The overachieving Cleveland Cavaliers visit the underachieving New Orleans Pelicans and are the decided favorites per the NBA betting odds. Even going by the latest news, stats, and injury reports, the Cavaliers should be able to handle the Pelicans even with their player absences. New Orleans has been decent as of late but Cleveland has been better.
Rolling Cavaliers Won’t Be Stopped
Pelicans’ Turn To Be Sidelined
Prior to losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the New Orleans Pelicans had won four straight games. Never mind that the teams they beat were shorthanded thanks to Covid issues, wins are wins, especially for a franchise that was done before the season even tipped off.
Superstar Zion Williamson has not played a single game for New Orleans. Now, the team has lost most of its key players. Joining Williamson on the sidelines is All-Star forward Brandon Ingram (Achilles) and a handful of others in quarantine. Josh Hart also is questionable due to a sprained ankle.
The Pelicans say that the left Achilles soreness which knocked Brandon Ingram out in the first quarter of Sunday’s loss at Oklahoma City has left him doubtful for Tuesday’s game against Cleveland.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) December 27, 2021
Big man Jonas Valanciunas (illness) is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday after missing the previous two games due to a non-Covid illness. He and Devonte’ Graham will be doing the heavy lifting for New Orleans, which is ranked 24th in both offense and defense. The Pelicans are just 4-8 as an underdog at home and have a 6-9 record against teams at .500 and above. Even against an incomplete team, the Pelicans may be difficult to bet online.
Cavaliers Getting It Done No Matter What
Not even quarantine can slow down the red-hot Cavaliers. Outside of a stumble against the Boston Celtics, Cleveland has appeared like a top-three team in the Eastern Conference. With both Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley in quarantine, the Cavs destroyed Toronto by 45 points, their largest margin of victory in 30 years. They also beat an undermanned Milwaukee Bucks.
Mobley will be a game-time decision but leading scorer Darius Garland went into the healthy and safety protocols on Tuesday. The Cavaliers own the second-best defense in the NBA and their offense is starting to come around. Against Toronto, the Cavs hit a season-high 22 threes while holding the Raptors to 41.6 percent shooting. In fact, Cleveland is holding opponents to just 42.6 percent shooting in Decemver, which is a hair below Brooklyn for the best in the league.
Don’t look now but Cleveland is at its best since a dude known as LeBron used to own the city.
Cavaliers vs Pelicans Head to Head
Cavaliers vs Pelicans Game Information
Time: 8 PM ET
Location: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans
Cleveland Cavaliers vs New Orleans Pelicans Live Stream: NBA Game Pass
Cavaliers vs Pelicans Betting Lines
Cavaliers vs Pelicans Prediction
Cleveland is being set up to either dominate or flop hard here. This team has played lock-down defense and has been aided by playing depleted rosters, which would be the Pelicans here. Without leading scorer Ingram, New Orleans needs Valanciunas to play, The Pels also stink on defense, which would help Cleveland score at will.
A line of 3½ points is a bit low for Cleveland, which has won by double-digits in its last 11 victories. As a road team this month, the Cavs have a 10.9 net rating and are 4-2 straight-up. Take them and the points on the online sportsbook.
Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers -3½
Scoring tends to be higher during the Cavaliers’ road games thanks to their defense not being as potent as when at home. But that doesn’t been the case lately. Cleveland leads the league in defensive rating on the road this month and the G-League Pels will be too discombobulated to put up a functional offense.