Raptors host Cavaliers in marquee Thursday betting matchup

Toronto Raptors radio voice Paul Jones joins Jeff Blair with his perspective on the struggles of Norman Powell, and what the player needs to do to help himself out.

The Toronto Raptors will be looking to avenge last season’s second-round playoff loss to Cleveland when they host the struggling Cavaliers on Thursday night.

Toronto was outclassed while being swept by the Cavaliers in last spring’s Eastern Conference semifinal clash, and has now lost straight up in nine of 10 meetings with Cleveland going into Thursday’s Cavaliers versus Raptors betting matchup at Air Canada Centre.

The Raptors have rebounded well from last spring’s early playoff exit. The club continues to sit among the leaders atop the NBA standings with a 28-11 record including an Eastern-best 14-2 SU record on home hardwood.

However, the Raptors are coming off a contentious 90-89 loss to Miami as 4-point home betting favourites on the NBA odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. That put the brakes on a 12-game SU win streak at the ACC, and marked the club’s poorest offensive performance on home court since February 2015.

Livestream the Raptors and other marquee NBA Playoffs matchups, including Games 2, 3 and 6 of the Raptors-Cavaliers series. Plus, get coverage of the NBA Finals, NBA Draft & NBA Awards.

Tuesday night’s power outage comes in stark contrast to the Raptors’ recent high-scoring performance. Toronto racked up 121.8 points per game over five victories immediately prior to the club’s loss to the Heat, and has tallied a conference-best 111.5 points per game this season.

DeMar DeRozan has averaged 33.4 points per game during the Raptors’ five-game win streak, including a franchise record 52-point performance in a 131-127 win over Milwaukee as 6-point home chalk on New Year’s Day. DeRozan also added 25 points in the loss to Miami, and has tallied over 30 points in five of the Cavaliers’ past seven visits to Toronto.

That is bad news for the Cavaliers, who travel north of the border with just three SU victories in their past nine games overall, including a crushing 127-99 loss in Minnesota as 1-point chalk on Monday night.

With the loss to the Timberwolves, Cleveland has now dropped seven of nine on the road both SU and against the spread, according to the OddsShark NBA Database, and has covered just four times in 19 games overall since Nov. 30. Despite those shaky numbers, the Cavaliers continue to trail only Golden State on the NBA championship odds, pegged at +575, well ahead of the Raptors, who sit at a distant +3300.

The Raptors close out their current three-game homestand with a visit from the defending NBA champion Warriors on Saturday before traveling to Philadelphia for a Monday matinee against the 76ers.

Toronto is winless in seven games against the Warriors including a 117-112 loss as a 12.5-point road underdog on Oct. 25, but has dominated the Sixers, going 18-1 SU in their past 19 meetings, including an 8-1 SU mark in nine visits to Wells Fargo Center.

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