Jazz vs. Cavaliers Odds, Pick, Prediction: Cleveland’s Defense Lends Value to the Total (December 19)

Jazz vs. Cavaliers Odds, Pick, Prediction: Cleveland’s Defense Lends Value to the Total (December 19) article feature image

Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Evan Mobley #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

  • The Cavaliers are home favorites (spread: -6.5) against the Jazz in a matchup between two teams trending in opposite directions.
  • The Jazz are more healthy than they have been of late, but will they rise to the occasion against a stout Cavaliers defense?
  • Kenny Ducey breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Jazz vs. Cavaliers Odds

Jazz Odds+6
Cavaliers Odds-6
Time7 p.m. ET
TVNBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The wheels are nearly off the Utah Jazz express, and a meeting with the Cleveland Cavaliers could take this once-promising team to just a game above .500. The Cavaliers are playing incredibly well at the moment, entering as winners of three straight, including two against the Dallas Mavericks.

Is there any significant edge we can find here, or should the game be as straightforward for the Cavaliers as the line would indicate? Find a Jazz vs. Cavaliers betting pick and prediction below.

Can Jazz the Jazz Find Their Rhythm?

The Jazz have dealt with some injuries in recent weeks, which has contributed in part to their slide. At one point, they were without Mike Conley, Collin Sexton, Jordan Clarkson and Lauri Markkanen. This threw the backcourt into a crisis while Markkanen's absence also significantly hindered the offense.

As it stands on Monday, there aren't too many more concerns. Kelly Olynyk is questionable with what looks like a minor injury, and if he's good to go, Sexton will be the only player expected to miss this game. Even without the explosive guard, that's not too big of a hit; Utah has actually been 1.7 points better per 100 possessions with him off the court this season.

The question, now, becomes one of just how good the Jazz are at full strength. Was their start to the season a fluke? Well, they're currently 14th in rebounding and 25th in defense. There are teams that can survive a poor showing in one of these two areas, but it's difficult — even for a team with a top-five offense — to maintain its winning ways when it is consistently getting beaten on the other end of the floor.

The Jazz have also been playing in much slower over the last four games as their Pace of just 98.56 sits 19th in the NBA during that span. For context, this team was in the top 10 all season long in Pace before recently falling to 11th. Over their last five games, the Jazz have the 20th-ranked offense in the NBA. Things are getting ever so bleak.

Cavaliers Defense Has Been Dominant

The Cavaliers have been something of an unders machine of late. The under has cashed in 13 of the Cavaliers' last 16 games, bringing their unders record to 19-12 on the season. Unders are also 10-5 when the Cavaliers have been home favorites this season.

This is a huge testament to how this defense has played. The Cavaliers are fresh off a stellar outing against a very dangerous Mavericks offense, allowing just 99 points per 100 possessions. Over the last 10 games, only the New York Knicks have a better Defensive Rating than the Cavaliers.

One of the Cavaliers' greatest defensive strengths has been their ability to limit 3s, ranking inside the top 10 of the NBA with a 34.6% 3-point percentage allowed. Cleveland has also been excellent against midrange jump shots, allowing just 39.3% to fall.

In addition to playing lockdown defense, the Cavaliers also play at a snail's Pace. Cleveland ranks dead last in Pace (95.87) this season and has seen its number of possessions hit 100 in just two games. That's an impressive feat.

Jazz-Cavaliers Pick

The Jazz rank seventh in 3-point accuracy this season and fourth in frequency (41.5%). However, the Cavaliers are excellent against the 3. On top of this, Cleveland has shot the three a decent bit at 37% of the time, which ranks around the league average, and the Jazz have had an even-better 3-point defense than the Cavaliers at 34.2%.

This Jazz defense is rounding back into form with some of these injured players returning, but I do think they have some real concerns offensively. Those should be further exposed by a stout Cavaliers defense, and the painstakingly slow pace of this game should help us get under this already-low number. I'd play this one down to 220.

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