NBA Expert Picks April 2-8

Toronto Vs Cleveland Eastern Conf Semi Game 1 Line & Pick

After resting for an eternity, the Cleveland Cavaliers continue their title defense against the upgraded Toronto Raptors in their best-of-seven series. The NBA betting line favors Cleveland by 6.5-points. Tip-off is this Monday, May 1st at 7:00 PM ET on TNT from the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

Not only did the Cavaliers bounce the Raptors from the playoffs last season, they won the season series 3-1. Toronto’s lone win was against a Cleveland team resting their Big 3 in street clothes. Against the spread, the season series was split 2-2.

"It gave us confidence to go out there and know we can play with one of the best teams out there in the world," Kyle Lowry told ESPN this season. "… Yeah, they beat us, and they beat us good, but it gave us that learning pedestal that we have to make sure that we know that, ‘Look, it is going to happen. We can do it.’… I think the difference with us this year going in is we are older. We are more experienced. We are a different team”.

Toronto Raptors Vs Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals Line & Pick

What: Toronto Raptors (4-2) vs Cleveland Cavaliers (4-0)
When: Monday, May 1, 2017
Start Time: 7:00 PM ET  
Where: Cleveland, OH
Stadium: Quicken Loans Arena
Spread: Cavs -6.5
Moneyline: CLE -310
Game Total: 208.5
Watch: TNT
Stream: TNT Overtime
Listen: Toronto vs Cleveland

Why Bet The Toronto Raptors To Beat The Cavaliers

Toronto fought hard to beat a young and talented Milwaukee Bucks in their first round series. After going down 2-1 and losing home-court advantage, the Raptors rattled off three wins in a row, including two of the last three in Milwaukee.

The Raptors averaged 93.8 points per game during the series against the Bucks while allowing 93.1. Toronto posted a 3-3 ATS record in the series against Milwaukee. This team is notorious for their slow first round playoff starts. They covered the spread in the last three meetings.

SG DeMar DeRozan had a great series against the Bucks, averaging 23.5 points per game and shooting 43.9% from the field. There is no doubt that as DeRozen goes, so do the fortures of Toronto. PG Kyle Lowry gutted out a first round series while dealing with tightness in his back. He averaged 14.3 points per game and shot 5.3% from three point land in their first round series.

After losing 4-2 in their best-of-seven series last years, the Raptors upgraded this time around at the trade deadline. The biggest addition is Serge Ibanka.

Ibaka averaged 12.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 2.3 blocks in the Raptors’ first-round series victory over Milwaukee. A 6-foot-10, 235-pound stretch big, he also made 1.2 3-pointers per game against the Bucks. This is the first time the Raptors will face the Cavs with Ibanka.

Why Bet The Cleveland Cavaliers To Beat The Raptors

The Cavs swept the Pacers, giving them eight days of much-needed rest. Indy gave Cleveland a few close calls, exposing the Cavs poor defensive efforts at times. Cleveland averaged 112.8 points per game while allowing 108.8 points.

Going back to last year’s Eastern Conference finals, the Cavs also have an advantage in head-to-head meetings, 7-3. That record may be somewhat deceiving though because Cleveland has only faced Toronto once since the Raptors added defensive stalwart Serge Ibaka to the roster in February.

SF Lebron James led the way for the Cavs against the Pacers with series averages of 32.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 9.0 assists, 3.0 steals and 2.0 blocks. At 32 years old and in his 14th season, his 43.8 minutes per game in the postseason currently leads all players. It is an uptick from his 37.8 minutes per game in the regular season, which also led the league, the most he’s played since the 2012-13 season in Miami. PG Kyrie Irving added 25.3 points per game in the series.

Toronto Raptors Vs Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals ATS Pick

Cleveland hasn’t played in over a week. The rust will show on every Cavalier except for LeBron. I am betting on the Raptors to cover, but barely.

Posted in NBA
Rockets Vs Spurs Odds To Win Western Conf. Semis

Rockets Vs Spurs Odds To Win Western Conf. Semis

James Harden and the third-seeded Houston Rockets will look to get the series upset over Kawhi Leonard and the second-seeded San Antonio Spurs in their Western Conference semifinal series starting on Monday night.

