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Wednesday NBA top tip: Cleveland Cavaliers defence to hold firm against the Milwaukee Bucks

Tipstrr basketball expert George Dempsey has been studying the form in the NBA, and has picked out his best value bet from tonight's clash between Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks.

Two NBA heavyweights clash this evening, as the 22-8 Milwaukee Bucks visit the 21-11 Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bucks have posted a 17-11-2 record against the spread (ATS), whilst the Cavs are similarly 17-13-2 ATS.

The three standout teams of the NBA season so far belong to the Eastern Conference, and this matchup pits two of them against each other. The bedrock of their success has been winning games at home, with Cleveland going 15-2 at the FieldHouse.

The Cavaliers have won four straight and will be playing their fifth game in eight days, but this will be the fourth straight at home, so travel fatigue is not a factor.

The Bucks are 3-1 in the same period, overcoming a beat-up Warriors team and the lowly Jazz before losing out to the Grizzlies.

The standout point during those games was the defensive play of both teams. Whilst Cleveland held three of their four opponents to 99 points or less - including Dallas, despite the game going to overtime - the Bucks have not been so watertight.
Either side of a 142-101 loss in Memphis, they allowed the Warriors to drop 111 and the Bucks to score 119. Of course, they breached the 120-point mark three times themselves, but will they be able to impose that sort of game on Cleveland?

The best way to analyse this game is by looking at each team in their respective roles of home team and away team, and there's a real disparity between the two.

It's important to note that the Bucks, on their travels here, are also exponentially better on home court. They're a solid 14-3 in Milwaukee, and 8-5 away. So to have Cleveland as a slim -2 favourite in the handicap market can't help but pique the interest.

The Cavaliers rank number one in the NBA in terms of points allowed per game. Their stingy defence of the basket has allowed their opponents to drop just 104.4 points per game on average, and that number shrinks to 103.5 on this court.

They do, however, rank next to last in points scored per game, but that's a misleading number with the Cavs ranking in the middle of the pack on their home court. 

While the numbers will tell you that Milwaukee average nearly 113 points per game across the season, they actually only average 104 on their travels.

That's a huge drop off. They're struggling to score and they're struggling to impose their pace and style during road games. 

The reason that's a particular problem here is because the Cavaliers rank dead last in possessions per game, and also do a good job of limiting their opponents.
They'll also have to make do without Khris Middleton for the third game running this evening, and whilst his numbers aren't sensational, they're a better team with him on the court.
If Cleveland get their way, this will be a slower-paced, lower-scoring game, and based on the evidence of the season so far, they're better equipped to win such a game.
All things considered, Cleveland Cavaliers -2 appears to be the best value bet.

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