Cavaliers vs. Pistons Betting Preview: Value in Player Props Market

Action Network contributor James Turvey previews Friday night's game between the Cavaliers and Pistons and offers up a betting prediction.

Cavaliers vs. Pistons Odds

Cavaliers Odds -6.5
Pistons Odds +6.5
Over/Under 222.5
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via <!–FanDuel–>FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

After a big home win on Wednesday against the Boston Celtics, a win that seemed to announce their arrival as serious contenders, the Cleveland Cavaliers head to Detroit for what — on the surface — appears to be a prime letdown spot.

The Pistons are a disappointing 2-7 to start the season.

This will be the first meeting of the year between these division rivals, who split the season series last year.

Of course, that was a Cavaliers team without Donovan Mitchell, and a Pistons team without Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren, who have both excelled in their rookie seasons.

Let’s look at Friday’s matchup and see where we can find betting value.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Although I noted that the Cavs seem to have reached another level with Donovan Mitchell in the introduction, they may actually be without their superstar on Friday. The electric guard rolled his ankle during Wednesday’s win and though his adrenaline got him over the finish line, he’s questionable for Friday.

This Cavs team has looked pretty good without star guard, Darius Garland, who returned to the team Wednesday. On the one hand, they might be fine without Mitchell, on the other, this contest has “trap game” written all over it.

Coming off the big win over Boston and with this being the first of a five-game road trip that features marquee games against the Lakers, Clippers and Warriors, it’s fair to wonder if: A) the Cavaliers will see this as a good spot to rest Mitchell heading into that West Coast trip and B) whether the team will be looking ahead/behind a bit.

However, it’s worth noting this is a great matchup for the Cavaliers in many ways. With Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen manning the frontline, the Cavaliers have two distinct strengths that line up with the Pistons weaknesses.

First, Cleveland hits the offensive glass. Allen ranks third in the NBA in offensive rebounds at 4.3 per game.  The Pistons rank 27th in defensive rebounding rate, at just 71.9%.

On the flip side, Detroit relies on points in the paint to drive its offense. Outside of Bojan Bogdanovic, the Pistons don’t have many dead-eye shooters, and their best player, Cade Cunningham, is going to have a lot of trouble going against the Cavaliers elite interior defense.

Detroit Pistons

So, do the Pistons have any chance on Friday?

Well, if Mitchell is out, that’s a big boost, but even more so, it may come down to a few big factors.

First, can Bogdanovic stretch out the Cavs bigs and get them uncomfortable chasing him around the perimeter? Mobley is one of the most flexible defenders in the league, truly able to cover every player in the league, but he doesn’t often spend the majority of a game running around the perimeter. If it were Game 7 of the Finals, I’d have zero doubt in his ability to shut down Bogdanovic. But for a potential trap game in early November? I could see him slipping just a touch and giving Bogdanovic a chance at some good looks.

Second, it’s going to be on Duren and Isaiah Stewart to battle on the boards. Stewart is averaging over 10 rebounds per game, but compared to his opponent on Friday, Allen, he is grabbing a far fewer of the total rebound chances he’s had. That will have to flip if Detroit wants to surprise Cleveland.

Finally, Cunningham is going to have to treat this game as a chance to show up against a top division rival backcourt who he is likely to be battling with for the next several years. Cunningham had a rough outing last time out, but before that he had looked to really take another leap in his young career, averaging 27.8/8.3/7.5 in a stretch against the Warriors, Bucks and Hawks (twice).

Cavaliers-Pistons Pick

This is a really sharp line. I have this game projected right around 115-108 in favor of Cleveland. The line is CLE -6.5 and the total is 222.5.

If Mitchell is out, I might lean toward Detroit and an under, but once again, I see more value in the player prop market.

The books have props out for Detroit, but not Cleveland until the Mitchell news drops. For Detroit, I am eyeing Cunningham under 21.5 points. I love the idea of him stepping up against a rival backcourt, but the matchup is rough for him. The Cavs are truly an elite defense, especially in the paint.

I’d also put a half unit on Stewart under 9.5 rebounds. This is nearly even money, which is key because he’s averaging 10.3 rebounds per game this season. However, he has to deal with Mobley and Allen on the glass, and that’s before worrying about those guys getting him in foul trouble. Under 9.5 is -103 at Caesars.

Finally, when Cleveland lines come out, I’d look for over 12.5 for Allen rebounds and if Mitchell is out, I’d play point escalators on Caris LeVert (sprinkling up to 30+ points because his true feast or famine nature is hard for the books to handle).

Picks: Cunningham under 21.5 points (one unit) | Jarrett Allen over 12.5 rebounds (one unit) | Stewart under 9.5 rebounds (half unit)

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