Gary | Sun 30/04/2017 - 14:26 EDT

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Toronto Raptors Best Predictions

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Toronto Raptors Best Predictions
In an Eastern Conference Finals rematch from a year ago, Cleveland faces off against Toronto. Do the Raptors stand any chance? Read our preview of the series, along with our betting predictions.

Take the Cavs in Six

By Eric Uribe


Let’s be up front here: what chance does Toronto have of pulling off the stunning upset of the defending NBA champions? 

According to bookies, slim. They are +400 to win the series, while Cleveland are comfortable -475 favorites.

With that said, if there’s any team that can give Cavs a fight in the Eastern Conference, it’s the Raptors. 

Cleveland’s weakness is defending the pick and roll. Guess what? That plays right into Toronto’s strength. Between Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors have a pair of elite scorers who are absolutely lethal coming off a screen.

In the first round, the Cavs were shredded by Indiana point guard Jeff Teague. He averaged 12 points and 6.3 assists on a whopping 58.9 percent shooting from the field. With all respect to Teague, he’s not in Lowry’s league. This is a matchup where Cleveland could be exploited from start to finish. 

Lowry is the series real X-factor. He’s coming off hand surgery earlier this season and doesn’t exactly have a reputation for playing big in the postseason. But he has a favorable matchup against the not-so-defense-oriented Kyrie Irving. If Toronto is going to have any chance in this series, they’ll need star performances from Lowry and DeRozan.

The scary thing about the Raptors’ backcourt is they have a slew of weapons to dish it off after they come off a screen. Between Serge Ibaka, Norman Powell, and DeMarre Carroll, Toronto’s lineup is versatile and can shoot all over the floor.

This doesn’t bode well for a Cleveland defense that’s been gashed left and right. The Pacers, a middle of the road attack, averaged 108 points off a sizzling 48 percent shooting in the first round. Simply put, this Raptors offense has the potential to be way more prolific. 

If anything is a sure bet in this series, it’s probably the over. The Cavs can’t stop anyone and prefer just to outscore their opponents — which they usually do. 

As with any series involving LeBron James, the question immediately shifts to how he can be defended. The Pacers had no answer for the King, who averaged 32.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 9 assists in the first-round sweep. 

We’re not saying Toronto is locking him down, but they should be a lot more successful than Indiana was. If you’re going to slow down James, you’ll need a batch of defense-first wing players. The Raptors have that in DeMarre Carroll and P.J. Tucker. Carroll has experience guarding James in the postseason and Tucker’s 245-pound frame can wear on the King, too.

Toronto’s defense doesn’t get nearly as much credit as it deserves. The team finished eighth best in defense in the regular season, giving up a mere 102.6 points a game. Plus, what makes this series different from last year’s conference finals battle is Serge Ibaka.


Ibaka was acquired midseason by the Raptors and he’s a true difference maker. A year ago, Toronto was inexperienced and just happy to be in the Eastern Conference finals. In Ibaka, they are getting a guy who has played in a ton of high-stakes games. Plus, he’s a real rim protector a la Bismack Biyombo a year ago, who gave the Cavs fits at times. Ibaka is a lot more consistent than Biyombo, plus he’s a better scoring threat from all over the floor.

Moreover, the Raptors will have a healthy Jonas Valanciunas this time around. The seven-footer was injured throughout last year’s Eastern Conference finals tilt. He gives Toronto a big size advantage in the paint. It’ll be interesting to see Valanciunas’ role this series. In the first round, his role was reduced to coming off the bench as Toronto went with a smaller lineup. However, the Cavs have a more traditional lineup compared to the Bucks, one that plays to Valanciunas favor.

Toronto is a tough draw for the defending champions. They’ll play Cleveland a lot tougher than Boston or Washington, but of course, we’re not crazy enough to pick against LeBron. He’s owned the East for seven years and counting, and the reign will continue this year. 

Pick: Cleveland (-475)

Series outcome: six games

Results / FixturesNBA

Category : Sports Betting News

Leave a comment
More articles...
Sports Betting News - 22/08/19
US Open 2019 Betting Odds: Can Naomi Osaka, Novak Djokovic Defend Their Crowns? 
The world's best tennis players are once again headed to New York! That's right: The 2019 US Open is upon us, and it remains littered with rock-solid betting opportunities. Last year's champions, Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka, enter as No. 1 seeds in their field. Will they repeat as champs? Let's parse the betting field!
Read this article 
Sports Betting News - 13/08/19
NFL Futures: Odds and Predictions for Super Bowl Champion and League MVP 
The 2019 NFL regular season already looks like it'll be a dramatic affair. The reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots enter as odds-on favorites, but the league's pecking order is fluid. The Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles and so many others are knocking on the championship door. Should the Patriots actually be favorites? And what's the best MVP bet? Let's get into it now.
Read this article 
Sports Betting News - 07/08/19
UFC 241: Daniel Cormier vs Stipe Miocic II Betting Odds and Predictions 
Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic II is a rematch everyone has been waiting on for more than a year—ever since Cormier beat Miocic last July. But they aren't the only big fight on UFC 241's dance card. Chief among the others: Anthony Pettis vs. Nate Diaz. Let's take a look at the latest odds and suss out the best bets across the board.
Read this article 
Sports Betting News - 23/07/19
UFC 240 Betting Odds: Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar Lines and Picks 
UFC 240 is going to be a busy affair, and it will all be centered around the much-anticipated battle between Max Holloway and Frankie Edgar. Though Holloway enters as the overwhelming favorite, some think Edgar stands a chance. Who should you bet on? We've got you covered for this fight, along with the other four most important bouts.
Read this article