Cavaliers Must Regain Their Scoring Touch

DeMar DeRozan Kyrie Irving Toronto Raptors Cleveland Cavaliers

When the Cleveland Cavaliers first travelled north of the border, they had a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals and were brimming with confidence. Thanks to a pair of impressive showings from the Toronto Raptors, things are tied up at two as the series shifts back to Northeast Ohio. Game 5 is set for Wednesday.

Shark Bites
  • The Raptors are 0-4 SU in their last four games on the road against the Cavaliers.
  • The Cavaliers are 5-0 SU in their last five games after consecutive losses.
  • The total has gone UNDER in five of the Cavaliers' last six games with a closing total of 199.0 or more.

“They flipped the script on us,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue told reporters after his team’s 105-99 loss in Game 4. That may be a bit of an understatement. The wine and gold were unable to contain Toronto’s all-star guard pairing of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, while Bismack Biyombo – one of the biggest surprises of the 2016 NBA playoffs – dominated them on the glass time and time again.

LeBron James maximized his minutes in Game 4, scoring 29 points on 11-of-16 shooting with nine boards and six assists. “The King” attempted just one shot in the final five minutes of the game as his team relinquished the lead.

After going 1-for-9 in Game 3, sweet-shooting power forward Kevin Love went 4-of-14 in Game 4. Lue opted to play reserve Channing Frye in Love’s place for the fourth quarter.

The Raptors have been failing to cover as huge underdogs, going 1-4 ATS in their last five as dogs of 10.5 or more. On the flip side, the Cavs are 3-0 ATS in their previous three as favorites of 10.5 or more.

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Can Toronto Complete the Comeback?

Toronto Raptors Bismack Biyombo

Let’s be honest: the NBA has never led the charge in the parity department. The “Get into the playoffs and anything can happen” mentality just hasn’t seemed to translate to professional hoops, as superstar-laden teams tend to dominate year in and year out.

Except for the 2016 postseason, that is.


Home Court Cashing Tickets in GS-OKC

Stephen Curry Russell Westbrook Golden State Oklahoma City

The NBA’s Western Conference finals have been a rollercoaster ride so far, but it hasn’t exactly been competitive. Oklahoma City, which leads 2-1, will be looking to take a stranglehold on the series when Game 4 gets underway in Chesapeake Energy Arena on Monday.

Shark Bites
  • The Warriors are 1-3 ATS in their last four games.
  • The Thunder are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games after winning as an underdog.
  • The Warriors are 13-0 SU in their last 13 games after a loss.

The biggest talking point so far has been Draymond Green. After getting fouled in Game 3, Green kicked Thunder big man Steven Adams in the groin, causing the referees to hand him a flagrant one. Green insisted the move was not intentional, and it appears the league agrees with him. The Michigan State product was not suspended for his actions, but received a $25,000 fine from the front office as the foul was upgraded to a flagrant two.

The contest was one to forget for Green, who finished with six points on 1-of-9 shooting. The Warriors were outscored by 43 points with him on the floor.

This is not the first time the Dubs have been in this position within the last few playoffs, yet it feels strange to see the squad in this point considering they recently set a new record for regular season wins. The Thunder aren’t messing around, however, and they’ve clearly reached another gear in the postseason.

Home court advantage continues to be huge when it comes to cashing spread tickets. In the last 11 meetings between the Western Conference foes, the visiting team is 1-9-1 ATS.

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Odds on Green Getting Suspended

Unlike football and hockey, basketball is not a contact sport. But every now and then when tempers flare, you see players mix it up on the court. Golden State Warriors power forward Draymond Green took that to a new level on Sunday.

In Game 3 of his team’s Western Conference final series with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Green directly kicked OKC big man Steven Adams in the groin after getting fouled in the paint. The whistle had already blown, and it was quite clear the move did not happen by accident.


Can the Raptors Surprise the Cavs Again?

Many fans and pundits had already written off the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference finals, but a huge 99-84 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 has given new life to Canada’s lone NBA franchise. Game 4 gets underway in Toronto on Monday.

Shark Bites
  • The Cavaliers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games.
  • The Raptors are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following an ATS win.
  • The home team is 6-0 ATS in the last 6 meetings.

Game 3 took on a new dimension, as words, punches and elbows were thrown around. In the wake of the testy contest, Dahntay Jones was suspended for striking Bismack Biyombo below the belt while the pair were battling for a loose ball. Raptors’ head coach Dwane Casey was fined $25,000 by the league for his criticism of the officiating crew.

