Cavaliers vs Raptors – NBA Game One Pick for May 1st
Congratulations to the Cavaliers for winning a hard fought 7-game series over the tough Indiana Pacers. The Cavs reward, a Game 1 road contest against the Eastern Conference’s top team the Toronto Raptors. And, right now, there’s no other team in the Eastern Conference more motivated to beat Cleveland than the Raptors.
The Cavs have eliminated the Raptors from the playoffs two years running. In 2016, Cleveland beat the Raptors in 6 games in the Eastern Conference Finals and went on to win the NBA Championship. Last year, the Cavs swept the Raptors in the second round of the playoffs.
Toronto eliminated the Washington Wizards in 6 games with the series clinching win on Friday, April 27th. They’ve had a few extra days to rest and prepare for the Cavs, who finished off the Pacers on Sunday, April 29th in the 7th game of the series. After the game, LeBron publicly stated that he just wanted to go home and rest.
James carried his team through the first round as he averaged over 41 minutes per game, 34.4 ppg, 10.1 RPG, and 7.7 APG. In the decisive Game 7, James scored 45 points, had 9 rebounds, and dished out 7 assists in 43 minutes. It was his best performance of the series. But, does a tired James have enough to carry his team to victory in Toronto tonight?
During the season, Cleveland held a 2-1 record over the Raptors. However, each team won their home games. We know that the Cavs will go as far as James can take them, but the Raptors have more than just one star to lead them. Toronto features two all-star guards who will cause matchup problems for the Cavs. DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors in the first round with 26.7 PPG. He also chipped in 4.8 assists per game and 3.3 RPG. Against the Cavs this year, DeRozan averaged 17.7 ppg.
The Raptors other all-star guard Kyle Lowery averaged 17.2 ppg in the first round of the playoffs and also dished out 8.3 assists per game. For the season, Lowry averaged 14.5 PPG, 5 APG, and 4.5 RPG against the Cavs. Lowry did not play in the first game against the Cavs this year.
Cleveland is the only team to advance in the playoffs despite being outscored in the first round by an average of 100.6 PPG to 94.9 PPG. Toronto averaged 109.2 PPG in the opening round against the Wizards. At home in the playoffs, they averaged 113.3 ppg. The Cavs averaged 93.6 PPG on the road against the Pacers.
Cleveland is 0-11 SU in their last 11 games as an underdog of 6.5 points or more. They’re also 0-5 SU and 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a road underdog in the playoffs. Furthermore, Cleveland is 1-5 ATS in the playoffs this year and finished 20-23 ATS on the road this season.
The Raptors went 4-2 ATS in the opening round of the playoffs and have an impressive 37-7 home record for the year. Additionally, they’ve gone 25-19 ATS at home this year and are 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 home games.
The Cavs might be able to upset Toronto for the series, but they aren’t going to win tonight. I like the more rested and motivated Raptors to beat the Cavs at home tonight by at least 7 points.
Bet: Raptors -6.5 points (-109)
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