NBA Picks: Raptors Will Avoid Extinction In Eastern Conference Finals vs. Cavaliers

Joe Gavazzi

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 1:34 PM GMT

These teams met three times in the regular season with the home team being victorious on each occasion. This match is predicted to be pretty slow-paced. Let's come up with the correct NBA pick!

Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
These teams enter Game 1following dichotomous series results. For Cleveland, it is “rest vs. rust,” after they swept both Detroit and Atlanta, 4 games to none, affording them 9 full days of rest before this contest. For Toronto, just the opposite is true! The Raptors were extended to Game 7 before beating each Indiana and Miami on their home court to claim those series. The most recent came Sunday, just 2 days ago, when the Raptors beat Miami 116-89 to advance to this 7-game set vs. the Cavs.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland is playing their best ball of the year right now. Unlike last year when LeBron James was forced to carry the load into the Title Series with Golden St., he has plenty of help this off-season. James has played outstanding ball in the playoffs, averaging 24/9/7. His super star teammates in Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving are also leading the way. The improved Cleveland depth is affording the starters ample rest. A significant change for the Cleveland offense is their transition offense and 3-point shooting. In their 4-game sweep of the Hawks, Cleveland made (77) 3-pointers (better than an average of 19 per game), including an NBA record 25 in Game 2! Once again in this series, Toronto will be asked to pick their poison. That is, to protect the paint or extend to the arc, to guard the 3-point shooters.  

Toronto Raptors
Toronto has been out of sync the entire playoffs. Their all-star guards, Lowry and DeRozan, are each shooting under 40% for the playoffs. Now, they must deal with the loss of their starting center, Valanciunas, whose sprained ankle figures to keep him out of at least the early games of this series. Positive news from the Raptor’s locker room, includes the fact that Lowry erupted for 35 points on Sunday. Furthermore, Bismack Biyombo stepped up in place of Valanciunas. The 23-year old player from the Congo had a 17/16 night in the Game 7 victory against the Heat.

 

Conclusions
There does not figure to be very much love for Toronto tonight. They are playing on short rest vs. a greater than .650, well-rested home team, who is favored by fewer than 12 points (a better than 68% winning situation). Despite the short rest, however, I favor the Raptors, as they have proven in the regular season that they can play with this Cleveland team, are buoyed by their dominating Sunday victory and have seen Lowry regain his confidence. Double digits too many to give by a Cavs team who, through the course of the season, has continually allowed teams to crawl through the backdoor against them! I invite you to put the NBA odds in your favor and join me in my NBA pick on the Toronto Raptors tonight. 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 +11
Best Line Offered: at Heritage