The Cavs have had a predictably poor season thus far, starting the campaign just 5-13. Conversely, Milwaukee find themselves at the very top of the East, sporting an impressive 15-3 record.
The line opened at Milwaukee -10.5 for this one, with 83% of the early action moving it to 11 points. I really like the contrarian angle in this spot and will happily take the Cavs plus the points here. Despite the poor record, they’ve been very competitive for large parts of the season, especially against strong opponents.
They also enter this one very healthy, with all major rotation players active now that Kevin Love is back. They’re also very well-rested as this is the 4th game of a long 6-game home stand.
Looking at it from Milwaukee’s perspective, this very much has the feel of a trap game. They’re fat and happy from a Thanksgiving feast and this is the lone game of a road trip before they return home.
They know that they only have to turn it on for a quarter to secure the win here and I see a relaxed performance as a result. This is one that is likely fairly close late on, with a Giannis rally that hands Milwaukee the win. I think 11 points is just far too many and you’re better off fading the public in this spot.
Despite being frisky in a lot of games this season, the Grizzlies find themselves 14th in the West with a relatively poor 5-12 record. Utah have been solid but unspectacular, securing 6th place with an 11-7 mark so far.
Utah are 7.5-point road favourites in this spot, garnering around 60% of the early market action. This is another spot where I see value in the home dog, and I like Memphis through the key number of 7.
Having suffered through a bevy of close losses, the case can be made that this team is much better than their record suggests. They beat this very same Utah team and suffered losses to the two LA teams by a combined 3 points.
They shape up well from a health standpoint, with rookie phenom Ja Morant looking the goods in his return against the Clippers. This is a side that is much better at home than they are on the road, which should prove beneficial here.
I also think this is a great line value spot for the Grizzlies. Teams that play at altitude like Utah and Denver tend to be overvalued on the road, which I suspect is the case here.
Memphis match up very well with Utah on the interior, with Crowder, Jackson, and Valanciunas forming a bruising frontcourt. This will allow them to set the tempo here and keep things competitive with easy buckets.
7 is arguably the most important number in NBA handicapping, especially if we get into the free-throw game late. Memphis are a definite live underdog here, but the current 7.5 on offer is too good to ignore.