On Friday night, the Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers face off in another In-Season Tournament group state game. Below, we cover our predictions, best bets, and betting odds in our matchup preview of Detroit versus Cleveland.
Detroit Pistons Vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Prediction
No Jalen Duren, no Bojan Bogdanovic, no Monte Morris, no Joe Harris, and Marvin Bagley III is day-to-day with an illness and was spotted practicing with the second unit, indicating he might come off the bench in a more limited capacity.
It has been a tough season for the Detroit Pistons, who have been struggling for several years to put together a coherent team. The mid-2000s were the last time that Detroit had a roster that could compete in the Eastern Conference.
Now, Detroit starts the 2023-24 regular season with a 2-10 record, the worst in the NBA. Additionally, the Pistons are dealing with many injuries, furthering their hopes of developing proper cohesion with their ideal lineups.
Sadly, Cleveland has had some similar problems to start the season. Jarrett Allen and Darius Garland have each missed some time through the team’s first 11 games; Allen is healthy, but Garland is now dealing with a neck injury. As a matter of fact, Garland and Donovan Mitchell are listed as questionable for tonight’s bout. However, the nine-point spread seems to indicate that they will more than likely play.
Still, assuming that Mitchell and Garland can suit up tonight, Cleveland is in good shape to cover the nine-point spread. The Pistons’ frontcourt will be exceptionally thin without Duren and with Bagley potentially playing limited minutes due to illness.
Duren gives Detroit a lob threat in transition and in the half-court, and his physical presence and athleticism in and around the paint force defenses to pay a little extra attention. The Cavaliers will not have to worry about that with Duren not playing and James Wiseman and Isaiah Stewart being their only concern.
Cleveland has struggled mightily this season defending the three-point line, allowing opponents to shoot nearly 39% from deep; however, the Pistons don’t have any three-point shooters (starters) that the Cavs need to worry about besides Isaiah Stewart, who is only a catch-and-shoot threat from deep. Mobley has the length to disrupt those looks. Ausar Thompson (14.8%), Cade Cunningham (29.7%), Killian Hayes (32.6%), and James Wiseman (0%) will all likely be starting, too. That is an atrocious shooting lineup.
Sag way off, protect the paint, and this team will have no chance at putting up even a reasonable number of points unless Alec Burks and Jaden Ivey have career nights. Roll with the Cavs against the spread.
Detroit Pistons Vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Prediction: Cavs -9 (-110)
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Detroit Pistons Vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Best Odds
The Cleveland Cavaliers enter this In-Season Tournament game as nine-point home favorites against Detroit, who will miss a handful of key players. Cleveland has moneyline odds of -375, while Detroit (+295) is a substantial underdog to win outright. The Over/Under for this matchup has hung around 220.5 points, a modest point total.
Detroit Pistons Starting Lineup
Cleveland Cavaliers Starting Lineup
Detroit Pistons Vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Injuries
Detroit’s injury list is extensive: the Pistons will miss Bojan Bogdanovic, Monte Morris, Jalen Duren, Joe Harris, while Marvin Bagley III and Isaiah Livers are marked as questionable.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers will continue to be without Ricky Rubio, Isaac Okoro, and Ty Jerome. Unfortunately, Cleveland also has listed its two start guards, Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland as questionable ahead of this matchup.
Detroit Pistons Vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Key Matchups
Due to a significant injury report for both teams, the key matchup of this game will be between the Pistons’ battered frontcourt and the Cavs frontcourt, which is finally at full health. Check out the key matchup below!
Cavaliers Frontcourt vs. Pistons Frontcourt
Jalen Duren has been a beast to start the season, averaging close to 13 points, 11 rebounds, and three assists on better than 62% shooting from the field. Duren has taken a huge leap from his rookie season last year to this season, and his continued progression will mean great things in the future for Detroit.
Unfortunately, Duren will not be available, and even Marvin Bagley III, who has been a solid bench piece for the Pistons over the past few seasons, is questionable due to an illness. Even if Bagley plays, he could be limited in his minutes, considering he was seen working with the second unit in shootaround ahead of tonight’s game.
If Bagley is only available for limited minutes or misses the game entirely, that leaves the Pistons frontcourt with Isaiah Stewart and James Wiseman; there are quite literally no other true power forwards or centers to relieve the starters. Detroit could move 6-foot-6 Ausar Thompson to the power forward spot for a bit, but that is a dicey move, as he would have to defend 7-footer Evan Mobley.
Detroit might be able to get away with that lineup in some games, but it just so happens that tonight it faces one of the tallest and longest starting frontcourts in the NBA. Advantage: Cleveland Frontcourt.