Raptors betting favourites for Game 1, series against Cavaliers


Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Jose Calderon drives to the basket against Toronto Raptors centre Jonas Valanciunas. (Tony Dejak/AP)

The Toronto Raptors will have vengeance in mind when they open their second-round playoff series with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night as 6.5-point favourites on the NBA playoff odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Raptors advanced past the first round for a third straight year by eliminating the Washington Wizards with a 102-92 victory as 2-point home chalk in Game 6 of their series on Friday. Toronto now looks to avoid getting bounced from the postseason by Cleveland for a third straight year as their series gets underway with Tuesday night’s Cavaliers versus Raptors betting matchup at Air Canada Centre.

After showing glimpses of championship form during their opening-round victory over Washington, the Raptors have emerged as favourites on the NBA playoff series prices, with -205 odds (wager $205 to win $100) of knocking off the Cavaliers.

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However, the team has been thoroughly dominated while losing straight up in six straight postseason clashes with the Cavaliers since 2016. Cleveland rolled to an easy four-game sweep of the Raptors in the second round of last year’s NBA playoffs, and has claimed victory over Toronto by an average margin of 20.83 points per game in those six straight wins.

The Raptors also dropped two of three to the Cavaliers during the regular season, capped by a pair of SU and against the spread losses in Cleveland over the final three weeks of the campaign. But Toronto overall has rolled to victory in seven straight home dates, posting five wins by a double-digit margin to fuel a 5-1-1 ATS run at Air Canada Centre.

Toronto also tallied a crushing 133-99 win as a 2.5-point home underdog in the Cavaliers’ last visit on January 11, ending a five-game SU and ATS slide against Cleveland at the ACC. However, the Raptors will need to find a way to contain James, who has led the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals in each of the past three years, and scored 44 or more points on three occasions during Cleveland’s seven-game victory over the Indiana Pacers in the first round.

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James also averaged 36 points in the Cavaliers’ sweep of Toronto a year ago, but enjoyed little support during the team’s hard-fought victory over the Pacers, with Kevin Love being the only other Cleveland player to average more than 10 points per game in the series.

Those struggles have directly impacted the Cavaliers at the sportsbooks, where they trail the Raptors as +175 underdogs (wager $100 to win $175) on the NBA playoff series prices. Cleveland also trails Toronto on the NBA championship odds, slipping to +1200 while the Raptors are at +900.

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