MIAMI HEAT (51-22)
at CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (14-58)
Tip-off: Tuesday, 7:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Miami -13, Total: 197.5
LeBron James plays his second game in Cleveland since leaving town, when the red-hot Heat visit the lowly Cavaliers Tuesday night. Miami has won five straight games and eight of its past nine contests, while Cleveland is 2-9 in its past 11 games. Basketball scores.
James has averaged 27.7 PPG on 50% FG with 7.3 RPG and 7.0 APG in three games versus the Cavs this season. He scored 38 points with eight assists in his first visit to Cleveland on Dec. 2, a 118-90 victory. James has also been sizzling during Miami’s current win streak, averaging 32.0 PPG on 63% FG. In Sunday’s 125-119 win versus Houston, James had 33 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, while teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh also excelled. Bosh torched the Rockets for 31 points and 12 rebounds, and Wade pumped in 30 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.
The biggest reason Cleveland has lost all three meetings with Miami by an average of 20.3 PPG is its poor shooting (39% FG, 31% 3-pt FG). The Cavs have also shot below 40% in seven of their past 11 games, including 37% FG in Sunday’s 99-83 home loss to Atlanta. Baron Davis hasn’t faced Miami as a member of Cleveland yet, but he is finally starting to look healthy with 35 points and 12 assists in 47 minutes over the past two games. Basketball odds.
Miami is 6-10-1 ATS as a double-digit favorite and nearly lost outright the only time it was favored by 10+ points on the road, beating Washington 95-94 on Dec. 18 as 12-point favorite. The Heat are also 5-11 ATS (41%) in their past 16 games overall and 29-34 ATS (46%) when favored with any spread this season. The Cavs haven’t been a great bet this year at home (14-22, 39%), but they are a stellar 8-2-1 ATS in their past 11 games a double-digit underdog. I think Miami will win, but Cleveland will keep it close and cover.
The FoxSheets provides two more reasons to choose the Cavs:
Play On – Underdogs of 10 or more points (CLEVELAND) – terrible defensive team – allowing 103+ points/game on the season against opponent after a combined score of 205 points or more 2 straight games. (47-19 since 1996.) (71.2%, +26.1 units. Rating = 2*).
Play On – Underdogs (CLEVELAND) – poor defensive team – shooting pct defense of >=46% on the season against opponent hot shooting team – 5 straight games making >=47% of their shots. (58-30 over the last 5 seasons.) (65.9%, +25 units. Rating = 2*).
Seventeen of the past 25 games (68%) in this series played in Cleveland have finished Under the total, but this FoxSheets trend sides with Over for Tuesday’s matchup. Basketball spreads.
Play Over – Any team (MIAMI) – average defensive team (92-98 PPG) against a horrible defensive team (>=102 PPG) after 42+ games, after allowing 110 points or more. (75-41 since 1996.) (64.7%, +29.9 units. Rating = 2*).