The Saturday slate is light for a Saturday. There are only three games in total, with Sunday being the big day this weekend. Saturday’s short three-game slate kicks off at 7 p.m. ET with the final game kicking off at 9 p.m. ET. Let’s take a look at the slate and choose the best bets for Saturday night.
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It’s a huge line, but the Thunder did nothing to help their cause by losing to Charlotte by 17 points on Friday night. They trailed the Hornets by 16 points late in the first quarter, and they were never able to close the lead to single digits. The Cavs last played on Wednesday and will be well rested and ready to roll any team.
Both teams have been solid against the spread this season, but the Cavs have actual wins (27-19, 31-15 ATS and 15-6 at home ATS). The Thunder have a terrible overall record, but they keep respectable games (14-30, 28-16 ATS and 14-8 away ATS). These teams faced off last Saturday in Oklahoma City, and Cleveland barely covered the -4.5 point gap. It doesn’t seem to bear taking the Cavs by 12, but the Cavs trailed the Thunder by 18 points midway through the third quarter and were still able to come back and cover. It shows that the Thunder are not a good team and the Cavs have a lot of fight. The Cavs shoot poorly from the field, were icy beyond the 3-point line and they rebounded, but still covered.
The Cavs have only been double-digit favorites once this season, and they covered against the Magic. Six times they’ve been favorites by six or more points, and they’ve covered in each of those contests. The Cavs are a streaky team. At one point they had a streak of 14 consecutive covers and at another time they covered 11 of 12. Currently they have covered four of their last five games.
The Thunder have the worst True Shooting percentage in the NBA (51.5%) and rank in the bottom third in rebounds and turnovers. Their net rating is the fourth worst (-7.8). It’s all against them on Saturday, including what’s already been mentioned, the Cavs are rested and the Thunder on a straight road trip, their third game in four nights and the last night of a four-game road trip.
Suns -12 (-110)
More than 217.5 (-110)
It’s not fun to take on a big favorite, but these are weird times. That Omicron era is over, but teams are still often thin. The Pacers beat the Warriors on Thursday without Domantas Sabonis, but the Warriors were without Draymond Green and Klay Thompson was still on the minutes limit. Additionally, the Pacers made 42.9% of their 3-point attempts, while the Warriors shot 21.4% from beyond the arc. Despite the disparity, Golden State only lost four points in overtime. Sabonis is still out and the Pacers aren’t going to nail it all while the Suns – basketball’s best team – are missing it all at home.
The Suns have been double-digit favorites twice in the past two weeks (both games have ended). They blew up the Pistons on the road and they got blasted at home by the Heat on Jan. 8. The game against the Heat is worrying, but that’s easily explained. Upheavals in the NBA are not very complex. A team is playing poorly or another team is warming up beyond the arc. That’s about the extent of the possibilities. That’s how the shorthanded Pacers beat the shorthanded Warriors, and that’s how the Heat beat the Suns. Miami shot 50% from the 3-point line. The Suns weren’t particularly bad in this game, but it’s hard to win if your opponent can’t miss. It was an outlier performance that probably won’t happen again. On the season, the Suns held their opponents to the second-lowest 3-point percentage in the league (32.6%).
Following the shock loss to the Heat, the Suns have won five in a row and covered four in a row (they missed covering all five by barely missing coverage against the Raptors). On their four-game ATS streak, the Suns have the best net rating in the NBA (+17.0) and their offensive efficiency rating ranks third (121.4). In that span, they’ve faced mostly slower paced teams and two very good defensive teams, and yet they still score a massive amount of points. The Suns will carry the charge, and the Pacers aren’t completely dead offensively without Sabonis, as evidenced by their win at Golden State on Thursday. However, the one thing the Pacers will be good at is helping this game get to the top in record time.
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