Nets vs Cavaliers Picks and Odds

Steve Nash

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash pulls down his mask and smiles at his players during the fourth quarter of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in New York. The Nets defeated the Wizards 119-114. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
  • The 9-6 Brooklyn Nets visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on January 20th
  • Cleveland is 6-7 on the season and will hand Jarrett Allen his debut against his former team on Wednesday
  • Get the latest odds, betting preview and a pick below

The Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers matchup on January 20th. Jarrett Allen, who went to Cleveland as part of the James Harden trade, is in line to make his debut for the Cavs against his former team. Already hit by injuries, the Cavs have won just two of their last seven as they cool off from a hot start.

Brooklyn is 9-6 on the season. Harden has shone in his first couple games with the team, but this is a big night for Steve Nash and co. It’s the first look at the NBA’s newest big three – Kyrie Irving is scheduled to return.

The Nets are unsurprisingly heavy favorites.

Brooklyn Nets vs Cleveland Cavaliers Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Brooklyn Nets -10 (-114) -480 O 222.5 (-110)
Cleveland Cavaliers +10 (-106) +360 U 222.5 (-110)

Odds taken on Jan 20 from FanDuel.

Harden’s Strong Start

James Harden has gotten off to as good a start as he could have hoped for. He became the first player to record a 30-point triple-double in his debut against Orlando. Brooklyn got the better of the Milwaukee Bucks in an Eastern Conference showdown in his second outing, and Harden was once again dominant, scoring over 30 points and registering 12 assists.

Harden has been going out of his way to be the model teammate. He has mixed his isolation scoring with playmaking. The dynamic on and off court is about to change with Kyrie Irving’s return, though, and it will be fascinating to see how the two work in the backcourt together. Harden has been as devastating as ever when he can take a defender one-on-one – how will Irving slot into the offense?

This is a question that goes way beyond Wednesday’s games, but this could be revealing of their initial plans on the offensive end. It’s our first glance at this big three, and our first opportunity to see if the ball movement from the wins over Orlando and Milwaukee is as prevalent when all three are on the floor. Irving’s return should, in theory, mean fewer Harden-dominated possessions.

Rested Cavs

Cleveland’s last two games were due to be with COVID-hit Washington. The Wizards were unable to play, meaning the Cavs have been off since Friday. Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince have been forced to wait for their debuts, and there has been locker room unrest with Kevin Porter Jr on his way out of the team. The rest will have been nice, but the Cavaliers could still be without their backcourt pair of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. Both are day-to-day. Kevin Love is out, too.

With so many absences already this year, Cleveland’s numbers are difficult to properly evaluate. A string of woeful offensive performances without their starting backcourt leaves them last in the league in offensive rating.

Their defense is at the other end of the spectrum. They rank 2nd in defensive rating, which is astonishing for a team which sits 24th in percentage of opponent shots at the rim. Opponents are shooting almost 40% from three, too. Cleveland leads the league in opponent field goal percentage at the basket – some of that is good defense, some of it is early season fortune.

Larry Nance Jr has been great on defense. Isaac Okoro has been very impressive for a rookie. Allen will help them on that end.

2021 NBA Championship Odds Tracker

Brooklyn to Cover

As impressive as Cleveland have been on the defensive end, and as vulnerable as Brooklyn is on that end, the Cavs just don’t have the firepower to matchup. They need Sexton and Garland to play to have any chance of being competitive on Wednesday.

There are medium-term questions for the Nets to answer. Those are irrelevant for a January matchup with a weakened Cavaliers team. Brooklyn is still in the luxurious days of the honeymoon period – they are a great bet to cover even at +10.

Pick: Brooklyn Nets -10 (-114)

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