Free NBA Picks: Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 2/24/2014
I absolutely loved what the Cavaliers did before last Thursday's trade deadline in acquiring center Spencer Hawes from Philadelphia, yet it has not had the desired effect thus far. Cleveland took a six-game winning streak into the deadline and is 0-2 since then despite Hawes playing pretty well. The Cavs are now five games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. I still think they get in -- barring an injury to Kyrie Irving -- because No. 8 Atlanta is sliding in a big way.
Toronto is currently No. 3 in the East with a 31-25 record and has a four-game lead over Brooklyn in Atlantic. It's now clear that only the Nets have a shot to catch the Raptors there as the Knicks continue to fade. Toronto made a pretty inconsequential deal right before the deadline in acquiring point guard Nando de Colo from San Antonio for seldom-used forward Austin Daye. Not exactly a game-changing deal for either side.
Raptors at Cavaliers Betting Story Lines
The Cavaliers had won three straight at home before Sunday's 96-83 loss to Washington, a game that might have indirectly given Cleveland a huge playoff boost as Wizards big man Nene may have torn ligaments in his knee and could be done. I'll touch on that Tuesday in my NBA week-ahead story, but that's one team ahead of Cleveland that could be seriously dinged. Nene was hurt banging knees with Hawes, who had 16 points and 12 rebounds. Cleveland played without three key players in center Anderson Varejao (his injury history a big reason why the Cavs traded for Hawes) and guards Dion Waiters and C.J. Miles. All three are expected to sit out this one as well. That means heavy minutes in particular for struggling Jarrett Jack, who was nearly traded, and Matthew Dellavedova. Those two were 4-for-15 from the field in a combined 58 minutes against Washington and were minus-17. There's only so much Irving can do by himself. Cleveland shot only 26 percent in the second half.
Toronto handed Orlando its 15th straight road loss on Sunday, 105-90. It's the fifth straight game the Raptors have held a team to 93 points or less. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined for 52 points in that one. Lowry is averaging 19.6 ppg in his past eight while DeRozan is averaging 25.1 this month. The Raptors are six games above .500 for the first time in exactly four years: Feb. 24, 2010. Toronto big man Amir Johnson, a very underrated player, left the Magic game with an ankle injury and didn't practice Monday but should play. He's averaging 10.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
This is the second of three regular-season meetings. The clubs played Friday in Toronto, and the Raptors just failed to cover the eight-point spread in a 98-91 victory, ending Cleveland's six-game winning streak. Toronto took control by outscoring Cleveland 98-91 in the third quarter. Terrence Ross led Toronto with 20, while Luol Deng had one of his best games as a Cavalier with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Varejao, Waiters and Miles all missed that game as well.
Raptors at Cavaliers NBA Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, Toronto opened as a four-point favorite with a total of 194.5. The Raptors are 33-22-1 against the spread (20-9 on road) and 29-27 "over/under" (13-16 on road). The Cavaliers are 26-31 ATS (15-13 at home) and 25-32 O/U (10-18 at home). Toronto is 8-2 ATS in its past 10 after a win over at least 10 points. The Raptors are 6-2-1 ATS in their past nine after scoring at least 100 points in their previous game. Cleveland is 7-1 ATS in its past eight. The Cavs are 4-1 ATS in their past five at home against teams with a winning road record. The under is 7-2 in Toronto's past nine following a win of at least 10 points. The under is 11-2 in Cleveland's past 13 at home. The under is 4-0 in the past four meetings. The Cavaliers are 4-0 ATS in the past four in the series.
Free NBA Picks: Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers Betting Predictions
A win here would guarantee Toronto's third straight winning month, which the team hasn't done since 2007. However, the Cavs have won 12 of the past 16 at home in this series (most with LeBron James). Toronto is fourth in the NBA in scoring defense, while the Cavs have held seven straight opponents under 100 points for the first time since 2010. So you have to like the under for sure, and I think the Cavs will bounce back at home and win outright despite missing that trio. The Cavs are going to have to win almost every home game from here on out -- they have 25 games left -- to be able to grab that No. 8 spot.
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