NBA Playoffs Picks: Deep Analysis Of Cavaliers vs Raptors Game 4

Kevin Stott

Monday, May 23, 2016 12:00 PM UTC

Monday, May. 23, 2016 12:00 PM UTC

Let’s examine Cavaliers vs. Raptors and come up with a couple of hopefully solid and profitable picks for this pivotal game in this now somewhat entertaining NBA Playoffs series.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were held to just 14 points in the 4th Quarter on Saturday as the Toronto Raptors pulled to within 2-1 in this Eastern Conference Finals series with a 15-point, 99-84 win on Saturday in Game 3 here at a raucous Air Canada Centre. But with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving coming off horrific outings in Game 3, will Toronto need everything to go right again here on Monday night in Game 4 to even this series at 2-2? Probably. Let’s examine the L10 meetings in this series, weigh any longer significant series Trends, Streaks, Injuries, Emotional angles and come up with a couple of hopefully solid and profitable NBA picks for this pivotal game in this now somewhat entertaining NBA Playoffs series.


Odds Overview
After getting blown out by the Raptors, 99-84 on Saturday in Game 3, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will try to see if they can rebound after their first Loss this Postseason when they face Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors in a pivotal Game 4 of this Best-of-7 Eastern Conference Finals series at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Monday night. Offshore sportsbooks currently have the Cavaliers as 5½- (Pinnacle) to 6-point (Heritage) favorites here with the Total (Points) currently in the 197 (Bookmaker) to 197½-point (Heritage) range. The Money Line (Winner) NBA odds see Cleveland priced at -270 (Bookmaker, Heritage) with the hostess-with-the-mostess Raptors lined at +250 on the takeback as the Home underdogs. The First Half odds have the Cavaliers as 2½- (Heritage) to 3-point favorites (CarbonSports) with the First Half Total presently set at 100½ (Bookmaker). The Cavaliers were 6-point favorites in Game 3 and were handed their first Playoff setback this Postseason after going a perfect 10-0 to start the Eastern Conference Playoffs against the Detroit Pistons (4-0 in Quarterfinals), the Atlanta Hawks (4-0 in Semifinals) and winning the first two games of this series at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland before getting bounced in “We The North” Toronto by 15 points on Saturday night.


Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers (+137 to win NBA Championship, BetVictor) and Head Coach Tyronn Lue finally got a cold dose of Reality over the weekend when Toronto became the first team in the L21 games to hold King James and the Cavaliers under 100 points (84) as the Raptors finally warmed up from the Field and used the Home Canadian crowd and a 33-23 2nd Quarter to their advantage in a Game 3 romp over these defending conference champs. In that Game 3 blowout on Saturday, starting PG Kyrie Irving and PF Kevin Love had absolutely miserable games for the visitors, with UCLA-product Love only scoring 3 points and Duke-product Irving going an ugly, please-stop-shooting-bruh 3-for-19 from the Field. Cavaliers starting SF and resident superstar LeBron James (24 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists) led the charge for the visitors while starting SG JR Smith poured in 22 points, but with Irving, Love and starting C and Torontonian Tristan Thompson (0 points, 8 rebounds) combining for just 16 points on 4-for-29 shooting in over 92 minutes of Playing Time, their combined performances resulted in the Loss. And that means that these three Cavaliers as well as the Bench (21 points in Game 3) will need to quickly return to that prolific scoring form, but if the Rims in Toronto were that hard to see for Cleveland in Game 3 (for some), it’s hard to imagine Irving or Love being Confident to shoot so much—and yet that will be Cleveland’s main mantra coming in here: To get Irving and Love out of their hopefully temporary funks. The 1st Quarter could be be wild and speak volumes about this game, especially after Toronto held Cleveland to just 14 4th Quarter points in Game 3 in the L12 minutes of Basketball played. The Cavaliers (1/15 to win Eastern Conference, Ladbrokes) come in here with PG Irving (Chest) listed as Probable (he’ll play) with reserve SG Dahntay Jones (Suspension) eligible to go for Head Coach Lue if necessary. The big, surface-level storyline for Cleveland will be if Irving and Love can rebound (figuratively...and maybe literally some too) but it will obviously be much deeper than that with Cleveland (12-25-2 ATS L39 Monday games) trying to keep the TO Crowd down, Rebounding and Point Production from the Cavaliers “We The Midwest” Bench all being just as important for this pivotal showdown.


Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors (175/1 to win NBA Championship, Paddy Power) and Head Coach Dwane Casey received monster games from starting C Bismack Biyombo (26 rebounds, 7 points, 4 blocks) and SF DeMar DeRozan (32 points) in Game 3 to get some of their Dinosauric Mojo back while teammates Kyle Lowry (20 points), Torontonian and (Las Vegas/Henderson, Nevada) Findlay Prep—like the Cavaliers’ Tristan Thompson—product Cory Joseph (14 points), Patrick Patterson (10 points) and DeMarre Carroll (10 points) also all had very nice games which should help their collective young Heads for the duration of this series which gets real flipping “We The North” Real here now with the Raptors very capable of evening up this series at 2-2 with the strength of the Home Site and the Cavaliers finally thinking about being stopped by somebody, somewhere defensively. Expect the finger-wagging Biyombo to try to again start hot again—he had 10 Rebounds in the 1st Quarter in Game 3—and try to limit easy points for the Cavaliers and Points in the Paint (Cleveland has just 20 on Saturday) and his teammates to be as Physical with Cleveland, which seems like it would translate to a lower-scoring, more-contested shots type of 1st Half (and maybe game), making an Under bet worth consideration. With the Raptors out-hustling Cleveland, gaining some valuable Confidence, the team 7-2 SU in its L9 Home games in Toronto, Love and Irving potentially scared to shoot and/or bad at the Air Canada Centre rims and Cleveland Reserve PF Matthew Dellavedova still nursing a sore Ankle, the Cavaliers will truly be in for a tough test test here. But can DeRozan (12-24, 32 points) be as prolific on Monday night as he was on Saturday? And what if Biyombo has an off night or gets in Foul trouble early? The Cavaliers may try to go right at him. Having nice Runs, keeping the Crowd involved and not falling behind 12 points or more will be keys for the Raptors here. Toronto’s (25/1 to win Eastern Conference, BetVictor) usual starting C Jonas Valanciunas (Ankle) is listed as Doubtful while SF DeMarre Carroll (Elbow) is listed as Probable.


The hardest game of the series to handicap to date, it seems the throttling of the Scoring Pace by Biyombo and Toronto in Game 3 on Saturday will be something the Cavaliers will be fighting from the opening tip here, with the Raptors now knowing that’s the prescription to beating this team. But frustrating and stifling players as talented as Irving and Love in back-to-back games seems like wishful thinking here and both Cavs starters could very well have great bounceback games on a team that already has LeBron James on its Roster. Toronto (48-50-1 O/U) will have to expend that Energy early on playing Defense and that means a possible slowish start and maybe 50 or less points in the 1st Quarter. Two of the first three games in this series have gone Under and the one game that went Over the Total (Game 1, 198½) trickled over by just a ½ point so you know that at least 7 TV Remote Controls were thrown (and broken) worldwide by Under players. Trend-wise, the Total and Side are both 5-5 ATS in the L10 meetings in this series, but the Under is 49-23 ATS the L72 Cavaliers (46-47 O/U) games against the Atlantic Division (68.1%), the Under is 8-2 ATS the L10 Raptors games vs. the Central Division and the Under is an impressive 22-5-1 ATS the L28 meetings in this series (81.5%). So those are some powerful, relevant and applicable Trends, especially that last one which covers a fairly large sample size. With the Raptors 4-10 ATS their L16 overall, it’s hard to trust the hosts here although the Site is probably worth more than most oddsmakers make it in this situation as a handful of close or questionable calls will probably go to Toronto and the Underdog has done extremely well of late in this Eastern Conference series (17-6 ATS L23). Drama will definitely be prevalent here, with a 2-2 or 3-1 series scoreline lying in wait and this game should hold great entertainment, unlike some of the blowouts we’ve seen in these NBA Playoffs.

One deep thought is that the Raptors may have so much Pressure on their back to simply Win here—they do—and that Toronto may have to expend so much Energy early on that they may have nothing left (Physically or Emotionally) in their tanks for the 4th Quarter against the well-rested Cavaliers who are used to closing games strong and winning conference series’. Expecting as great of a performance on out of the Raptors here as Saturday seems illogical and key cogs Irving and Love should both have much better outings Monday and combine for around 40 points and 14 Rebounds here compared to the 16 points and 8 Rebounds the two posted (combined) in Game 3. And C Thompson should also have a more prolific game both Scoring- and Rebound-wise than his Game 3, and maybe getting a body on Biyombo. Expect Cleveland to work to get Irving and Love easier shots and for Love to try to crash the Boards a little more here as Possessions and Loose Balls and Hustle was the reason the Raptors rolled Saturday and have, at least for the time being, made this a series. Those little things and the overall Cleveland Roster combined with Biyombo and DeRozan likely having slightly less great games means backing the Cavaliers to win outright—as well as the backing that aforementioned Under (197½, Heritage)—seem like the two best approaches in this particular crucial spot. The series heads back to Cleveland and The Q for Game 5 on Wednesday night (ESPN) with a potential Game 6 (If Necessary) back here in Toronto on Friday (ESPN) and a Game 7 (also If Necessary) to be played back in Cleveland on Sunday, May 29 (ESPN). So, the Raptors franchise can guarantee themselves at least one more Home game this glorious and record-setting season with a victory here. But it definitely won’t come easy.

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Free NBA Pick: Cavaliers -250 & Under 197½
Best Line Offered:  at Heritage
Predicted Final Score: Cavaliers 95 Raptors 90

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