Better yet, both title contenders are offering their own value as legitimate pick to win their intriguing second round series and I’m going to tell you which one of these NBA championship hopefuls is offering the best value.

Rockets Vs Spurs Western Conference Semis Series Schedule:

Game 1, Monday, May 1: Rockets at Spurs, 9:30 p.m. ET
Game 2, Wednesday, May 3: Rockets at Spurs, 9:30 p.m. ET
Game 3, Friday, May 5: Spurs at Rockets, 9:30 p.m. ET
Game 4, Sunday, May 7: Spurs at Rockets, Time TBD
Game 5* Tuesday, May 9: Rockets at Spurs, Time TBD
Game 6* Thursday, May 11: Spurs at Rockets, Time TBD
Game 7* Sunday, May 14: Rockets at Spurs, Time TBD

The battle of Texas tips off Monday May 1st. Now let’s get to it.

Houston Rockets vs San Antonio Spurs Western Conference Semifinals Odds

  • San Antonio -280
  • Houston +200

The Rockets (59-28 SU, 45-41-1 ATS) went 30-11 at home during the regular season and 25-16 on the road. Houston averages a stellar 115.3 points per game to rank second in scoring, but also gave up a whopping 109.6 points per game defensively to rank an uninspiring 26th in points allowed.

Houston has an MVP-caliber superstar in point guard Harden (29.1 ppg, 11.2 apg, 8.2 rpg) and a whopping five other player that averaged double figures in scoring in veterans, Eric Gordon, Lou Williams, Ryan Anderson, Trevor Ariza and young big man Clint Capela. Not only that, but veterans, Patrick Beverley, Nene and youngsters Montrezl Harrell and Troy Williams all averaged just over 9.0 points per contest.

The Spurs (65-23 SU, 45-41-2 ATS) went 31-10 at home during the regular season and an impressive 30-11 on the road. San Antonio ranked a respectable 14th in scoring (105.3 ppg) while also ranking a phenomenal second in points allowed (2nd).

San Antonio has its own MVP-caliber superstar in forward Kawhi Leonard (25.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.8 spg) and three other players that average double figures in scoring in LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol and Tony Parker.

The Spurs also have an excellent group or role players in Patty Mills, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, David Lee and Jonathan Simmons that all average between 6.2 and 9.5 points.

While the Spurs beat the Rockets three times in four meetings during the regular season, all four matchups were decided by six points or less with three of them being decided by an identical two points.

They Rockets beat the Spurs 101-99 on November 9 in their first meeting before the Spurs got some revenge, in their 106-100 win just three days later. San Antonio recorded a 102-100 victory when they met on December 20 and an 112-110 win on March 6. Nevertheless, I’m thinking the Spurs could be in trouble against Harden and the explosive Rockets.

The Spurs will have home court advantage and that could be the deciding factor against Houston, but I’m going to urge you to go against popular opinion and the series betting odds to back the Rockets for the upset.

Houston has an abundance of excellent shooters while San Antonio is getting the vast majority of its offensive production from Kawhi Leonard, first and foremost and aging point guard Tony Parker second. I have no idea what’s happened to LaMarcus Aldridge lately, but he certainly isn’t playing like the max contract franchise star he’s supposed to be. 

Right now, I’m thinking Clint Capela, Montrezl Harrell and the rest of Houston’s big men stand just as good a chance of ‘punking’ Aldridge as Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph did in the first round.

In addition to that, I’m also banking on Houston’s Ryan Anderson to find his shooting stroke after averaging just 7.4 points per game in the first round after putting up 13.6 points per game during the regular season,

Sure, Houston’s defense leaves a lot to be desired, but the Rockets can score the ball better than any team in the league outside of Golden State and I believe it is that kind of scoring ability that will propel them to the series win past the Spurs in the second round as a value-packed +200 pick

Houston Rockets vs San Antonio Spurs Western Conference Semifinals Pick: Houston in 6
Posted in NBA
Cavaliers Vs Celtics Best-of-7 Series Pick

Toronto Vs Cleveland Odds To Win Eastern Conf. Semis

One year after taking two games off of the Cleveland Cavaliers in their 4-2 Eastern Conference Finals loss, Kyle Lowry and the third-seeded Toronto Raptors will get another crack at trying to dispatch LeBron James and the second-seeded Cavs when they square off in their conference semifinal series showdown, starting on Monday.

