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
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.