Biyombo was instrumental in Toronto’s comeback game. Filling in for injured starting center Jonas Valanciunas, the Congo native hauled in a Raptors’ playoff record 26 rebounds, blocked four shots and scored six of his seven points in the fourth quarter to lead his team to victory.

Valanciunas’ status has been upgraded to doubtful, and he is progressing in his recovery. Casey told reporters the big man would be re-evalutated on Monday.

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Cavs-Raps are a Great Source of UNDERs

Can the Toronto Raptors do anything to slow down the Cleveland Cavaliers? Fresh off back-to-back setbacks in Ohio, the Eastern Conference finals shifts north of the border when Game 3 gets underway on Saturday.

Shark Bites
  • The Cavaliers have scored over half of the posted total in 11 of their last 12 games.
  • The Raptors are 0-6 SU and ATS in their last six games as an underdog of 5.0 or less.
  • The Cavaliers are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games with one day off between games.

The Raptors have fared much better in the friendly confines of the Air Canada Centre in the playoffs. Toronto is 6-2 SU at home in the postseason after going 32-9 in Canada during the regular season.

UNDER bettors continue to love when these teams collide, as the UNDER has gone 17-3 in the last 20 meetings between the East squads. The total, which opened at 197.5, will also appeal to bettors who bet low totals. The Raptors have gone UNDER the total in their last five when facing a total of 197.5 or more.

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How Will Cavaliers' Historic Run End?

Are you taking the Cavaliers seriously yet? After being looked at as the third-best team in basketball for most of the season, they’ve become just the third team in the last 25 years to win the first 10 games of the playoffs.


Warriors Failing to Cover in OKC

We knew the Golden State Warriors-Oklahoma City Thunder Western Conference final series was going to be a rollercoaster, and that’s exactly what’s transpired through two games. Game 3 gets underway on Sunday as the action shifts back to Oklahoma.

Shark Bites
  • The Thunder are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games.
  • The UNDER is 5-2 in the Thunder's last 7 games.
  • The Warriors are 0-3-1 ATS in the last 4 meetings in Oklahoma City.

The Thunder were the top rebounding team in the regular season, while the Warriors topped the Association in just about every statistical shooting category. Golden State did its best to combat the Thunder on the glass in Game 2, and that effort resulted in a huge 118-91 victory. The Dubs finished with 15 offensive rebounds and 15 second-chance points, outrebounding OKC by a 62-32 margin.

At this point it’s looking like the Dubs’ big men might be more important than its sharpshooters in this series. Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson can light it up from anywhere, but it’s looking like the matchup will be decided in the paint.

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Can the Raptors Bounce Back in Game 2?

Kyle Lowry LeBron James Toronto Raptors Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers hammered the Toronto Raptors in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals and barely broke a sweat in doing so. The Raps will have an opportunity to even things up when Game 2 gets underway in Ohio tonight.

Shark Bites
  • The Raptors are 10-0 SU and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games after a loss.
  • The total has gone UNDER in nine of the Raptors' last 12 games as an underdog of 12.0 or more.
  • The Cavaliers are 1-3 ATS in their last four games as a favorite of 12.0 or more.

Cleveland has yet to drop a game in the postseason after collecting nine straight victories. Toronto didn’t get much help from its best player Kyle Lowry in the series opener, as the point guard shot 4-of-14 from the field and spent the majority of the second half on the bench.

The Raptors would surely benefit from the return of star big man Jonas Valanciunas, but it’s looking like the Lithuanian will not return this week. Valanciunas injured his ankle in Game 3 of his team’s second round series with the Miami Heat and remains out indefinitely.

There was some concern that the Cavs would be rusty in Game 1 since they’re coming off back-to-back sweeps, but perhaps the extra rest has served them well. Cleveland played just eight games in the first 33 days of the playoffs, while the Raptors were stretched to 14.

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Raps Bettors Shouldn't Fret Game 1 Loss

Toronto Raptors Kyle Lowry

If you backed the Toronto Raptors’ series price prior to the start of the Eastern Conference finals, chances are you’re thinking it may have been better to set your money on fire after Game 1’s 115-84 rout at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers. But before you panic, keep this in mind: losing Game 1 is commonplace for Canada’s lone NBA club.



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