NBA Picks: Cash Big With Raptors +10.5 vs. Cavaliers

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 11:51 AM GMT

Just when you thought it was safe to fade the Toronto Raptors, they beat the NBA odds and the Cleveland Cavaliers in back-to-back games. What about Wednesday's Game 5?

Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Roll goes up, roll goes down. After smoking the NBA odds by riding the UNDER in the first round of the playoffs, we've honked eight straight picks here at the home office. Not a pretty sight. Then again, the playoffs themselves haven't been pretty, either. We trust you've been keeping your bet sizes small during these tumultuous times.

So here we are with the Eastern Conference Finals all squared at 2-2. The Cleveland Cavaliers blew out the Toronto Raptors in the first two games, then Toronto returned the favor in the next two. But the Cavaliers remain 10.5-point favorites for Wednesday's pivotal Game 5 (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), so maybe we'll go back to our original hypothesis and recommend the Raptors for your NBA picks. They should have some extra value given the latest from the injury front.

Jonas and the Children
The big news for Toronto supporters is with big man Jonas Valanciunas (27.5 PER, +4.3 BPM). He was activated for Game 4, although he didn't end up playing – the word on the street before Monday's game suggested this might happen. Mind games? Maybe not; the Raptors took a big early lead, and for some reason, the Cavs went away from the ground-and-pound that worked so well in the first two games. No need to test Valanciunas' gimpy right ankle in that scenario.

But what about Game 5? It looks like more of the same; during Tuesday's conference call, Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said he was hopeful to get Valanciunas involved, but that it would depend on which lineups Cleveland trotted out. If the Cavs go big again, we'll probably see Jonas come off the bench. If not, well, that plays into Toronto's hands – provided Casey stops trying to put Bismack Biyombo on Channing Frye. He almost saved Cleveland's bacon in Game 4 with his fourth-quarter outburst from behind the arc, opening up the paint in the process.

 

Step On
Speaking of that fourth quarter, Kevin Love (18.2 PER, +0.8 BPM) sat the entire 12 minutes after stepping on an official's foot late in the third and tweaking his left leg. However, Love says he'll be okay for Game 5. He was on fire up until making the trip to Toronto, and Love wound up sitting out the fourth quarter in Game 4 while healthy, so there you go.

We've heard this phrase about 1,000 times these past couple of weeks: It's a make-or-miss league. So many key players in this series, and across the Nutshot Basketball Association, have been running hot and cold. Love was cold these past two games. Both Kyle Lowry (16.2 PER, +4.0 BPM) and DeMar DeRozan (14.4 PER, –3.4 BPM) were hot for the Raptors. Lord knows what will happen in Game 5, but as they say, that's why they play the games. We'll take the Raptors plus the same points we got in Game 1 without Valanciunas – even better, they're available at +11 as we go to press. Shop smart and watch out for the future Championship Winner! However, if you don't agree with the Raptors pick, read why another of our capper is going with the Cavs!

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3017318, "sportsbooksIds":[93,1096,169,999996,180,139], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]
Free NBA Pick: Toronto Raptors +10.5 (-105)
Best Line Offered: at Heritage 
Record: 37-43-1 ATS, 13-9-1 Total