The New Orleans Pelicans face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers in a Tuesday night matchup that features a couple of struggling teams, but most importantly, Zion Williamson.
After beating the Detroit Pistons on the road on Monday night, the Cavaliers will have to head back home to host the Pelicans. Unfortunately, these are back-to-back games, giving Cleveland little rest time and next to no preparation time.
The Pelicans will be coming into Cleveland riding a high after a win over the Boston Celtics on Sunday. Though the Pelicans likely won’t make the playoffs, they’re still looking to win as many games as possible.
With the Pelicans favored by 7.5 points, let’s evaluate both teams and make our decision.
Can The Cavaliers Cover?
It’s a pretty safe bet to say the Cavaliers won’t win this one. Being the second-worst team in the Eastern Conference and the third-worst in the NBA, the Cavaliers don’t have much of a reason to win. At this point, it’s far more likely that Cleveland is playing the odds of winning the draft lottery, hoping to get the No. 1 pick and making some free agency moves in the offseason.
Losing seven of its last 10 games, Cleveland will now have to face a rejuvenated Pelicans team that features one of the most electric athletes the world has ever seen in Williamson.
On top of being one of the worst teams in the NBA, the injuries have started to pile up on the Cavaliers. With Brandon Knight, Dylan Windler and Kevin Porter Jr. all nursing leg injuries, it’s hard to imagine the Cavaliers offense contending with the Pelicans.
Usually, when a team is as bad as Cleveland, it is spotted more points, making it more likely to cover the spread. For some reason, the Cavaliers are only getting spotted 7.5 points in this one. With an overall record of 19-25-2 against the spread, the Cavaliers leave little confidence to cover this small spread.
The New New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans are a team that is one of the most entertaining to watch, especially now that Williamson is in the lineup. After a huge win against the Celtics, it seems like we’re starting to see more of what the Pelicans will look like next season.
An interesting note to remember is that although the Pelicans might not have the wins to show for it, they are the sixth-best scoring team, averaging 114.49 points per game, and the fifth-best three-point shooting team at 37.2 percent.
The good news for the Pelicans is that the injury bug seems to have passed on. Jrue Holiday came back for the game against Boston, and now that Williamson is playing, the team is at full strength in this game versus the Cavaliers.
The spread has been fairly kind to the Pelicans all year, with a record of 24-22-1. The Pelicans have remained above .500. Recently they’ve had a much better record, going 7-3 in their last 10 games.
What I like most about the Pelicans is their ability to cover medium spreads. If the point spread ranges from four to eight points, regardless of whether they are favored or the underdog, the Pelicans can cover.
Pick and Prediction
The Cavaliers will have to travel from Detroit back to Cleveland and get ready to play a full-strength Pelicans team. That isn’t an easy thing for anyone to do, especially considering they’ll have very little preparation time. With so many players being out for the Cavaliers, I can’t trust them to cover this small spread.
The Pelicans are healthy heading into this game. On top of being healthy, they’re also well-rested. With an affinity of covering these medium spreads well, it’d be silly to bet against the Pelicans in this one. I’ll take the traveling team, as the Pelicans cover the 7.5-point spread.