Cleveland’s  Jordan Clarkson  drives between Toronto’s  Jeremy Lin (left) and  Kyle Lowry Monday (Tony Dejak)
Cleveland’s Jordan Clarkson drives between Toronto’s Jeremy Lin (left) and Kyle Lowry Monday (Tony Dejak)|Associated Press

NBA Tuesday: Sixers Laying Too Many Points

Also Bucks-Pelicans, Blazers-Clippers

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

CAVALIERS (+14) at SIXERS (222.5), 7 p.m.
Pick: Cavaliers (+14)

It’s not often we’d advise taking Cleveland on the second night of a back-to-back, but Tuesday seems like the time to do it. The Cavaliers (17-50) are actually covering numbers of late, picking up ATS victories in three of their last four games and six of their last nine. The Sixers (42-25) haven’t closed as double-digit favorite in over two months. They happened to lose that game by 123-121 at home against Atlanta on Jan. 11.

Philadelphia has been a hard team to handicap recently as the Sixers have some impressive wins but a handful of uninspiring losses as well during the last two weeks. To lay this many points, we need to see more consistency out of Philly.

When it comes to covering point spreads, Cleveland has been the better bet recently and the Cavaliers had an impressive 25-point victory Monday night against Toronto. It’s Cleveland or pass here on the side, but we like Cleveland enough to make it our pick.

BUCKS (-9.5) at PELICANS (237.5), 8 p.m.
Pick: Under (237.5)

I’m not sure I’ll ever endorse going over a total of 235 or higher. We have one on Tuesday’s NBA card and we’re going under between the Bucks and Pelicans. Milwaukee (50-17) is one of The Association’s best teams and New Orleans (30-39) has been playing shootout after shootout recently. So, where’s the value on the under?

We tend to take New Orleans’ scoring outbursts with a grain of salt given most of them were against lottery teams just like itself. Here’s a look at the scores of New Orleans last 10 games against current playoff teams.

3/8/19: Loss vs Toronto, 127-104
3/6/19: Loss vs Utah, 114-104
3/4/19: Win at Utah, 115-112
3/2/19: Win at Denver, 120-112
2/25/19: Loss vs Philadelphia, 110-109
2/22/19: Loss at Indiana, 126-111
2/14/19: Win vs Oklahoma City, 131-122
2/4/19: Loss vs Indiana, 109-107
2/2/19: Loss at San Antonio, 113-108
1/30/19: Loss vs Denver, 105-99

You’ll notice a couple of common threads here. The Pelicans lost a lot of these games and didn’t score as much as they have against the lottery teams they’ve faced in 2019. All but one of these games landed under 237.5. The logic here being that playoff teams are likely just that because they defend to the league average rate at worse. This total suggests both teams are going to score above the league average rate and we don’t think the home team will.

TRAIL BLAZERS (-2.5) at CLIPPERS (231.5), 10:30 p.m.
Pick: Over (231.5)

The Los Angeles Clippers (39-29) just keep on winning games and covering point spreads. Doc Rivers’ bunch is 9-1 ATS in its last 10 and won eight of those 10 games. The bad news for the Clippers is that their opponent Tuesday is playing well of late too. Portland comes in at 7-3 (SU and ATS) in its last 10 games. While the Trail Blazers (40-26) did lose two straight against Memphis and Oklahoma City recently, they quickly reverted back to their winning ways on Sunday defeating Phoenix, 127-120.

This might be the most entertaining game on the schedule in the NBA on Tuesday and we’re expecting plenty of points. Lou Williams poured in 34 for the Clippers off the bench Monday and Montrezl Harrell added 20 in a reserve role for Los Angeles in a 140-115 blowout victory against Boston. We’d normally be a little concerned about going over this high of a total with one of the teams wrapping up a back-to-back. However, the lopsided score allowed Rivers to use plenty of players and keep his top dogs rested.

As for Portland, only Minnesota and San Antonio have hit the over at a better clip out West. The Trail Blazers had a couple days off, and have scored 117 or more in four of their last five. We’re betting on another good offensive showing from Portland on the road Tuesday and for the Clippers to keep this game competitive. We wouldn’t be surprised if both teams touched 120.

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