliers at 56.52%.
Cavaliers vs Rockets Previous Game (Mar 26, 2023)
It is going to be ridiculously difficult for the Cleveland Cavaliers to cover a spread of 14 points with the dramatic pace they play at. They have done that plenty of late as they have averaged 114.2 points per game over the last 10 contests in which they are 8-2.
But that is what makes this NBA game so fascinating, but the Houston Rockets are going to have to score against them, and that has proven difficult, especially for a team who does not seem to care too much about winning.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are favored with one of the largest NBA lines of the season when they play host to the Houston Rockets on Sunday.
Cleveland, which sits fourth in the Eastern Conference, is in a prime position to improve its NBA playoff standing, or at least inch closer to gaining another spot.
Meanwhile, the Rockets have already clinched the best basketball odds with three other teams at obtaining the top pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.