Betting Raptors & Cavaliers Slow-Paced Eastern Conference Showdown

Charles Stark

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 11:46 AM GMT

The Eastern Conference playoffs look like the lesser matchup of the NBA championship semi-final games. NBA Odds have Cavaliers as a strong home favorite in game one as they face Raptors.

Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
NBA odds makers have made Toronto a +10.5 underdog like at Pinnacle -109. For my NBA pick today I am going to back the Raptors to stay within the double digits. Although Jonas Valanciunas is out I like for this game to be a little tighter than most people anticipate.

 

Toronto Raptors
Toronto won two out of three games versus Cleveland this season and ranks fourth in the NBA allowing opponents just over 36 field goals per game. There is doubt this team is up against the wall in this matchup against a Cleveland team that is rolling right now. However, there are a few good reasons to back the Raptors getting double digits. Toronto has been great in limiting opponent assists this season, ranking sixth in the league, getting out and defending well from the inside out. As well, defensively they have been solid in limiting transition and extra shots ranking fourth in the league in both opponent fast break points and opponent rebounds per game.

The key factor out of all this though will be the pace and if Toronto can control tempo I think this gives them a great opportunity to stay within single digits. On the season the Raptors ran at one of the slowest tempos in the league ranking 27th at only 81.6 attempts per game and ranking third at opponents only getting 81.4 attempts per game. On top of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan playing at high level as contributing factors expect Toronto to slow things down as much as possible against the high octane Cavs. If they can do this, and I think they can, they will stay within the number.

Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs have won eight straight playoff games and rank third in the NBA in three point shooting percentage. They have been absolutely on fire from beyond the arc and this should be troubling against a Toronto team that despite being solid defensively rank 27th in the league in opponent three point shooting percentage. However, as mentioned, they do a decent job in controlling things and allowed opponents just 23 attempts from distance per game which ranked seventh in the league. The last time they met at the end of February this was the key to Toronto’s win as they limited the Cavs to just 24 attempts from range, well below their over 30 per game average.

Offensively Cleveland is really deep and can score from all over the floor but defensively they have been less than perfect ranking in the middle of the league in most opponent shooting percentage and efficiency categories. Also their strength at point guard in Kyrie Irving is matched up well with Toronto’s Lowry. No doubt Cleveland is tremendous offensively but if they rely solely on this aspect the Raptors have enough to exploit some things offensively on their end last time Lowry went for 43 points against them. Still not convinced? Read our additional breakdown of this game and cash in on Raptors +10.5.

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Free NBA Pick: Toronto Raptors +10.5
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker