NBA Playoffs Picks: Take Solid Cavaliers To Roll Over Raptors

Kevin Stott

Thursday, May 19, 2016 4:54 PM GMT

The Cleveland Cavaliers never looked back on Tuesday night, rolling over the Toronto Raptors, in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Finals series. Check our free NBA pick inside.

Odds Overview
The top-seeded and defending conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers will look to go up 2-0 against the Toronto Raptors in Game 2 of this Best-of-7 Eastern Conference Finals Series at Quicken Loans Arena on Thursday night after absolutely thrashing the Raptors in Game 1 on Tuesday night. Offshore sportsbooks currently have the host Cavaliers listed as healthy 12- (Heritage) to 12½-point favorites (Bookmaker) here for this game with the Total (Points) currently at 198½ (Under -108, Heritage). The Money Line (Winner) odds see Cleveland priced at a lofty -1,300 (Bookmaker) with the Raptors lined at +800 on the takeback as the massive Road underdogs. The First Half NBA odds have LeBron and the Cavaliers as 8-point chalks (Bookmaker) with the First Half Total presently set at 100 (Over -115, Bookmaker). The Cavaliers were 11-point favorites in Game 1 and easily covered ATS with a 115-84 win with the game going Over the posted closing Total of 198½.

 

Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors (100/1 to win NBA Championship, 32Red) and Head Coach Dwane Casey find themselves in a lot of trouble in this series, without the wonderful Roster Depth and Playoff Experience which the Cavaliers possess, as well as Cleveland having the Homecourt Advantage and all that Rest and Confidence, and still having not yet lost in the Playoffs yet (9-0 SU). And now Toronto is down 1-0 after getting crunched in Game 1 and the Raptors (50-47-0 ATS, 24-23-0 ATS Road) problem is/was obvious from the 1st Quarter: Toronto just let Cleveland players have way too much space on Offense for easy shots and way too many drives through the lane resulting in that ugly aforementioned 66-44 Halftime deficit and possibly a harbinger of where this series may go. The Raptors (20/1 to win Eastern Conference, Sky Bet) were also outrebounded 45-23, so with all of these glaring realities, it seems a Cavaliers Sweep here is a foregone conclusion—maybe even more so than it was against the rugged Detroit Pistons (EC Quarterfinals) and the somewhat experienced (Playoffs) Atlanta Hawks (EC Semifinals) series’. In Game 1, DeMar DeRozan (18 points) led Toronto in scoring with starting C Bismack Biyombo (12 points, 5-5 from Field, 4 rebounds) and Reserve James Johnson (10 points, 4-6 from Field) the only other Raptors in double-digit scoring. Tuesday Starters DeMarre Carroll (2 points, 1-5 from Field), Kyle Lowry (8 points, 4-14 from Field) and Patrick Patterson (8 points, 2 rebounds) will all need to have much better games for the duration of this series as will the Toronto Bench which scored just 26 points outside of Johnson’s 10 with Cory Joseph (1-6) and Terrence Ross (1-5) both struggling against the more experienced and bigger Cavaliers backcourt—even the second-stringers. On the Injury watch, Raptors usual starting C Jonas Valanciunas (Ankle) is still listed as Doubtful (on Wednesday) for Thursday’s game and you know if he were healthy enough that this is the point Casey would risk using him in this series. Oh well.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers
Some serious Respect needs to be paid by most of us to the Cleveland Cavaliers (28/17 to win NBA Championship, NetBet) and Head Coach Tyronn Lue after coming in and unleashing this up-tempo, Eighties-type, Magic Johnson-led Lakers Offense catering to the specific talents of the performers in his own personal Circus after stepping in for former Cavaliers Head Coach David Blatt and quickly being dubbed “LeBron’s choice” pretty much by the everyone in the Media and seemingly becoming a fall guy for a yet another presumed Eastern Conference champion to go to the NBA Finals and be dismantled by either the defending champion Golden State Warriors (11/10 to win NBA Championship, William Hill) or the San Antonio Spurs.

