Saturday, December 7

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Orlando Magic, 11 am
Cavs +3.5

The Cavs find themselves 13th in the West, sporting a very poor 5-15 record on the season. Orlando have been slightly better, sitting in 8th place with a 10-11 record.

The Magic have opened as 3.5-point favourites here, getting almost 80% of the early action. Especially considering their injuries, I like the contrarian angle of taking Cleveland plus the points.

Despite their relatively poor record, Cleveland are still a fairly frisky home side. After getting blown out by Detroit last time out, I think they’ll be motivated to put things right here.

They’re about as rested as you can get in the NBA, playing their last of a whopping 6-game homestand. They don’t have any major injury doubts for this one, with Tristan Thompson expected to play here.

I also like this from a line value perspective when you consider some of Orlando’s recent spreads. A mere 5 days ago, they were 8.5-point favourites against an injury-ravaged Golden State side.

Assuming 3 points each way for home court, that would suggest Orlando would be a 9.5-point home favourite in this game. Especially considering the injuries to Golden State there and how close they played Orlando, I think this line should be shorter.

Cleveland has a noticeable edge on the interior, with Thompson and Love having the best of it against a frontcourt without Vucevic. They’re an ugly duckling team for sure, but the Cavs have every shot to win this and the 3.5-point spread is great insurance in case they can’t.

Chicago Bulls vs Golden State Warriors, 12 pm
Warriors +5.5

To top it all off, I’ve picked another excellent game for my 2nd tip here. In all seriousness, while the game may not be the best quality, I do see some value here.

Chicago have opened as relatively strong 5.5-point favourites, getting 82% of the early action. This team has become a public-darling of late and I just don’t understand why.

Golden State is finally as healthy as we can expect this season, with Green, Russell, and Looney all expected to play here. The return of Russell is especially important as they were essentially getting nothing from their other guards.

Although they’ve won their last couple, I still don’t have much faith in this Chicago side. I think they’re poorly coached and lack quality depth. They’re the ones dealing with a few key injuries here, with both Porter and Hutchison ruled out.

This really limits their depth on the wing, which is typically Golden State’s biggest weakness. Without this matchup disadvantage, their rotation really opens up and we can expect better games from Robinson and Burks here.

Chicago’s frontcourt has been very disappointing thus far and I think the finally healthy Warriors interior matches up well with them. They’ve struggled on the inside even in their recent wins and I’d expect more of the same here.

Especially nearing the end of a winless road trip, I can’t help but think we get a stronger effort from Golden State here. These two sides are fairly evenly matched and I’ll happily take the contrarian side getting 5.5 points.