Cavs might be a player at the NBA trade deadline

GamingToday.com is an independent sports news and information service. GamingToday.com has partnerships with some of the top legal and licensed sportsbook companies in the US. When you claim a bonus offer or promotion through a link on this site, Gaming Today may receive referral compensation from the sportsbook company. Although the relationships we have with sportsbook companies may influence the order in which we place companies on the site, all reviews, recommendations, and opinions are wholly our own. They are the recommendations from our authors and contributors who are avid sports fans themselves.

For more information, please read How We Rank Sportsbooks, Privacy Policy, or Contact Us with any concerns you may have.

Gaming Today is licensed and regulated to operate in AZ, CO, CT, DC, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MD, MI, NV, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA, WV, & WY.

The next major mileposts of the long NBA season come over the next few weeks when the league takes a break for the All Star festivities surrounding the All Star game to be played in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 18. Regular season play will be on hiatus from Friday, Feb. 16, through Wednesday, Feb. 21.

Prior to the All Star break will be the NBA trade deadline. Usually occurring after the break this season’s deadline is Feb. 8, earlier than in seasons past.

Many teams are expected to be involved in trade talks over the next couple of weeks as they attempt to tweak their rosters for the run to and in the Playoffs. Cleveland is the team most often mentioned as being in need of a major addition as they seek a fourth straight trip to the NBA Finals.

The latest key season injury to a marquee player occurred late last week to New Orleans’ star big man DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins who injured his Achilles last Friday. The Pelicans had been playing some fine basketball over the past few weeks and currently are tied for the sixth seed in the West.

San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard has played in just nine of the Spurs’ 52 games and is back on IR with his lingering right quad injury with an uncertain timetable to return.

Injuries have always been part of sports and have long presented challenges to handicappers and bettors as to the value of key players who miss games due to injury or other factors such as rest.

The advent of advanced metrics has at least provided some measure of team effectiveness with and without certain players in the lineup. Tools such as plus/minus points scored when a specific player – or combination of players – is/are on the court is at least one way to evaluate the relative performance of players while on the court and in their absence.

It is an imprecise measure but it is still better than guessing or going on gut instinct because both of those approaches can be justified as “making sense” since the arguments used in support of the gut or guess approach work from a logical standpoint but may have no basis if properly researched.

As I have noted over the years, handicapping and betting the NBA has become much more of a situational exercise. Scheduling dynamics, rivalries, revenge or “bad blood between opponents” often determine whether players will be rested or play and also if a focused effort is in store for a specific game.

With the constant running up and down the court and the pounding taken by the legs and knees basketball might be the most physically demanding of the major sports on a game to game basis.

Power Ratings and the like are still important and remain a solid tool in comparing the potential and achievement of competing teams and players.

But more and more they must be considered within the context of the “IF” and the “ALL.” As in “If both teams play to their established levels” and “All other factors and conditions being equal.”

Handicapping and betting the NBA remains a challenging, often frustrating, often exhilarating exercise we look forward to on a nightly basis.

Here are three games to be played over Super Bowl weekend.

Miami at Philadelphia (Friday): Miami started this week holding the fourth seed in the East with Philadelphia sitting eighth, three games ahead of ninth seeded Detroit. This is their first meeting of the season. Miami is off a game in Cleveland on Wednesday and plays at Detroit on Saturday. The 76ers play at Indiana on Saturday and this is their first game home after a four-game road trip that ended Wednesday in Brooklyn.

As judged from their seeding both teams have been pleasant surprises to this point although neither is expected to pose any threat to the Conference’s top trio of Boston, Cleveland and Toronto. Philadelphia’s success has been largely due to the gelling of all that young talent accumulated in their multiple seasons of “tanking.” Miami has used a blend of youth and veterans to achieve their lofty seeding. The 76ers have played well at home since the start of the new year.

Since enduring a five-game home losing streak that covered most of December (0-5 ATS) Philly enters this week having won three straight and five of six to begin 2018 (5-1 ATS). This game should be competitively priced and it is worth noting the 76ers are 6-2 both straight up and ATS, at home and on the road, as favorites since back on Christmas Day. PHILADELPHIA

Houston at Cleveland (Saturday): This is their second meeting of the season but it’s been nearly three months since Houston hosted and defeated Cleveland, 117-113, on Nov. 9. The Cavs did cover as 5.5 point underdogs. The pointspread woes of the Cavaliers were discussed in some depth last week.

Cleveland did win and cover their last two games through this past Sunday, which followed a stretch in which the Cavs were 3-10 SU, 1-12 ATS since Christmas. Houston has been at or near the top of the Western Conference all season but also endured a mid-season slump. In late December the Rockets lost five in a row as part of an 0-7 ATS run. But they’ve resumed their winning ways, having won 8 of 10 since early January through last Sunday (6-4 ATS).

Cleveland should come a small favorite here as the Cavs have been home underdogs only once this season, when they lost to Golden State by 10 points as 5.5 point dogs on Jan. 15. The Rockets are not the Warriors but they are playing at an elite level, standing 35-13 and four games behind Golden State as the second seed in the West. Cleveland still has many issues being addressed as the trade deadline approaches. The Cavs are playing with revenge but the Rockets should also be motivated to sweep the season series against a team that has been to three straight NBA Finals. HOUSTON

Portland at Boston (Sunday): This game will have added interest from those who will have played props from this game tied to events in the Super Bowl that kicks off later in the day. This is their first of two meetings this season.

Boston has been the top team in the East since the start of the season but, even at 35-25, leads Toronto by just one game for the top seed. Kyrie Irving is playing at an MVP level, averaging nearly 25 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds per game in his first season since coming over from Cleveland.

 Although Portland may be considered as having underachieved, thus far the Blazers are 27-22, seeded seventh in the West and on a pace to win 45 games, slightly more than their Season Wins Total of 43.5. Damian Lillard is the centerpiece of the team. Allowing 98.5 points per game, the Celtics are second only to San Antonio in fewest points allowed (97.4) and they and the Spurs are the only teams holding foes to under 101 ppg. This is the middle game of a three-game road trip for Portland, having played in Toronto on Friday and then playing in Detroit on Monday.

Boston has not played on back to back nights in over a week and a half and this is their third straight home game. Their competitive 4-point loss at Golden State last Saturday was their fifth loss in six games but could be the signal of having bottomed out and the end of what might have been their mid-season doldrums. BOSTON.

About the Author

Andy Iskoe

Owner and author of “The Logical Approach,” Andy Iskoe has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football.

Get connected with us on Social Media