The Sixers look to win consecutive games for the first time this month and tighten their grip on the Eastern Conference’s No. 3 seed. They appear to have an accommodating guest in a lowly Cavs team playing its second game in as many nights. Even without Jimmy Butler, the Sixers look like an outright lock, but what about against the spread? Here’s everything you need to know about betting on the game, including Cavs-Sixers odds.
Betting odds and action
The Sixers opened between a 13.5 and 14-point favorite at NJ sports betting sites, and the line has ticked slightly upward in favor of Philly at DraftKings and FanDuel. As of early Tuesday afternoon, 54% of total spread bets and 79% of the spread money backs the Sixers.
TV and radio schedule
The game will be broadcast locally on NBC Sports Philadelphia in Philly and FOX Sports Ohio in Cleveland. To listen on the radio, tune to 97.5 The Fanatic in Philly and WTAM 1100 in Cleveland.
The big story
The Sixers will be without Jimmy Butler tonight. They are 4-3 when he sits out since acquiring him via trade earlier this season. Brett Brown’s team used a strong second half surge to secure a pivotal home victory over Indiana on Sunday afternoon and will now look to get on a run as it jockeys for playoff position down the stretch. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers are an abysmal 17-50 this season, but come into this game fresh off a shocking 25-point rout of the Raptors last night.
Against the spread info to know
The Sixers and Cavs have had very different seasons to this point, but both squads have been similarly mediocre against the number. The Sixers are 32-35 ATS while the Cavs are 31-35-1 ATS. Philadelphia is 19-16 ATS at Wells Fargo Center this season, going 18-16 ATS as a home favorite. Cleveland, meanwhile is 15-16-1 ATS on the road and has been the underdog in every single one of those games.
As noted above, the Cleveland will play this one on the second night of a back-to-back. The Cavs are 3-9 straight-up in this situation, but a stellar 7-5 ATS in this spot. Also noted above is that Butler won’t play. The Sixers are only 2-5 ATS when he sits out.
The Cavs haven’t won much this season, and when they have, they’ve been a bad bet in the following game. Cleveland is a league-worst 5-11 ATS (only a 31.2% cover rate) in games following a win. Although the Sixers have won much more frequently this season, their 16-25 ATS record (39% cover rate) after a win is the NBA’s third-worst.
Let’s go deeper.
My initial read of this game was that the Cavs were due for a letdown as a bad team coming off a huge win. Throw in the travel and zero rest, and, well, I would expect the trends to suggest they will come out flat. Not so fast.
Road underdogs that won its previous game by 20+ points are 23-21 ATS this season and 9-7 ATS in this same spot when it’s the second game of a back-to-back. Moreover, teams that win by 10+ points in their previous game and then go on the road with no rest as a double-digit underdog are 4-2 ATS this season and 9-5 ATS since the start of the 2017-2018 season.
Does the quality of that blowout win impact the dynamic? Maybe. Any road underdog coming off a game in which it beat a team with a .700 winning-percentage or higher by at least 20 points with no rest (that’s a lot, I know) are only 7-10 ATS since 2003. The idea here would be that the Raptors aren’t just any team, they’re an elite team, and the caliber of the Cleveland win could mean a letdown.
The spread in this game is obviously substantial, so let’s look at what that has meant this season. NBA teams favored by at least 14 points at home are 15-5-1 ATS and the Sixers are 5-4 ATS when favored by double digits at home this season.
Meanwhile, teams that both won its previous game and covered, as the Sixers did on Sunday, that are home favorites of at least 14 points are 114-140-8 since 2003, but are 5-2-1 ATS this season. Go figure.
In terms of the total, the Sixers and Cavs don’t have many basic situational trends that stand out. Both teams play to about an even over/under percentage after a win. Additionally, the over is 17-18 (17-17 when the Sixers are favored) at the Wells Fargo Center and it’s 15-17 when the Cavs are on the road. One trend does, however, jump out. On the second night of a Cavs’ back-to-back, the over is only 4-7-1.
From a more general standpoint, the over is 73-62-4 when the home team is favored by more than 10 points, 42-28-1 when by at least 12 points, and 13-8 when favored by at least 14 points.
Despite a big opening number, the spread continues to rise in favor of Philly during the early afternoon at New Jersey sports betting sites. Big bettors don’t seem to be deterred by such an aggressive spread. The Sixers aren’t great ATS without Butler, and I don’t know if there’s an emotional letdown coming for them after an important win in Joel Embiid’s return to the lineup, but I do know that Cleveland is terrible. It’s tough to back them after traveling on no rest while also coming off a 25-point win against one of the league’s top teams. Plus, laying big points on home teams has been very profitable for bettors this season. I know the expectation is to always speak in absolutes and offer GUARANTEED LOCKS, but that’s not what we’re doing here. I don’t love the Sixers tonight, but I like them more than the Cavs, so that’s my lean. In terms of the total, I’m leaning toward the over, but one note of caution: the under has hit in each of the Sixers’ last seven games and in eight of their last nine.
Something has to give eventually, right?
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