Portland Trail Blazers vs Cleveland Cavaliers: Preview and betting guide

Norman Powell, Dean Wade, Jarrett Allen, Portland Trail Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers, betting guide, preview (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Norman Powell, Dean Wade, Jarrett Allen, Portland Trail Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers, betting guide, preview (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Portland Trail Blazers take on the Cleveland Cavaliers at home tonight, their third straight game without Damian Lillard. Since Dame joined the injury report for his lingering abdominal ailment, the Trail Blazers have gone 1-1. They nabbed an impressive victory over a struggling Atlanta Hawks team and then fell short against a depleted Miami Heat squad.

Portland is teetering on a tight rope at this moment. General Manager Joe Cronin and the rest of the Blazers brass have to decide whether to throw in the towel for the season or try to make a push and rejoin the playoff ranks. The Trail Blazers are one game behind the San Antonio Spurs for the 10th-seed and a play-in spot, but also just one game ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder for the second-worst record in the Western Conference.

This clash against the Cleveland Cavaliers and the next few contests will play an important role in determining the future of this season for the team. If Portland can gain ground towards the play-in tournament with Lillard on the sidelines, it might still be possible to make a run given a few shrewd roster moves. If they flail, Cronin and Dame may just decide that it’s best to shut it down and begin preparing for 2022-2023.

Evan Mobley, Norman Powell, Portland Trail Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers
Evan Mobley, Norman Powell, Portland Trail Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Portland Trail Blazers vs Cleveland Cavaliers (01/07/22): Preview and betting guide

Injury Report:

Cleveland Cavaliers:

Cedi Osman – probable (health and safety protocols)

Rajon Rondo – probable (health and safety protocols)

Portland Trail Blazers:

Damian Lillard – out (abdomen)

CJ McCollum – out (lung)

Larry Nance Jr. – out (knee)

Cody Zeller – questionable (health and safety protocols)

Both teams are nearly fully recovered from their bouts with omicron — at least for the time being. The Cleveland Cavaliers have the advantage on the injury report in this one, with the Trail Blazers down three starters.

Game Line: Cleveland Cavaliers -6, -250 moneyline

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been a pleasant surprise all season, to the dismay of Larry Nance Jr. who requested out of Cleveland to play for a playoff team.

As did every team, the Cavs have struggled with COVID, but have tread water at 5-5 in their last 10 games. Even with Collin Sexton out for the season, inspired play from youngsters Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen, and Evan Mobley have helped lead Cleveland to their current sixth-seed standing in the East.

With a stout defense — third in the NBA in defensive rating — the Cavs trio of young guns, buoyed by a strong cast of veterans, have mustered enough offense to earn them a 21-17 record.

With an already small roster — and Nance Jr., and potentially Zeller, out for tonight’s matchup — the Trail Blazers figure to struggle against Cleveland’s jumbo squad that features Allen, Mobley, Love, and Lauri Markkanen, sometimes three of them at the same time.

With three starters out and a bad matchup size-wise, the Cavaliers should be able to win this one by over six points.

Verdict: Cleveland Cavaliers -6

Over/under 216.5

WynnBet figures that this game won’t be a shootout.

Neither of these teams has a been barnburner this season and with the Portland Trail Blazers missing their two top scorers, they’ll be hard-pressed to amass the 109 points they put up against a shorthanded Miami Heat squad last time out.

The last time these two teams clashed, they combined for 211 and that was with Dame and CJ having decent scoring nights.

With Cleveland’s stingy defense and middling offense, in combination with Portland’s injury report, this should be a rare under for the Trail Blazers.

Verdict: Under 216.5

Next. Robert Covington shares how Damian Lillard welcomed him to the NBA. dark