Not only did the Cleveland Cavaliers drop a game, but they saw their starting point guard Ricky Rubio exit with an ACL tear. He was ruled out for the remainder of the season, joining Collin Sexton on the sidelines.
Cleveland has won seven of its last nine games but playing without two of its best guards makes their job a lot tougher. That will have a big impact on their NBA odds.
On Thursday, they play the Washington Wizards, who started the season 10-3 but have dipped to 17-17 in the blink of an eye.
Which team is the right side in the sportsbook? Let’s take a closer look at this NBA game betting matchup.
Game: Cleveland Cavaliers (20-14) at Washington Wizards (17-17)
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
Day/Time: Thursday, 7 p.m. ET
Cleveland Cavaliers at Washington Wizards
Guard Position Serious Weakness for Cavs
With Rubio out for the year along with the absence of Sexton and Darius Garland being placed in the league’s health and safety protocols, it’s a question who the team will have at the guard position for Thursday’s game.
Even one of their backups, Dylan Windler, is listed as questionable to return. Clearly, the backcourt won’t be the answer to winning. Instead, the Cavaliers will have to focus on frontcourt dominance.
Jarrett Allen also might not be available, which leaves rookie Evan Mobley along with Lauri Markkanen and Kevin Love.
Isaac Okoro has been solid in the limited minutes he has been getting as well. When healthy, there was no doubt that the Cavs still have the talent to pick up a win here. Now, it’s incredibly difficult with them missing so many bodies.
Big Performance Coming From Wizards?
The talent is certainly there for this Washington team but the Wizards have just fallen into a midseason slump. At some point these talented players will find a way out of it – if they can get on the floor together.
Bradley Beal, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Rui Hachimura are all listed as questionable to play for this game. Assuming all remain out of the lineup, the pressure will fall upon the shoulders of Kyle Kuzma and Spencer Dinwiddie.
Kuzma has averaged 13.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists while Dinwiddie has put up averages of 13.1 points, five rebounds and 5.6 assists.
All of their missing players are guys that can create their own shot, which makes scoring the that much more challenging. Washington has to be efficient on offense and hope that it can take advantage of Cleveland’s lack of guard depth right now.
Washington Opens As Betting Favorites
The Wizards are currently favored in this matchup by a small 3½-point margin, according to the odds if you bet online. Before Rubio’s injury, Cleveland would have likely been the favorite in this spot.
Before laying any money in this game, double-check who is playing. For now, the Wizards are the play as the Cavs backcourt is too ravaged right now.