Cleveland Cavaliers (20-18) +8, 183 at San Antonio Spurs (25-11), 8 pm Eastern Thursday, TNT
by Zman of Predictem.com
In a rematch of last season’s league championship series, the semi-slumping San Antonio Spurs host the surging Cleveland Cavaliers in the opener of a very interesting NBA/TNT double-header Thursday night in Alamo City.
NBA betting boards list San Antonio as 8 1/2-point home chalk for this game, with a total of 183. Also, the Spurs are posted at around -380 on various moneylines, with the Cavaliers getting around +290 as road underdogs.
Both of these teams have had their ups-and-downs already this season. Cleveland, after some tough times and an injury to The Great LeBron James, sat at 12-16 on Christmas Day. But since then the Cavaliers have won eight of their last 10 games to pull over the .500 mark. The Cavs, thanks to 51 points from James, continued their recently successful ways with a 132-124 overtime win over Memphis Tuesday, their second consecutive OT victory.
So heading into Thursday’s action, Cleveland occupies second place in the Central Division, 8 games back of the first-place Detroit Pistons.
San Antonio, meanwhile, started its defense of its league title by winning 17 of its first 20 games this season. But thanks to some injuries to some key players, the Spurs have gone just 8-8 since then. San An beat Philadelphia Monday 89-82, their second consecutive win, to ease into a three-way tie atop the Southwest Division with the Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Hornets.
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As we remember, the Spurs swept the Cavs in four games in the NBA finals last season, holding Cleveland to just 80 points per game in the series. But the Cavaliers swept the two regular-season games from San Antonio last year, by scores of 82-78 and 88-81.
So over the course of the last six meetings between these two teams, all played within the last 14 months, the Spurs have won four of those games, while the teams have split the six against the spread. And five of those six games have stayed under their totals, by averaging just 166 total points.
This season, Cleveland is 16-22 against the spread, 8-12 straight up and 10-10 vs. the numbers on the road. On the other side of this match-up, San Antonio is 17-18 ATS this season, a league-best 19-3 SU at home, 12-9-1 against the spread.
The Cavaliers, despite their winning record, rank 18th in the league in per-game point differential at -2.1 per game. Also, Cleveland is shooting 43% from the field as a team, 36% from 3- point range and 72% from the free-throw line. And while the Cavs rank 3rd in the league in rebounding at +2.6 per game, they’re allowing opponents to shoot 46% from the floor.
The Spurs rank 4th in the league in point differential at +5.9 per game, are shooting 46% from the field, 39% from long range and 76% from the line, rank 5th in the league in rebounding at +2.3 per game and are also allowing foes to shoot 46% from the field.
The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com ranks Cleveland 17th at 89.0, San Antone 4th at 94.8. Sagarin’s current NBA home-court advantage figure is 2.75.
The o/u is 19-18 in Cavs games this season, which are averaging 195 total points, while the totals are 16-20 in Spurs games, which are averaging 190 points.
Zman’s Pick: Spurs -7.5