Cavaliers vs. Bucks Betting Odds & Picks: Injuries Point Toward Total
Stacy Revere/Getty Images. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo
- The Cavaliers and Bucks meet on Wednesday night in a matchup of top Eastern Conference teams.
- Milwaukee has been installed as a slight favorite at home in this matchup.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown, including a betting pick.
Cavaliers vs. Bucks Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Cleveland Cavaliers will travel to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks for what is a short one-game road trip for the Cavs.
Cleveland started the season off hot, but has since lost four straight games and now enters this matchup with an overall record of 8-5. Milwaukee is in a similar position, having won its first nine games of the season but going 1-3 since.
Both Milwaukee and Cleveland have cooled down tremendously over the last week or so, but one team will turn things around and get back in the win column after this game. Will that team be the Bucks at home, or will we see Cleveland snap its four-game losing streak and steal a win on the road?
Cavs Hurt by Injuries
After trading for Donovan Mitchell in the offseason, many believed the Cavs would be one of the handful of teams that could legitimately contend for the Eastern Conference title and potentially win the NBA Finals.
Through Cleveland's first nine games of the season it looked like those beliefs were slowly coming to fruition, as the Cavs went 8-1 with their only loss coming on opening night to Toronto. In that nine-game stretch the Cavs posted the sixth-best Offensive Rating in the NBA at 114.8, but perhaps even more impressive was their play on the defensive end of the floor.
In that same nine-game span, Cleveland posted a Defensive Rating of 102.9, a rating that ranked second behind only the Bucks. That was largely because the Cavs were only allowing their opponents to shoot 44.2% from the floor overall and 34% from behind the arc, two marks that ranked inside the top-10 of the NBA.
However, due to some recent injuries, Cleveland's production on both ends of the floor has begun to decline.
Jarrett Allen and Mitchell have both been sidelined over the course of Cleveland's last two games, and Allen is set to miss this matchup as well. As a result of their absences, we have seen Cleveland's Defensive Rating soar to 119.3 in their last two games, and their Offensive Rating has fallen from 115.5 to 113.6
It is clear that the Cavaliers have been far less effective on the defensive end of the floor without Mitchell and Allen in the lineup, as evident by allowing their opponents to score 120.7 points per game in their last three games. That is up from their season average of 108.9, and shows they can easily be exposed without Allen in the picture.
Milwaukee Misses Holiday
The Milwaukee Bucks have been a tough defense to crack this year, so it is no surprise that they won their first nine games of the season.
Entering this matchup, the Bucks rank first in the NBA in Defensive Rating at 105.0. Their opponents are having loads of trouble being able to score from anywhere on the floor, as Milwaukee allows just 46.2 points per game in the painted area and are holding their opponents to shooting 44% from the floor.
However, a large reason for their defensive success has been because they have had a healthy lineup to begin the year, but that has changed over the course of the last week.
Khris Middleton has yet to play a game this season, and once again will be sidelined for this matchup, but perhaps the most impactful injury has been to Jrue Holiday.
With Holiday sidelined, we have seen Milwaukee's Defensive Rating rise nearly ten points to 114.8 in their last three games. Additionally, opponents have shot 39% from behind the arc when Holiday is not in the lineup, which further illustrates the lack of a defensive presence Milwaukee has on the perimeter with him sidelined.
This is a matchup containing two defenses that are trending in the wrong direction, and there are still a ton of question marks surrounding the health of players that would help reverse that trend. As a result, I think we are likely to see a high scoring game.
In addition to not having a defensive presence on the perimeter in their last three games, the Bucks have struggled tremendously to lock up opponents in the paint. According to TeamRankings, Milwaukee is surrendering 56.7 points per game in the paint in their last three games, the second most in the NBA in that span of time.
However, Cleveland has also lacked a perimeter presence on the defensive end during their losing streak, as the Cavs are allowing their opponents to shoot 44.4% from three in their last three games. Milwaukee is more than capable of exposing that flaw.
Even with some key players listed as questionable, I think the door is still open for the over in this game, as neither Cleveland nor Milwaukee can keep the ball out of the hoop regardless of who is on the floor.
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