Raptors vs. Cavaliers NBA Picks: Back Toronto's Plus Odds Tonight

Joe Gavazzi

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 2:23 PM GMT

Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said “they flipped the script on us.” Toronto HC Dwane Casey was more subtle when he quipped “it’s going to be a different animal.” Free NBA pick inside.

Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (-11) 8:35PM ET
The Toronto Raptors travel to Cleveland for the Game 5 meeting against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Quicken Loans Arena. The series is now tied at 2 games apiece, after “We the North” held serve in Toronto with victories of 6 and 15 points in Games 3 and 4. It will need to be a much different animal, if Toronto is truly going to make this a competitive series. The Cavs won the first 2 games of this series on this court by margins of 32 and 19 points.   

Fundamentally, the Raptors got themselves back in the series by using a philosophy that did not work very well for Atlanta in losing their first Round series to Cleveland 4-0. Quite simply, the Raptors have been packing the paint and daring Cleveland to shoot from behind the arc. Toronto allowed 106 total points in the first 2 games in the paint, before adjusting their philosophy. Now, the Raptors could have the best of both worlds. Starting center, Jonas Valanciunas, is listed as probable for Game 5 with a sprained right ankle. His return could give the Raptors their much needed paint presence, while allowing them to close out Cleveland shooters.  

Further reason for Toronto’s success could be the return to form of Toronto all-star guards, Lowry and DeRozan, who were MIA for much of the first 14 games on the Toronto post-season, when they averaged less than 40 PPG.  The Raptors will also have the benefit of the experience of emerging big man, Bismack Biyombo, who has brought energy, scoring and rebounding to Toronto.  

Most importantly, however, will be the fact that at the least, the Cleveland post-season confidence has been shaken with a pair of defeats that followed 10 consecutive Playoff wins. With the series even at 2 games apiece, the pressure is clearly on Cleveland in this one. The Cavs will also have to deal with the lack of current form from No. 3 scorer, Kevin Love, who has suddenly lost his shooting touch. Love was a combined 5 for 23 in Games 3 and 4, eventually giving way to Channing Frye in the 4thquarter of Game 4.  

With all the above factors favoring Toronto in this game, 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 the game and confirm your Raptor pick, who may even be the Championship Winner!

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NBA Pick: Raptors +11
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle