Raptors vs Cavs Playoffs Odds & Betting Advice

cavs-vs-raptorsThe Eastern Conference playoffs are void of mystery so far, with the favorites moving on in each series. This sets up a matchup between the No. 2 Cleveland Cavaliers and No. 3 seed Toronto Raptors.

The defending champion Cavs came into this season as the favorites to win the East.

Most still predict them to win, although they looked vulnerable down the regular season stretch, especially regarding their defense. But they gained some confidence back in the first round, sweeping a solid Indiana Pacers team.

As for the Raptors, they regressed from last season, going from 56 to 51 wins this year. But they still got by a rising Milwaukee Bucks squad in the first round and will try to dethrone the defending champs. Midseason addition Serge Ibaka could very well help them do this.

Who should we expect to move on in this Eastern Conference semifinals matchup? Who should you bet on? Find out as we preview both teams and discuss their betting odds.

Eastern Conference Semifinals Playoff Series
No. 3 Raptors vs. No. 2 Cavs
Game 1 Betting Line: Toronto +6.5, Cleveland -6.5
Over/Under 208.5 (-110)
Other Betting Lines: Check GTBets.eu

Game Schedule:
Game 1 @CLE: 7 pm EST, Monday, May 1 (TNT)
Game 2 @CLE: 7 pm EST, Wednesday, May 3 (TNT)
Game 3 @TOT: 7 pm EST, Friday, May 5 (ESPN)
Game 4 @TOR: 1 pm EST, Sunday, May 7 (ABC)
Game 5 @CLE: TBD, Tuesday, May 9 (TNT)
Game 6 @TOR: TBD, Thursday, May 11 (ESPN)
Game 7 @CLE: TBD, Saturday, May 14 (TNT)

Cleveland Cavaliers Semifinals Preview

lebron-james-top-heavy-rantNobody played worse defense than Cleveland after the All-Star break. They allowed a 111.6 defensive rating per 100 possessions, which would’ve ranked dead-last over the course of the regular season.

They weren’t exactly defensive stalwarts in the Pacers series, allowing 108.8 PPG to Indiana. Even still, Cleveland had their moments and did enough to stop the Pacers on key possessions.

Much of the problem here is that the Cavs had a lot of roster turnover down the stretch. The added Derrick Williams, Deron Williams, Kyle Korver, Dahntay Jones (again), and Eddy Tavares in the second half of the season.

It takes practice time and experience to integrate so many new faces into the defensive scheme. And thanks to their sweep of the Pacers, Cleveland had an opportunity to do this over the past 8 days.

We don’t expect this to mean lock-down defense on the Raptors. But it should help Cleveland play much better than they showed over the last few weeks of the regular season.

Milwaukee Bucks v Cleveland CavaliersOf course, the Cavs’ chances of winning this series will largely depend upon if their offense keeps churning. They swept Indiana because they averaged 112.8 PPG and were always able to come up with big shots when needed.

Not surprisingly, LeBron James led the way with 32.8 PPG, including a 37.0 average in the last two games. Kyrie Irving also scored plenty, averaging 25.3 PPG.

Kevin Love had his moments with 15.5 PPG; however, this is 5 points below his season average. The Cavs will need more out of J.R. Smith too, who scored just 6.8 PPG against the Pacers.

jr-smith-clevelandIf Cleveland gets more out of Irving, Love, and Smith on offense, then it’ll be a long series for the Raptors.

Cavaliers ATS Record: The Cavs are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games against the spread. They were 0-2 ATS at home against Indiana, but rallied to go 1-0-1 in both road games.

However, it’s hard to see them covering -6.5 at home in Game 1, considering that they only won by an average of 4 points against Indiana.

Toronto Raptors Semifinals Preview

The Raptors had a rough start to the playoffs, going down 2-1 to Milwaukee. But they rallied to win the last three contests by an average of 13 PPG.

Part of this turnaround was attributed to the small lineup they used in the second half of the series. They played Norman Powell at center in favor of Jonas Valaciunas, which worked well.

Don’t expect to see the same thing this series because Toronto will have a size advantage by playing Valaciunas and Ibaka together. It’ll especially be interesting to see how Valaciunas does because he was limited (ankle) in last year’s postseason meeting with Cleveland.

Another plus for Toronto is that they can throw different looks at James on defense. They can go bigger with Powell and Ibaka, or use smaller defenders like P.J. Tucker and DeMarre Carroll. Nobody’s expecting them to completely stop King James, but they could at least slow him down.

Perhaps more than anything, the Raptors will benefit from having Ibaka this time around. The 6’10” power forward can block shots, post up, and shoot three-pointers.

serge-ibaka-raptors“[Ibaka brings] just a different dynamic,” Kevin Love told ESPN when critiquing his opponents. “Definitely shooters with both him and [Patrick] Patterson out there. He brings a ton of energy. Played really well in Round 1, so he just gives them a whole different look and a guy who has a ton of playoff experience coming from Oklahoma City. Obviously getting traded from Orlando, but all his playoff experience being there and playing in a lot of big games. He really helps them.”

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Dallas MavericksOf course, nobody will forget about the high-scoring duo of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. Both had their struggles against Milwaukee’s length, with Lowry averaging just 14.3 PPG in the series, and DeRozan having an 0-for-8 performance in Game 3.

But these two have their best supporting cast ever, meaning that we should overlook their 4-2 conference finals loss to Cleveland last year.

Raptors ATS Record: Toronto is 4-5-1 against the spread in their last 10 contests, including 3-3 against Milwaukee. They were only 1-2 on the road in this series, but they’ll have a strong chance to cover +6.5 in Cleveland.

Final Thoughts on Raptors vs Cavs Playoffs Betting

Looking purely at betting, we like the Raptors in Game 1. We also like them beyond if they keep getting soft lines.

But as for who’ll win the series, the key stat comes down to three-pointers. Cleveland made 13.5 three’s per game against Indiana, which leads playoff clubs. Meanwhile, Toronto allowed a postseason-worst 41.2% three-point shooting to Milwaukee in the first round.

This year’s version of Toronto has more talent than the 2016 squad. But with a healthy LeBron James, we think the result will be the same as the 2016 conference finals.

Series Prediction: Cavs win series 4-2

Cavs vs Raptors Betting Game 3

raptors-cavs-betting-game-3The Toronto Raptors hoped to come out with more fire after losing the opening game of their series with Cleveland by 31 points. For the most part, Toronto did have a better effort, but they still lost 108-89 in another blowout.

Some concern has been expressed about the Raptors’ star point guard, Kyle Lowry, who hasn’t looked like himself this series. He continued his poor performance in Game 2, hitting just 4-of-14 shots, including 1-for-8 from three-point range.

Toronto will be looking for a boost as they head home to the Air Canada Centre, where they were 32-9 during the regular season. But will home-court advantage be enough to reverse what has been a terrible series for this team so far? You can find out as we analyze Game 3 between the Raptors and Cavs.

GTBets.eu line for Game 2 (May 21 at 8:30pm EST)
Toronto (-110)
Cleveland -5 (-110)

Why the Raptors will cover the Spread

With center Jonas Valančiūnas still out with an ankle injury, there’s no help on the way for Toronto. The only boost that the Raptors are getting is home court for the third contest. Will this be enough?

raptors-cavs-betting-game-3-1Much of this depends upon how well Toronto shoots because they’ve only hit 40% of their shots through the first two games. They’ve been particularly bad from beyond the arc, making only 14 of their 57 three-pointers (24.6%).

Reversing this troubling trend will mainly hinge on Lowry, who’s just 1-for-16 from three-point range in the series. The cameras and commentators focused on the All-Star as he went back to the locker room to “clear his head.” Obviously things aren’t going well for him now, but the good news is that he only has room to improve in the next contest.

One guy who doesn’t need to improve much, though, is DeMar DeRozan, who’s made 17 out of 35 shots (48.6%) in the first two games. This is a big upgrade for how he was shooting in series with the Pacers and Heat. Some of the bench players like James Johnson, Cory Joseph and Terrence Ross have also played pretty good.

Eventually shots will start falling for Toronto and give them an energy boost on defense, which has been another concern. When this happens, the Raptors have the talent to compete with Cleveland.

Why the Cavs will cover the Spread

Once again Cleveland came out and put together an excellent effort on both ends of the floor. LeBron James especially had a good night, recording a triple-double with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

cavs-raptors-betting-game-2Of course, LeBron hasn’t been the only Cavs player doing well since Kyrie Irving had yet another good night, scoring a team-high 26 points on 12-for-22 shooting. Kevin Love added 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting along with 8 free throws.

Besides scoring, Cleveland has also gained an edge on the boards and with turnovers. They grabbed 46 rebounds to Toronto’s 38 last game, which wasn’t as dominant as Game 2, but still enough to prevent second-chance points. They also turned the ball over just 9 times compared to the Raptors’ 12 turnovers.

We could go on about what Cleveland is doing right and the outstanding performances by some of their individuals. But to make a long story short, the Cavs just need to continue what they’re doing to pound this worn-down Raptors team.

