Clippers vs Cavaliers Picks and Predictions: All Signs Point to Under

The Clippers' offense has been firing on all cylinders of late but a stingy Cavaliers defense at home in addition to some stars potentially sitting out makes the Under a play worth targeting. Read more in our NBA betting picks below.

Last Updated: Jan 29, 2023 10:36 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Evan Mobley Cleveland Cavaliers NBA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Sunday’s short NBA slate is headlined by a non-conference clash between the Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Los Angeles plays the second stop of a six-game Eastern road trip and the second of a back-to-back test after edging Atlanta on Saturday night. That was the Clippers’ fifth straight victory and fourth straight cover against the spread with a 4-1 ATS mark in that span.

A banged-up Cleveland squad is struggling with consistency heading into Sunday, boasting a 2-4 SU record and a 3-3 ATS count in its last six outings.

The Cavaliers are coming off a tough stretch of schedule in which they played three straight road games and Sunday’s contest is just their fourth home stand in the past 13 games, going back to January 6.

I run down the spread and total for this East-versus-West encounter and give my best NBA picks and predictions for Clippers at Cavaliers on January 29.

Clippers vs Cavaliers best odds

Clippers vs Cavaliers picks and predictions

As it stands – and that means squat in NBA betting – the Los Angeles Clippers are expected to have their big guns on the floor in Cleveland tonight. The risk of L.A. sitting the likes of Paul George or Kawhi Leonard is very real, considering this is the second of back-to-back outings. But we’re working with what we’ve got.

That pair has very much been the beating heart of this recent hot streak from L.A., fueling an offense that has averaged close to 127 points per game during this five-game run. And while there’s no denying the star power of the pair, the Clippers have also benefited from some soft opponents in the past five games.

Los Angeles has scored two wins over San Antonio (30th in defensive rating), Atlanta (19th), Dallas (23rd), and the L.A. Lakers (20th), shooting a collective 56.2% from the floor, including a white-hot 48.5% clip from beyond the arc. 

This matchup with Cleveland is an abrupt change of scenery in terms of defensive opposition. The Cavaliers are No. 2 in defensive rating on the year, giving up only 106.1 points per home game while limiting those foes to 46% shooting. 

The Cavaliers also play a much slower tempo on offense compared to some of the Clippers’ recent foes, with the likes of the Lakers, Hawks, and Spurs all ranking out Top 10 in pace rating. Cleveland, on the other hand, is the slowest tempo in the Association (96.14) which does jibe with L.A.’s methodical pace with sits 25th in pace.

The last time the Clips took on a tempo similar to their own was the January 22 matchup with Dallas, which ranks 29th in pace rating. That 112-98 final score (210 points) finished well below the closing total of 222 points and the matchup owned an overall pace rating of 90.50. It was the lone Under in L.A.’s current five-game winning run.

Cleveland’s pick-and-roll heavy offense not only runs a slower tempo, but the Cavaliers are a far better defensive team than the Mavs, with one of the toughest interior defenses in the NBA. The Cavs give up the third-fewest points in the paint, clean the glass, and take care of the ball, limiting opponents to any second-chance buckets.

Cleveland has shown some weakness to perimeter shooting, allowing foes to fire at a 37.3% rate from beyond the arc. But while Los Angeles is shooting well from distance during this run, the back-to-back setup and road-heavy sked could have its legs feeling heavy as Sunday’s game plays out.

The Clippers were a strong outside shooting team before this streak, knocking down 37% of their looks from downtown, but regression is bound to rear its ugly head in Cleveland tonight.

While this total ticks down, the spread for the Cavs is climbing (from -4.5 to -6.5). Cleveland isn't looking to get into a shootout with L.A. anytime soon, meaning the market is calling for a classic Cavs grinder of a game. 

We’re going to go Under the total in this non-conference clash, which should also give us a solid number if the Clips do sit some starters and the Cavs stars are out of action once again.

My best bet: Under 215.5 (-110 at 888sport)

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Clippers vs Cavaliers spread analysis

Tracking NBA spreads is a headache these days, with so many top talents opting to sit out games. This non-conference contest is no exception. Cleveland opened as a 4.5-point home favorite late Saturday night following L.A.’s win at Atlanta and that spread has jumped to as high as -6.5.

The line movement would indicate potential positive news around Cavs superstar Donovan Mitchell, who has missed the past two games with a groin injury and is tabbed as questionable for Sunday. Veteran forward Kevin Love is also questionable after sitting out two straight games with back pain.

The market move could also be attempting to get ahead of any injury news from the Clippers, who could possibly rest some key players on the second game of back-to-back outings. As of this writing, there are no injury designations for guys like Paul George or Kawhi Leonard, but if you’ve been betting on NBA for the past few years, you know that doesn’t mean squat.

It is a bit of a puzzling spread considering the real injuries for Cleveland and the recent form from Los Angeles, but the Cavaliers are a very sound team on their home court with an average margin of +7.8 as hosts – fourth highest in the league. That’s made for an NBA-best 16-8-1 ATS record inside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. 

The Clippers’ recent winning streak has been a windfall for L.A. backers and has proven this team is a real contender with both Leonard and George in the lineup. Los Angeles, which is 4-6 ATS on zero rest this season, has been electric on offense over that five-game span, averaging 126.8 points on better than 56% shooting from the floor.

On the year, the Clippers own a 14-13 ATS mark on the road, but it’s tough to put much weight in season-long stats for this squad considering the talents coming in and out of the lineup since the start of the season. As it stands, L.A. is head and shoulders above the rest of the league in net rating during this winning streak. 

Clippers vs Cavaliers Over/Under analysis

The Over/Under total for Clippers-Cavaliers hit the board at 215.5 points and hasn’t strayed too far from that mark, with some books dealing the total as low as 214.5. 

With Leonard and George on the floor, Los Angeles is a tough team to stop offensively and is currently operating at a very efficient rate, boasting a skyrocketing advanced offensive rating. Los Angeles has gone Over the total in four of the past five games, including just topping the 231-point total with a 120-113 win over Atlanta last night.

Cleveland will put that scoring surge to the test. The Cavs are one of the best defensive teams in the land, sitting No. 2 in defensive rating and limiting foes to just 106.1 points per game at home. The Cavaliers are extremely long inside and even with Mitchell and Love potentially missing again, Cleveland can still lean into its defense to keep contests close.

Both of these offenses do play a slow tempo, with Cleveland ranked out dead last in pace rating and the Clippers sitting 25th in tempo. Los Angeles is 22-30 O/U on the season but 17-10 O/U away from home – thanks in part to this recent run. Cleveland boasts a 23-28 O/U record, including a 12-13 O/U count as a host.

Clippers vs Cavaliers betting trend to know

Cleveland is 3-7 Over/Under in its 10 games hosting Western Conference competition this season. Find more NBA betting trends for Clippers vs. Cavaliers.

Clippers vs Cavaliers game info

Location: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, OH
Date: Sunday, January 29, 2023
Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports West, Bally Sports Ohio

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