NBA Picks: Expect Raptors & Cavaliers To Gear Up For Low-Scoring Battle

Charles Stark

Monday, January 4, 2016 11:34 AM UTC

Monday, Jan. 4, 2016 11:34 AM UTC

For NBA Monday, we get a showdown between the Raptors & Cavaliers. Find out why odds makers have this at such a low total and get our best NBA picks to cash in on tonight.

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Free NBA Pick: Under 192½
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


For NBA Monday, we are going to look at a total play when the Toronto Raptors visit the Cleveland Cavaliers. I was a little bit surprised to see the total on this game at such a low number, but when we start to break down these teams and the statistics, I think what we're going to see a low-scoring affair. Toronto is coming off a back to back with almost 230 points being scored combined last night, but don't expect that same type of action tonight in Cleveland.


NBA Odds Overview
NBA odds boards have the total set for this game at 192 -105 like at Pinnacle. Although this total seems really low, for my NBA pick today I'm going to take under the total in this game, as I think odds makers are on top of this one. Earlier this season these teams went for over 200 points which makes this total all that more surprising.


Toronto Raptors
Toronto is averaging 99.9 points per game while shooting 43.5% from the field, and allowing 96.4 points per game on 43% shooting from the field. This is a much better defensive team than last year and they will have to step it up on that end of the floor to have a shot at beating Cleveland in Cleveland. What really makes my eyes pop on the total of this game is that in Toronto's last 10 games they have only gone under 192 just once, this really gets my radar up. Offensively, Toronto is not pushing the tempo as much as they did last year averaging 81.6 field goal attempts per game which ranks 27th in the league, and overall being pretty much subpar in putting the ball in the basket. I believe this is mostly due to the fact that they play a bit too much isolation and they don't move the ball as well as last year averaging just 18.2 assists per game which ranks second to last in the NBA. Defensively, the Raptors have taken on a new mindset this season and they have been really solid from the inside out ranking fifth in opponent shooting percentage and third in opponent two point shooting percentage. Along with their offensive tempo they have been controlling things on the defensive end allowing opponents just 82 shots per game which ranks sixth in the NBA.


Cleveland Cavaliers
Lebron and company are averaging 99.8 points per game while shooting 44.5% from the field, and allowing 94.5 points per game on 43.3% shooting from the field. Much like Toronto, this is a much better Cleveland defense this season, and they have been solid on that side of the floor. Offensively, they have been somewhat efficient with their foundation being of course beyond the arc. Although they rank ninth at 49.4% in their two point shooting, they really like to spread the floor and shoot the three averaging 28 shots from distance per game which ranks fourth in the NBA, this will be Toronto's focus tonight. Defensively Cleveland ranks second in scoring defense, and like Toronto, they have been solid in limiting opponent tempo at just 81.9 opponent field goals attempted per game which ranks fifth in the NBA. They also rank in the top 10 in most defensive categories notably stopping teams from getting in transition allowing only 9.8 opponent fast-break points per game which ranks second in the NBA.

These teams are displaying a different look this season and we should consider that when looking at this low total. Odds makers didn't make this number expecting a high-scoring up and down affair, so for one of your NBA picks, I recommend backing under the total. Expect Cleveland to control most of the game and the tempo with both teams get enough stops to make this a low final.

Not Convinced? Find Out This Capper's NBA Picks:
Raptors vs. Cavaliers ATS Pick

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