Why do the Cavs force me to write about them in every single betting guide intro? I hate them, yet I can’t imagine a league without them. Who are the Cavs, really? Are we supposed to bet on them tonight? Do we bet against them? Are they better or worse? The one thing I do know is that they can’t get any worse against the spread.
Hopefully our panel of experts knows what to do when a team trades their entire roster away, because I for one have no idea. Don’t act like you do, either. — Mark Gallant
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LA CLIPPERS AT DETROIT PISTONS (-3.5) | O/U: 221
7 p.m. ET | ESPN
What I’m watching for: No one knows how to scheme you better than your former teammates. But the Clippers don’t have the personnel to physically match Griffin. Drummond vs. DeAndre should be a battle, but a wash. What’s interesting here is how much more balanced and deeper the Clippers are, especially with the Pistons’ injuries. Detroit has been red hot, but their schedule has been filled with teams on back-to-backs and lottery squads.
This feels like a sneaky tough game for Detroit. — Matt Moore
What the metrics say: It’s the
Blake Griffin Boban Marjanovic revenge game. The Pistons are hot right now, having won five straight and all four with Griffin in town. Their main lineup with him — a combination of Ish Smith-Reggie Bullock-Stanley Johnson-Griffin-Andre Drummond — has blitzed opponents, posting a +9.5 net rating in 150 minutes together. They’ve primarily done it on the defensive end, holding opponents to just 91.2 points per 100 possessions and a 45.7 percent effective field goal rate. They’re cleaning up the boards, which makes sense given the size of Griffin and Drummond, and they’ve rarely fouled. They will likely come back to earth, but the eye test suggests they do have nice defensive upside and could give Griffin’s old team problems tonight. — Bryan Mears