2021 NBA Betting Picks: Are the Cleveland Cavaliers for Real?

2021 NBA Betting Picks: Are the Cleveland Cavaliers for Real?

Check out our best NBA bets ahead of Wednesday night’s ultra-loaded schedule.

Between a slew of injuries and a major uptick in COVID-19 absences, online NBA betting has become increasingly difficult. There is more parity throughout the league than there has been in recent memory, which can be a great thing, but it's also made for a weird, ever-shifting landscape for betting odds on the NBA Finals.

Among the biggest shocks to come out of the Association this year are the Cleveland Cavaliers. They profiled as an NBA lottery team. Instead, they're contending for a top-four spot in the Eastern Conference. Are these Cleveland Cavaliers for real? Our latest edition of NBA picks is here to decide.

First, however, let's take a look at all of the latest NBA betting odds for Wednesday, December 15 from the folks over at BetOnline:

FavoriteBetOnlineBetOnlineUnderdog
Atlanta Hawks-330+265Orlando Magic
Philadelphia 76ers-230+190Miami Heat
Cleveland Cavaliers-480+370Houston Rockets
New Orleans Pelicans-136+118Oklahoma City Thunder
Milwaukee Bucks-120+102Indiana Pacers
San Antonio Spurs-164+138Charlotte Hornets
Denver Nuggets-198+166Minnesota Timberwolves
Sacramento Kings-116-102Washington Wizards
Utah Jazz-450+350LA Clippers
Memphis Grizzlies-108-108Portland Trail Blazers

Please note these NBA odds are accurate as of early Wednesday morning. Make sure you double-check them before deciding on NBA picks, since they are liable to change right up until opening tip. And also make sure to take a gander at our in-depth reviews of the top online sportsbooks while you're at it. You're bound to find an intriguing fit for all your basketball betting.

It's Time to Take the Cavaliers Seriously

Nearly everyone believed the Cavaliers were entering another rebuilding year during the 2021-22 season. Sure, they have some talent. But they are incredibly reliant on youngsters and wildly short on wings.

Complicated still, they are oversaturated with bigs. They are starting three could-be centers at once in Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley and Lauri Markkanen. It's a weird look. And on top of that, they lost Collin Sexton, last year's leading scorer, for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

Despite it all, the Cavaliers are not only surviving, but thriving. They have one of the league's top-five defenses, Mobley is the runaway favorite to win NBA Rookie of the Year, Darius Garland has made the leap, Isaac Okoro is starting to hit jumpers, and the team grades out as the Association's best when weighting their point differential against their schedule.

People have started mentioning Cleveland as potential contenders, or as a team that could steal a playoff series. Others are reticent to declare them anything. Their matchup with the red-hot Houston Rockets on Wednesday may not be telltale of everything, but great teams must beat clearly inferior opponents. Will the Cavs measure up? We've got Rockets-Cavs picks and a collection of other best NBA bets for you.

Cleveland Keeps Ascending with Win Over Houston

Bettors tend to overlook Houston because of how bad their record is this season. Lately, though, that's been a mistake. They're coming off a huge winning streak in which they showed stark improvement at both ends of the floor.

Of course, this won't matter against the Cavaliers. Cleveland's defense is built to stymie Houston, and the Cavs are starting to show new signs of life on offense. It won't be long before people start wondering whether they should make a win-now trade to improve their championship-contention stock.

OSB Prediction: Cleveland Cavaliers (-480)

Cleveland Cavaliers To beat the Houston Rockets
-480
BetOnline

Indiana Delivers Loss to Shorthanded Milwaukee

Pounce on the Pacers' betting odds before they change. The Bucks are currently slated to have nearly half their roster out of action, due to a combination of COVID-19 protocols and actual injuries. Among those impacted are Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez and Donte DiVincenzo—three of the team's top-six players.

This opens the door for Indiana to take advantage. Though they've been a roller coaster all year, they're actually better than their win-loss showing. The Pacers have a top-12 point differential per 100 possessions and would be a genuine playoff team if they didn't have such a poor record in games decided by three points or less.  

OSB Prediction: Indiana Pacers (+102)

Milwaukee Bucks To beat the Indiana Pacers
+102
BetOnline

Memphis Steals One from Tired Portland Team

Investing in the Grizzlies so long as Ja Morant is sidelined with a knee sprain remains iffy. They have pulled out some nice victories without him, mainly thanks to their defense, but the offense is prone to getting bogged down. 

And yet, the Blazers have been a mess for much of this season. Not only that, but they're coming off an overtime loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday in which Damian Lillard needed to log more than 40 minutes. It would not surprise us if Lillard sits this one out, and even if he doesn't the Blazers will be gassed and still without CJ McCollum, their second-leading scorer.

OSB Prediction: Memphis Grizzlies (-108)

Memphis Grizzlies To beat the Portland Trail Blazers
-108
BetOnline

Washington Gets Back on Track vs. Sacramento

After a scorching-hot start to the season, the Wizards have struggled to stay on the winning track. Their defense remains a pleasant surprise, particularly in transition, but the offense continues to suffer from ice-cold three-point shooting and less-than-ideal guard play.

Fortunately for Washington, they get to line up against Sacramento on Wednesday night. The Kings remain an abject disaster who are not to trusted—especially against teams, such as the Wizards, who work their butts off on defense.

OSB Prediction: Washington Wizards (-102)

Washington Wizards To beat the Sacramento Kings
-102
BetOnline

Atlanta Knocks Off Orlando

Go ahead and sound the alarm on the Hawks' championship-contention chances. They have gone from a potential Eastern Conference favorite to scrapping and clawing among the postseason's mid-end squads. Unless they make a trade for a high-impact wing or start cobbling together more consistent fourth quarters, they will remain a disappointment.

But that has little bearing on Wednesday's game. The Magic are in the early stages of a rebuild, and their rotation currently stretches, like, six real NBA players deep. For all their defensive struggles, the Hawks remain an offensive powerhouse. They'll get the win on Wednesday.

OSB Prediction: Atlanta Hawks (-330)

Atlanta Hawks To beat the Orlando Magic
-330
BetOnline

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to ue for all your NBA betting:

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