Indiana Pacers v Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons have been building to become a team that is a factor in the Eastern Conference, but anything less than a Play-Off place this season would be a huge disappointment for them. In fact, I do wonder if Stan Van Gundy can stay on as Head Coach if they are unable to make the Play-Offs in the Eastern Conference.
The Pistons seem to know they are good enough to make the Play-Offs considering the fast start they have made to the new season, but there are still a few areas in which they can improve. There are still some inconsistencies which need ironing out while the Pistons have to show they are capable of producing their best basketball on the road.
A couple of days ago Detroit struggled from the field in a 4 point loss to the Milwaukee Bucks and that is one of the main areas the Pistons need to show they can shoot at their best much more consistently than they do. Two more road games give them a chance to prove they are capable of better and the first of those comes at the Indiana Pacers.
This is seen as a transitional season for the Indiana Pacers, but the players won’t have reduced their own expectations despite Paul George moving to Oklahoma City. The Pacers have won two of their last three after dropping four in a row but they have been beaten in their last couple of home games.
Detroit did struggle shooting the ball in their last game against Milwaukee, but generally, they have found some form from the three-point range in recent games. That could be all important for them against this Indiana Pacers Defense while the Pistons should also be the team who can dictate things on the glass which should see them have the edge in this game.
I just can’t understand Indiana being the favorite apart from the fact they have really gotten the better of the recent series between these teams. However, I think Indiana has declined as a team and Detroit have improved since their last played here in Indiana where the Pacers have beaten the Pistons five times in a row.
You can’t ignore the fact that Detroit has covered in their next game after a loss four times in a row. They are also 5-1 against the spread on the road in their last six games and I will take the points with the road underdog here in a game where I actually favor Detroit to win.
Handicap Betting Recommendation: Detroit Pistons + 1.5 points at 1.95
Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Clippers
It has been a really poor start to the season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but there are signs that they are improving and settling down. For the first time this season they have had three consecutive wins and now the Cavaliers return home with some confidence behind them.
It hasn’t been completely convincing from the Cavaliers who have needed some big second-half performances to beat the Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets. They could have easily lost the last two of those games, but Cleveland will build confidence from making the big plays down the stretch.
They will definitely be feeling better than the Los Angeles Clippers who have lost eight of their last nine games including the last six in a row. That includes in their last three road games and now the Clippers have to begin a tough Eastern Conference road trip beginning with a visit to the defending Eastern Conference Champions.
Losing Chris Paul would have hurt any team, but the Clippers have also lost some of their identity now. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan remain with the Clippers, but the assists to turnover ratio have not been something Doc Rivers would have enjoyed.
A playmaker like Paul is hard to replace and the Clippers shooting has really not been up to the level you would expect at the start of this season. They might have more success against a Cleveland team who have not been playing at a high intensity on the Defensive side of the court, but the Clippers own Defense has been porous to say the least.
That is where the Cavaliers will feel they can take over this game at some point especially with an improving three-point shooting behind them. Turnovers and a lack of intensity might be the biggest factors going against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but I have mentioned I feel they are close to putting a strong run together and they may be in the midst of one now.
Cleveland has yet to cover the spread at home this season, but they are 15-6 against the spread in the last twenty-one of this series. The Clippers have also really been struggling at the window during their poor run and I am not sure they can snap that here so taking Cleveland to lay the points looks the way to go.
Handicap Betting Recommendation: Cleveland Cavaliers – 6.5 points at 1.95
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