The Cleveland Cavaliers surprised a lot of people when they stormed into Canada and stole game one of their second-round series with the Toronto Raptors. It didn’t look like they’d do that early on, but they held on late, went to overtime and got it done.
I actually picked them to beat a +6.5 point spread and was very close to backing them at +228 as fun road underdogs. Cleveland has been surprisingly awesome against the spread all year when Vegas or anyone else counts them out of a matchup and that’s something to look at again tonight.
The win continues a hot run of NBA playoff picks, as I’ve gone 10-5-1 since postseason play began. I’ll try to keep the ball rolling tonight as LeBron James and co. go back to the Air Canada Centre in an attempt to take a shocking 2-0 lead.
Cleveland Cavaliers (+6.5, -109) @ Toronto Raptors (-6.5, -109) Total: 212.5 (-109)
If the Moneyline was better or the spread was smaller, I’d be all aboard a Raptors bet tonight. I do think Toronto gets the win here, but at -271 you’re not getting enough value back and I feel like covering a -6.5 point spread is still a lot to ask.
While I like the Raptors to win, blindly backing them to win by seven points after what I saw in game one feels like a reach. I talked about how Cleveland has a pretty good offense, how their role players can’t stay grounded for forever and how they seem to rise up when everyone bets against them.
All of that showed up in game one and the Cavs didn’t just beat the spread, but they won the game.
Cleveland certainly has shown a propensity to not bring the energy needed in certain situations this year and it actually led to two blowout losses in their round one series with the Indiana Pacers.
That’s certainly possible here in game two, as some of the Cavs could breathe easy knowing they stole the home court edge. No matter what happens in game two, the underdog Cavs have the advantage once the series shifts to Quicken Loans Arena.
While you should pay mind to that logic, I highly doubt that’s the way King James sees this series. He was a beast in game one and I’m sure he knows laying down in game two simply isn’t an option. Whether the Cavs win or not, the Raptors need to feel that pressure of a team that’s been disrespected and counted out.
That alone has me liking the Cavs, who are simply getting too many points here. Cleveland is now 14-7 ATS as underdogs on the year and their game one win pushed them to 12-5 as road dogs ATS as well.
Those marks are second best in the entire NBA and they shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Another big issue is how bad the Raptors looked on offense at times in game one. I’m not sure if that had something to do with Cleveland’s improved defense in the playoffs, or if Toronto is just shrinking again in a huge moment.
The supposed mental edge the Cavs have over this team can’t be understated until Toronto visibly sheds it. Including game one, Cleveland has flat out owned the Raptors in the playoffs, taking a 9-2 advantage into tonight’s game two showdown.
Ultimately, I still don’t trust the Raptors fully and Cleveland has nothing to lose by playing as hard as they can.
At the very worst, they give the Raptors all they can handle, beat the spread and show everyone they are not going to go quietly into the night. At best, they steal another win and with a 2-0 lead on the top team in their conference, quickly look like favorites to make it back to the NBA Finals.
I don’t want to deliver a knee-jerk reaction here, but I also don’t want to pass up on this value. I’ll take the points with the Cavs and GTbets offers the best price at the moment.