Charlotte Hornets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers: Spread, Line, Odds, Predictions, Picks and Betting Preview
CHARLOTTE HORNETS vs. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS GAME INFO
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
TV Coverage: NBA League Pass
CHARLOTTE HORNETS vs. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS MONEYLINE, SPREAD, TOTAL, AND ODDS
Moneyline: Hornets -134 | Cavaliers +114
Spread: Hornets -2
Total: 214.5 points
NBA Championship Odds: Hornets +16000 | Cavaliers +25000
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CHARLOTTE HORNETS VS. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS NEWS AND NOTES
It may be the first game of the year, but the Cavaliers are still dealing with a bunch of injuries.
The most important injury involves Kevin Love. He’s dealing with a strained right calf, and the team has already ruled him out for this contest. Love is arguably still the Cavs’ best player, so that is obviously a huge deal. He averaged 17.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per game last season in just 31.8 minutes.
Additionally, Kevin Porter Jr., Dante Exum, and Matthew Dellavedova have also been ruled out. None of those players move the needle, but it does mean the Cavs will be shorthanded.
On the other hand, the Hornets are expected to be at essentially full strength. Gordon Hayward is dealing with a finger injury, but he was able to get through a full practice on Monday and Tuesday. He said that he will play in this contest, and the team didn’t even list him on their injury report.
Hayward was a big addition for the Hornets during the offseason. They signed him to a four-year, $120M contract, and while that may have been an overpay, there’s no doubt that he’ll be able to make an impact this season. The Celtics increased their Net Rating by +4.9 points per 100 possessions with Hayward on the court last year (per Cleaning the Glass), which was the second-highest mark among their regulars.
CHARLOTTE HORNETS VS. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS PREVIEW AND PICK
The Cavaliers opened as one-point favorites, but they’ve moved to two-point underdogs following the Love news. That’s a pretty significant move, but I’m not sure that it’s significant enough. The Cavs simply don’t have much talent on their roster; it’s going to be tough for them to overcome.
They have some promising young players on the roster – particularly Collin Sexton – but they still have a long way to go in terms of development. They are playing the long game in Cleveland: drafting young players and giving them time to blossom. That could pay dividends in the future, but they are expected to be one of the worst teams this season.
On the other hand, the Hornets are all-in to win right now. They don’t have the talent to contend with the top teams in the conference – or the middle teams for that matter – but they want to push for one of the final playoff spots in the East. That’s why they’ve spent big money over the past two years on guys like Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward. That has put this team in one of the worst positions in the league from a salary cap perspective, but it should give them an edge over teams like the Cavs.
The Hornets also may have lucked into a future star during the 2020 NBA Draft. They were able to secure LaMelo Ball with the No. 3 overall pick, and he is already one of the better passers in the league. His jump shot remains a work in progress, but he has an incredible ceiling. He’s going to come off the bench to start the season, and he should combine with Miles Bridges to give the Hornets’ second unit a big edge vs. the Cavaliers.
Overall, I think this line is still a few points too low.
The Pick: Hornets -2