Suns vs. Cavaliers Odds, Pick, Prediction: A Necessary Fade on the Over/Under (January 4)
David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
- The Phoenix Suns close out their six-game road trip in Cleveland where they face the Cavaliers Wednesday.
- The Cavaliers enter the matchup as 5.5-point favorites after a thrilling win two nights ago.
- Chris Baker breaks down the Suns vs. Cavaliers odds and explains below why he's targeting the over/under.
Suns vs. Cavaliers Odds
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These two teams are coming off two wildly different performances. The Phoenix Suns were held to 83 points in a blowout loss to the New York Knicks Monday. The Cavaliers are coming off arguably their most emotionally gratifying win of the season as they rallied behind a career-high 71 points from Donovan Mitchell to defeat the Chicago Bulls in overtime on the same night.
The Suns are in desperate need of a win as they have lost six of their past seven games and now sit eighth in the Western Conference standings. Can the Suns end their losing streak? Or will they continue to stack up losses during this extended road trip?
Let’s break down the Cavaliers vs. Suns odds and see how these two teams match up with each other.
Suns Lost on Offense Without Devin Booker
I discussed it above, but the Suns have been absolutely dreadful since losing Devin Booker, losing six of their last seven games. These games haven’t been particularly close either as four of them have been double digit losses and only one of them has been inside of a possession.
It’s pretty clear that this offense is completely lacking of playmakers as Chris Paul approaches the twilight of his career. Paul just simply isn’t the same player that he used to be and is currently posting career low shooting percentages at the rim (50%) and from the midrange area (42%)of the floor.
He is also posting a career low usage rate (24.7%) and effective field goal percentage (49.6%). CP3 just isn’t an efficient high-usage point guard anymore and it is being exposed during this prolonged stretch without Booker. Outside of Paul and Cameron Payne, the Suns are completely devoid of playmakers as they have zero players who are currently posting an above 15% assist percentage.
Focusing on the matchup with Cleveland, I don’t see many major edges for this Suns offense. The Suns rank 4th in offensive rebound rate, but the Cavs do a good job on the defensive glass ranking 4th in defensive rebound rate themselves.
The Suns offense is predicated on jumpshots, as they rank just 29th in rim rate on the year. The problem here is that the Cavs defense has actually done a good job of limiting clean looks as they rank 12th best at limiting opponent 3-point rate and fourth in opponent midrange FG percentage.
One area where the suns may have an advantage is in transition, where they rank 10th in transition offensive rating. The Cavs have struggled defensively in transition as they rank 22nd in defensive rating and 28th in transition rate allowed.
This suns offense has been brutal in the half court without Booker so pushing the pace off misses will be a massive key if the Suns want to compete here. The Cavs defense is solid and they should have no issues limiting this Suns team as long as they force them to play in the half court.
Can Cleveland’s Offense Remain Hot?
Monitor the injury report here, but if both Garland and Mitchell are healthy expect this Cavs offense to roll through this Suns defense. The Suns defense ranks 28th in defensive rebound rate and the Cavs offense ranks 11th in half court offensive rebound rate. Additionally, I just don’t have much faith in the point of attack defense of the suns given the current state of Chris Paul.
With Chris Paul and Cameron Payne getting the bulk of point guard minutes, I don’t expect the Suns to be able to hold up against pick and rolls and isolation possessions against a confident Donovan Mitchell coming off a 71-point explosion on Monday night. Behind the Suns point of attack defense lies Center Deandre Ayton who seems to be fundamentally misvalued by NBA world.
There seems to be a widespread perception that Ayton is some sort of elite rim-protector/defensive stopper, but that just hasn’t been the case this season. Ayton ranks below the 35th percentile in both Block percentage and Steal percentage and the Suns defense has actually been +6.9 points worse per 100 possessions with him on the floor, according to Cleaning the Glass.
If we zoom out and analyze him from a league-wide perspective, he ranks 62nd of 62 qualified centers in Defensive RAPTOR, according to FiveThirtyEight. Ayton has been woeful on defense this season and he should struggle against the big trio of Allen, Mobley, and Love on Wednesday night.
I expect the Suns defense to have issues against a scorching hot Cavaliers offense.
With Darius Garland currently being listed as doubtful I lean towards the under 218 here. Evan Mobley may be returning for the Cavs and that would be significant boost for their defense.
We just saw the Suns play an unbelievably methodical game against the Knicks where there was only 86 possessions in the entire game. Now the Suns get to go up against a Cavs team that rank dead-last in the NBA in pace.
I also think that fatigue could be a factor considering the Cavs just played an overtime thriller that saw multiple key players exceed 38 minutes. Donovan Mitchell played a remarkable 50 of the potential 53 minutes in that victory over the Bulls.
The suns also may have their own fatigue issues as they have been six flights in the past 11 days. This team has been traveling constantly and it is starting to reflect in their recent box scores. I expect this to be a slow-paced methodical half court game so take the under 218 and play it down to 217 here.
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