But not so fast. So far, it looks like a prolific-scoring and well-Rested and hardly tested Cavaliers side could give either the Western Conference-champion Warriors or Oklahoma City Thunder (4/1 to win NBA Championship, Coral) a run for their money, but anyone saying playing the Pistons, Hawks and Raptors is a whole lot different than coming out of the West has as very valid point. In the Game 1 blowout on Tuesday, the hosts were led by the usual suspects, starting PG Kyrie Irving (27 points, 5 assists), SF LeBron James (24 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) and PF Kevin Love (14 points, 12 rebounds), a man who has never lost an NBA Playoff game in his career and a 6-foot-10-inch tall man who apparently has a penchant for the 3-pointer all of a sudden, banging 2 more (2-for-4) in Game 1 as a Power Forward on a team which set an NBA Record for 3-pointers earlier this month. The Cavs? Yes, these new-look Cavs. Other Cleveland starters C Tristan Thompson (7 points, 6 rebounds) and SG JR Smith (5 points) had fairly quiet games but that was because Head Coach Lue could use his now talented Bench players (39 points) early in the series and get them some valuable Playing Time while also giving LeBron, Love, Irving and other key cogs some Rest. Matthew Dellavedova (9 points), Richard Jefferson (9 points), Iman Shumpert (8 points) and Channing Frye (8 points) all had solid games for the Cavaliers (1/15 to win Eastern Conference, BetVictor) off the Bench and playing so many minutes, all should feel more Comfortable and Confident in their roles in the remaining games against Toronto and a potential Western Conference opponent in the NBA Finals in June.

Last 10 Meetings in Series, Trends, Streaks, Final Thoughts and Game 2 ATS Picks
Cleveland has now scored 100 or more points in 19 straight games and has W9 in a row this Postseason becoming the first NBA team to start the NBA Playoffs with nine straight Wins or more since the San Antonio Spurs W10 in a row in 2012. The Cavaliers shot 67% from the Field, finding more than enough open looks and lanes to the Hoop and the hosts also got in plenty of Rest during the 31-point victory on Tuesday, the largest margin in Cavaliers Playoffs history. Overall, Cleveland shot a blistering 55.4% (41-74) from the Field. ATS in the Postseason, the Cavaliers are 6-3 ATS with the Over 5-4 but winning in 3 of the L4. Trend-wise, Cleveland is 5-5 ATS their L10 against the Raptors with the Over 6-4 in those 10 meetings and the Cavaliers are 6-2 ATS in its L8 Thursday games and a dead-even 45-45-3 ATS overall this NBA Regular and Postseason, so the Oddsmakers have certainly done their jobs well in respect to the Cleveland numbers.

The Under is 47-23 in the Cavaliers L70 games against the Atlantic Division, and with Lue subbing in his very underrated Bench guys wisely after getting out to that big lead on Tuesday in Game 1, this team seems to be in a cookie-cutter pattern of just running and gunning until it gets out to a comfortable 20-points lead—very reminiscent of how the Warriors played last season. And there is much less pressure hitting jump shots—especially at the familiar Home Rims—and the shots seem to fall more when you’re up by more than 20 points. It’s sort of like Fishing after you’ve already caught 11 fish.

Although the Underdog is 16-5 ATS in the L21 games in this series, fading the Cavaliers or trying to apply any Zig-Zag Theory here in this spot would be silly as this team is playing as well as it has in years and still risks losing that precious Homecourt Advantage should the short-armed Raptors (3-9 ATS L12) somehow go all prehistoric and claw the hosts to death. And the 1st Half pick may here be safer than the entire game NBA Pick in this instance, with Cleveland knowing what to expect, shooting for that 65-point mark by Half and then affording themselves some valuable Rest both during games and in-between series sweeps while the Big Boys out West bang on each other. The series will next move to Toronto and the Air Canada Centre on Saturday for Game 3 (ESPN, WatchESPN, 8:30 p.m. EDT/5:30 p.m. PDT) and for Game 4 on Monday night (ESPN, WatchESPN, 8:30 p.m. EDT/5:30 p.m. PDT). If necessary, a Game 5 would be back at The Q in Cleveland on Wednesday, May 25 (ESPN) with a potential game 6 back in Toronto on Friday. May 27 (ESPN). An unlikely Game 7 would be played back here at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Sunday, May 29.

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Final Score Prediction: Cavaliers 114 Raptors 85
NBA Picks: Cavaliers -12 -115 & Cavaliers 1st Half -8
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker