NBA Gambling & Liev Jackson Free Picks: Beasts of the East Face Off as Cleveland Visits Toronto
Friday, February 26, 2016
by Liev Jackson
Cavaliers: 41-15 SU,25-29-2 ATS
Raptors: 38-18 SU,30-25-1 ATS
When: 7:30 PM ET, Friday, February 26, 2016
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario
TV: FSN Ohio, Sportsnet One
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been perched atop the Eastern Conference all season and are the consensus favorite to earn the #1 seed and ride the wave all the way back to the NBA finals –at least.
But if there’s one team that can get in their way it’s the Toronto Raptors. This is a team that still seems to be pushing the envelope for how good they can be. They’ve proved it all year by keeping pace with the Cavs and are now just three games behind them for best record in the East.
The Cavs have come out of the all-star break playing well with wins over Chicago, Oklahoma City and most recently Charlotte. They have one loss since the break and it’s the only one in their last seven games. They suffered a 96-88 home defeat at the hands of the Pistons on Monday.
In their most recent game against the Hornets the Cavs were determined to put what was arguably their worst performance of the season behind them. LeBron James had a season worst 12 points against the Pistons, but he rebounded for a 23 point night. Kyrie Irving matched him and at one point the team was up 20 in the fourth quarter before a few garbage time points made the score more respectable.
James, Irving, and Kevin Love have been taking turns leading the way of late and the addition of Channing Frye who came over in a deadline trade last week did what the team imagined in putting up points and creating space for his teammates.
Frye only had 2 points in nine minutes against the Pistons in his first game, but with an extra day of practice had 15 points and 6 rebounds in 18 minutes of work against the Hornets.
If that kind of production continues, then watch out world. This is a team that has already been scoring in bunches since Ty Lue took over head coaching duties to the tune of 107.7 PPG.
The Raptors in the meanwhile have rebounded from a two game losing streak (once before and once after the break) with a three game winning streak over Memphis, the Knicks and the Timber Wolves. The home win against Minnesota was their ninth straight on home court which is just one off the franchise record (set over two seasons).
DeMar DeRozan led the way as he has most of the season with 31 points. Together with Kyle Lowry, the two combined for 20 of the Raptors final 27 points to pull away after a very closely contested game.
Overall the Raptors are 17-3 since January 6th which is good enough for the best record in the conference over that stretch.
In that time period, their signature wins have come against the Clippers, Boston and perhaps the Marc Gasol-less Grizzlies. This game will be a great test to see where how they match against one of the elite teams in the league. Against Cleveland, OKC, San Antonio and Golden State the team is 3-3 this season including 1-1 versus the Cavs.
Cleveland is 9th overall in scoring with 103.1 PPG and third overall in points allowed with 96.9 PPG. The Raptors are 13th is scoring at 102.4 PPG and fifth in allowing 97.6 PPG.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Toronto Raptors Early Odds & Betting Lines
Live NBA Basketball Odds & Scores - Click here
Toronto was a 114-105 winner in its last match at home against the Timberwolves. They failed to cover the -9.5-point spread as favorites, while the total score of 219 sent OVER bettors to the payout window.
Cleveland won its last outing, a 114-103 result against the Hornets on February 24. The Cavaliers covered in that game as a -8.5-point favorite, while the 217 combined points took the game OVER the total.
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Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Toronto Raptors Basketball Betting Odds & Trends
Cleveland is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
Cleveland is 11-2 SU in its last 13 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 12 of Cleveland's last 18 games on the road
Current Streak: won 3 straight games.
Toronto is 17-3 SU in its last 20 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Toronto's last 5 games
Toronto is 6-3 ATS in its last 9 games at home
Cleveland at Washington Sunday, February 28
Toronto at Detroit Sunday, February 28
The Bottom Line: The Raptors are favored by one and given the way they’ve been playing at home and their earlier home win against the Cavs, I like their chances. The Pick: Raptors 105-103.