2018 NBA Playoff Odds – Raptors / Cavaliers:
In this Round 2 best of 7 series, the Raptors are the favorites, according to the pro basketball playoff odds posted at VietBet:
Toronto Raptors -195
Cleveland Cavaliers +168
Toronto is laying 6.5 points in the opener. We’re uneasy about spotting LeBron that kind of number. But we could see the Raptors coming out of a tight series with a ticket to the Eastern finals.
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2018 NBA Playoff Odds: CJ’s Take on the Toronto Raptors:
The Toronto Raptors have been turned back with extreme prejudice by the Cleveland Cavaliers for two seasons in a row, and they have taken measures almost specifically to remedy that. As for what the end result is, we’ll get to see that on Tuesday night, starting at 8:05 PM ET at the Air Canada Center, when Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semi-final series commences. Yes, that means the Raptors have a home court advantage, by virtue of being the #1 seed in the conference. Remember that at VietBet you can get reduced juice as a way of giving you more value before the game tips off, and then during the contest, Live Betting Ultra enables the ultimate in real-time wagering.
The Raptors suffered the indignity of a four-game sweep at the hands of LeBron James and the Cavaliers last season, and the Cavs outscored Toronto by 102 points beyond the arc. When you have that AND the ability of LeBron to attack the basket, you can have a combination that is very tough to beat. And indeed it was. Whether it still is may depend on what James’ supporting cast is able to contribute, vis-a-vis that of the Raptors’ supporting players, which includes a bench that averaged more points per game than anyone else’s during the regular season.
2018 NBA Playoff Odds: CJ’s Take on the Cleveland Cavaliers:
LeBron once again looked like a one-man wrecking crew in the seven-game series win over Indiana. He averaged 33.4 points, which was almost three times as much as the next most productive teammate (Kevin Love) and took 46% of his team’s free throw attempts. In the process of monopolizing the ball, he also chalked up 7.7 assists per game, while the next teammate on the list had 2.0.
It is a tribute to James that he is able to be more or less a one-man team and still keep his team winning, but they encounter a Toronto squad that ideally spreads the ball around, with a lot more assists than last season, and puts up a lot more in the way of three-pointers.
For the Cavs, it looks like the more that’s at stake, the more likely they are to go with the players who have delivered for them in the recent past. For Game 7, all the people who got considerable playing time were with the team in the last two NBA Finals – James was joined by Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love and JR Smith, in addition to Kyle Korver. Thompson was snubbed altogether in the early part of the series against the Pacers, as he was embroiled in the scandal of infidelity while celebrity baby momma Khloe Kardashian was “with child.” But the Cavs needed some muscle underneath, and he has the ability to supply it.
Cleveland shot the fifth-most three-pointers in the league this season, so needless to say they are going to have to find at least some success from long range. As a team, Toronto’s defense has allowed opponents to take only 29% of their shots from beyond the three-point arc, and only one team in the NBA was less “permissive” than that. And that is the kind of stat that can mean something, especially when it is a staple of a team’s offensive strategy.
And speaking of that, the Raptors are “all-in” as far as triples are concerned. A year ago they were 22nd in three-pointers attempted; this year they were third, as coach Dwane Casey, with guidance from upper management, has changed the approach of this offense. They are exercising more ball movement, although the Usage figure of DeMar DeRozan (33.9%) is very high; it is similar to James’ first-round figure against Indiana (34.7%). While LeBron doesn’t necessarily have all the chemistry in the world with all the new people who have been added to the Cleveland roster this season – and they have undergone a LOT of upheaval – Toronto operates fluidly with its bench most of the time, particularly if Fred VanVleet, a great young floor leader and three-point shooter, can perform after returning from a shoulder injury.
Here is the entire series schedule:
- Game 1 in Toronto: Tuesday, May 1, 8 p.m. ET, TNT
- Game 2 in Toronto: Thursday, May 3, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN
- Game 3 in Cleveland: Saturday, May 5, 8:30 p.m. ET, ABC
- Game 4 in Cleveland: Monday, May 7, 8:30 p.m. ET, TNT
- Game 5 in Toronto: Wednesday, May 9, TBD, TNT*
- Game 6 in Cleveland: Friday, May 11, TBD, ESPN *
- Game 7 in Toronto: Sunday, May 13, TBD*
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