Prediction for Cavs vs Raptors Game 3

raptors-cavs-bettingCleveland has covered large spreads of -10.5 and -12 in the first two contests, and now they only have to cover -5. Of course, the key question here is whether Toronto will hit shots any better on their home floor and draw energy from the crowd. We want to say yes, but it’s also hard to ignore the fact that Cleveland has won the Games 1 and 2 by an average of 25 points. So while we see this being a closer game, expect the Cavs to pull away at the end.

Final Score: Cavs 104 – Raptors 97
Betting Prediction:
Bet on Cleveland to cover the -5 spread

Cavs vs Raptors Game 2 Betting

cavs-raptors-game-2-bettingThe Cleveland Cavaliers are heavily favored in their series with the Toronto Raptors, but few expected the obliteration that occurred in the first game. Cleveland built a 66-44 lead by halftime and never looked threatened en route to a 115-84 victory over Toronto.

Part of the problem was the Raptors’ inability to keep Cleveland out of the lane. A perfect example of this included LeBron James making his first nine shots – all of which were within a couple feet of the rim.

Of course, some of this lethargy might be explained by Toronto having just a day off in between their 7-game series with Miami and playing the Cavs. Now that they’re settled into Cleveland and both teams are coming off last night’s game, can we expect a better performance from the Raptors? Moreover, can they at least beat the spread? Find out as we analyze Game 2 of this series below.

GTBets.eu line for Game 2 (May 19 at 8:30pm EST)
Toronto (-110)
Cleveland -12 (-110)

Why the Raptors will cover the Spread

Based on the first contest, nobody’s opinion that Toronto is a massive underdog has changed. However, that certainly doesn’t mean this team won’t improve, especially when it comes to their shooting.

cavs-raptors-bettingAs a team, Toronto made just 42.1% of their shots, including a horrendous 5-for-24 (20.8%) from the three-point line. Kyle Lowry was a big part of this poor shooting effort as he made only 4-of-14 shots, including 0-of-7 from downtown. DeMarre Carroll (1-for-5), Terrence Ross (1-for-5) and Cory Joseph (1-for-6) didn’t shoot well either.

Cleveland is already the more-talented team, so hitting more shots will be key for Toronto. And DeMar DeRozan was at least up to the task, making 9-of-17 attempts for 18 points. If he and Lowry can both be on at the same time, then Toronto not only has a chance to cover the spread, but also win the game.

Another key for the Raptors will be getting to the free throw line. They did shoot 20 free throws, however, only four of these attempts came from the starting unit. What’s more troubling is that neither DeRozan nor Lowry made it to the line once. This has to change for Toronto, and these two must be more aggressive in driving to the hoop while not settling for jump shots.

One more area where the Raptors can improve is rebounding since they collected just 23 boards to Cleveland’s 45 last game. Expect Bismack Biyombo (4 rebounds) and Patrick Patterson (2 rebounds) to be far more active on the boards this time around. Assuming the Raptors can better control the glass and shoot well, then they have a good chance to cover the spread.

Why the Cavs will cover the Spread

12 points is a lot to cover no matter how heavily you’re favored. But you can justify the -12 spread when considering that Cleveland was fully in command of the first contest.

cavs-raptors-betting-game-2The Cavs, who earned the billing of a three-point-shooting team in their series with Atlanta, made their mark in the paint this time. Kyrie Irving (11-for-17) and LeBron (11-for-13) had no trouble getting to the hoop against a Toronto team that’s normally solid defensively. Even with off-nights from important players like JR Smith (1-for-5) and Tristan Thompson (1-for-4), Cleveland shot 55.4% from the floor.

Given how many points they scored inside, expect the Raptors to pack the paint this time around, allowing the Cavs’ three-point shooters to get more wide-open looks. This should allow Kevin Love, Channing Frye and Smith to get some clean three-pointers.

Another thing going in Cleveland’s favor is that they just seem to be the deeper team at this point. They have no major injuries and their bench rotation of Iman Shumpert, Richard Jefferson, Matthew Dellavedova and Frye outplayed Ross, Joseph and James Johnson. There really doesn’t seem to be one area where the Raptors have an advantage at this point.

Prediction for Cavs vs Raptors Game 2

Cleveland has the home floor again and the same lineup going that obliterated Toronto in the first contest. However, the Cavs also don’t have much to improve upon from the first game, which could hurt them a little in Game 2. Meanwhile, the Raptors have all sorts of improvement to make, including rebounding, shooting and driving inside. We don’t think Toronto will win, but they may at least keep the game within 10 points or less.

Final Score: Cleveland 107 – Toronto 99
Betting Prediction:
Bet on the Raptors to cover their +12 spread