Thanks to the expert NBA betting analysis that you’re about to get on this intriguing second round series, you’re going to have a great idea of just which team you should back with your roundball betting bucks whether it’s the favored Cavs at a whopping -750 or the clearly more attractive odds of the Raptors at +450.

Raptors Vs Cavs Eastern Conference Semis Series Schedule:

Game 1: Raptors at Cavaliers Monday, May 1 at 7:00 PM ET on TNT
Game 2: Raptors at Cavaliers Wednesday, May 3 at 7:00 PM ET on TNT
Game 3: Cavaliers at Raptors Friday, May 5 at 7:00 PM on ESPN
Game 4: Cavaliers at Raptors: Sunday, May 7 at 3:30 PM ET on ABC
Game 5: (If necessary) Raptors at Cavaliers TBD
Game 6: (If necessary) Cavaliers at Raptors TBD
Game 7: (If necessary) Raptors at Cavaliers TBD

Let’s get down to business.

Toronto Raptors Vs Cleveland Cavaliers Odds To Win Eastern Conference Semifinal

  • Toronto To Win +450
  • Cleveland To Win -750

The Raptors fought their way back from a 2-1 series deficit against the upstart Milwaukee Bucks to bounce their conference rivals 4-2 while winning the final three games of the series.

Cleveland swept Paul George and the Indiana Pacers in four straight games, but the Cavs didn’t have the easiest time in doing so, which I’ll get to in just a minute.

Toronto (55-33 SU, 47-39-2 ATS) went 28-13 at home during the regular season and 23-18 on the road.  The Raptors rank 10th in coring (106.9 ppg) and an even more impressive eighth in point allowed (102.6 ppg). Toronto has a pair of all-star guards in DeMar DeRozan (27.3 ppg) and Kyle Lowry (22.4 ppg) while Serge Ibaka (14.2 ppg) and Jonas Valanciunas (12.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg) both average double figures in scoring.  

The Raptors also have some decent rotation players that all average between 5.8 and 9.2 points per game in Cory Joseph, DeMarre Carroll, the blossoming Norman Powell, Patrick Patterson and P.J. Tucker.

The Cavaliers (55-31 SU, 37-46-3 ATS) went 31-10 at home during the regular season, but just 20-21 on the road while averaging a stellar 110.3 points per game to rank fourth in scoring. Unfortunately, the Cavs have been just mediocre defensively in allowing a whopping 107.2 points per game to rank 20th in points allowed.

Now, when it comes to the head-to-head meetings between the Cavs and Raptors, you should know that Cleveland beat Toronto three times in four regular season meetings while covering the spread in each SU victory.

Going back to their Eastern Conference Finals matchup from last season, the Cavaliers have gone 7-3 SU and 6-4 ATS in their last 10 games against the Raptors.

While the Cavs allowed Indiana to top the 100-point plateau in every game in its first round sweep and the Raptors showed some serious mettle in overcoming their series deficit against Milwaukee, no matter how hard I try to envision Toronto upsetting Cleveland, I just don’t see it happening, especially with the Cavs having home court advantage in this series.

Both, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan pulled disappearing acts against the Cavs in a couple of games in lat season’s Eastern Conference Finals and I believe one of both will do so again in their upcoming playoff series. In the end, I like LeBron and the now, well-rested Cavaliers to win and advance, likely in seven games.

You may not like their -750 odds, but LeBron James will not allow Cleveland to lose to the likes of the Toronto Raptors, even though I am thinking this series will be a bit tougher than their lat playoff meeting a year ago.

Cleveland Vs Toronto Eastern Conference Semifinal Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers in 7
Posted in NBA