Cavaliers vs. Raptors NBA Picks: Don't Count Toronto Out Just Yet

Friday, May 27, 2016 12:23 PM GMT

LeBron James and the The Cleveland Cavaliers can wrap up their Eastern Conference Finals series with the Raptors, but Toronto has been a hard opponent recently. Get our NBA Pick here.

Odds Overview
This has become a series of Homecourt blowouts so Kyle Lowry and the Raptors will hope form holds on Friday night at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto when they look to even up this Eastern Conference Finals series in this do-or-die Game 6. NBA odds currently have the visiting Cavaliers priced as 6- (Heritage) to to 6½-point (5Dimes) favorites here with the Total (Points) currently in the 196 (Heritage) to 196½-point (The Greek) range. The Money Line (Winner) odds see Cleveland priced at -260 (Pinnacle) with the host Raptors lined at +231 on the takeback as the Home underdogs. The First Half odds have the Cavaliers as 3- (5Dimes) to 3½-point favorites (5Dimes) with the First Half Total presently set at 101 (Sportsbook.ag). The Cavaliers were 10½- to 11½-point favorites in Game 5 and covered easily (Total 196), jumping out to an early 30-point lead and then coasting to a 116-78 win at The Q on Wednesday night.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers (+125 to win NBA Championship, BetVictor) and Head Coach Tyronn Lue are currently odds favorites to win the NBA championship right now but four things make backing LeBron James and the Cavaliers in that market at this Point in Time kind of dumb: 1—The Price. +125 is way too low for what this team still would have to go through to bring the Larry O’Brien Trophy back to Ohio. 2—The Raptors. This Game 6 is in Toronto and will be a bitch for the visitors. The Cavaliers haven’t won the Eastern Conference (again) yet to get to the NBA Finals (June 2) and odds are that the literal odds of betting Cleveland as a likely underdog in that potential future spot may be a little higher than the +125 we see tonight with either the Oklahoma City Thunder (+175 to win NBA Championship, BetVictor) or the Golden State Warriors (+320 to win NBA Championship, Paddy Power). 3—The Western Conference winner, those aforementioned Thunder and Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook or the record-setting Warriors and Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Cutting your teeth on the West is like boxing a Heavyweight while getting through the East only requires Middleweight strength. 4—History.

History has taught us the Cavaliers (44-77, 57.1%) always choke somehow around this point on the calendar. In their Game 5 romp in Cleveland on Wednesday night, the Cavaliers (-1,428 to win Eastern Conference, Sportingbet) Big Three of SF James (23 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds), PF Kevin Love (25 points, 3-for-4 on 3’s) and PG Kyrie Irving (23 points) who had outscored the entire Raptors squad by 9 points in the 1st Half (43-34) in the thrashing. Starting C Tristan Thompson (10 rebounds, 9 points) had a nice game on the middle but it seems like many of his teammates, Thompson plays much better and is so much more Confident at Home at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavaliers Bench scored 29 points in the victory with Richard Jefferson (11 points), Channing Frye (7 points), James Jones (5 points) and Timofey Mozgov (4 points) scoring what seem like unnecessary points in the 38-point sandblasting but backups G’s Matthew Dellavedova (5 assists, 0 shots) and Marvin Williams (0-4) both went scoreless in 21:16 on combined Playing Time while Iman Shumpert (0-1) also had 0 points in Game 6. All three will need to supply some scoring—maybe even as low as 10 combined points—in Toronto here Friday night for Cleveland to win on Friday as the friendly Home Rims and Home-court Advantage has been the story in this series so far with the hosts going 5-0 SU heading in here winning by 31, 19, 15, 6 and 38 points. The Cavaliers (47-48 O/U) have no Injuries to report here with Reserve SG Dahntay Jones (Suspension) now back and available.

 

Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors (100/1 to win NBA Championship, Paddy Power) and Head Coach Dwane Casey seem to now own the Paint at Home in Toronto—Cleveland had just 20 points in the Paint on Saturday—with C Bismack Biyombo picking up his game at the perfect time in these Eastern Conference Finals and C Jonas Valanciunas (Ankle) now back and at least able to provide something underneath. On Wednesday in Game 6, Valanciunas (-17) went 4-for-4 from the Field but had 0 rebounds in 18:27 on the Floor while starting C Biyombo (7 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block, -21) played a shrinking game in Cleveland after looking like Dikembe Mutombo in Game 3 and 4. Only two Raptors (49-51-1 O/U) were in double figures, SF DeMar DeRozan (14 points) and G Kyle Lowry (13 points) while F’s DeMarre Carroll (5 points) and F Luis Scola (7 points) combined with Biyombo to give just 19 points from the Raptors Frontcourt. And the Toronto Bench provided just 23 points in the loss with Norman Powell (6 points), Delon Wright (6 points), Cory Joseph (3 points), Patrick Patterson (3 points), Terrence Ross (3 points) and Jason Thompson (2 points) playing like the Starters. The Raptors (27-69 39.1%) were a pathetic 3-for-17 from behind the 3-point line (17.6%), something the Cavaliers experienced in Toronto in Game 5. Like Cleveland, the Raptors (7/1 to win Eastern Conference, BetVictor) are completely healthy for Game 6 with Valanciunas (Ankle) back and getting some of the Rust (and Fear) out with his valuable minutes on Wednesday. His presence is a welcome thing at this point in the series and both he and Biyombo will have to control the Paint and play much better—as will the Toronto Bench—than they did in Game 5 in Cleveland for the hosts to emerge victorious in this crucial and possibly season-ending game. Let's make our NBA Pick now!

 

 

Site Matters: Last 10 Meetings in Series, Trends, Streaks, Final Thoughts and Game Picks
On the surface, it seems the key for the Raptors here will be in keeping the Cavaliers under that magical 100-point mark but it’s obvious Cleveland will come out and just try to play its same game and hope for a decent start and a chance to hopefully create some separation between themselves and host Toronto in the 1st Half. But we’ve seen how that’s worked out. Trend-wise, the Over is 6-4 ATS in the L10 meetings in this series, but with the Under an impressive 23-6-1 ATS the L30 meetings in this series, 22-6-1 the L29 meetings here in Toronto and this a “leave it all on the floor” game for the hosts, it seems the Side may actually be a clearer look here that the Total with LeBron and the Cavaliers sort of a shrinking violet away from Home (24-17 on Road in Regular Season). And the Underdog has done extremely well of late in this series (18-7 ATS L25) and only two times in the L10 meetings has one of these teams covered twice in a row (CLE-TOR-TOR-CLE-CLE-TOR-CLE-TOR-CLE-TOR) making the Zig Zag Theory worth consideration in this particular spot, even in a potentially clinching situation for the visitors although the hosts are a pathetic 5-11 ATS their L16 dribbles overall. But the Raptors (102.7 F-98.2 PA) have great at Home this season (32-9 SU, 8-2 SU L10) and after rolling right alongs and winning their first 10 games of the Postseason, the Cavaliers (104.3 PF-98.3 PA) all of a sudden look pretty weak on the Road but it seems the month of May always separates the Wheat from the Chaff in this league with the San Antonio Spurs already eliminated and the Warriors on the verge of getting bounced from the Playoff by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night (GSW -7½, 220, Heritage; TNT, Directv 245) because they have also suddenly had trouble winning away from Home.

With the Home team 8-0 ATS the L8 in this series, simply backing the Hosts is what the Trends are shouting and with Love and Irving playing so much better at Home in Cleveland compared to on the Road at the Air Canada Centre and the Cavaliers—who actually didn’t play that great on the Road in the Regular Season—seeming to let Toronto and Biyombo control the Paint in the Great White North means taking the underdog, both on the Moneyline and with the 6½ points seem worth the shots in this situation. The Friday night Toronto crowd will be raucous and the culture of NBA basketball has grown so much this season in this Ontario city with this team having its best year to date and finally having a Roster that can hang with the Big Boys in the weaker Eastern Conference. Although the Raptors have just a 5-5 ATS Record at Home in Playoffs this season, Lowry and Toronto have actually W4 in a row ATS here at the Air Canada Centre after starting the Postseason off 1-5 ATS in the building and this team has gone 8-2 SU at Home in NBA Playoffs and has W5 straight SU and W4 in a row ATS here, albeit the L3 by decreasing margins of 27, 15 and 6. The Raptors should force a Game 7 here on Friday night simply because of how powerful this particular Site and the Homecourt Advantage have been throughout this series. This ain’t your old Raptors, this ain’t your old Air Canada Centre and Expectations have finally become a part of the quotient for this Atlantic Division team although winning a needed game in Cleveland has become problematic and again reveals how important earning or winning that Homecourt Advantage really is in the NBA. If necessary, a Game 7 (if Necessary) would be played back at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Sunday.

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Predicted Final Score: Raptors 100 Cavaliers 93
NBA Picks: Raptors Moneyline +240 & Raptors +6½ 
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline
Week Record: 0-2 — Previous 3 Weeks: 7-2