A pair of Eastern Conference playoff contenders match up on Sunday night when the Toronto Raptors visit the Cleveland Cavaliers. Toronto has dropped two in a row and sits two games in the conference standings behind the Cavaliers in seventh place. Cleveland has lost three in a row to fall to sixth in the East and third in the Central Division. This one should be a good one, but how to bet online on it will require a closer look.
Raptors Struggling Without Top Scorers
The Toronto Raptors are hoping to have All-Star guard Fred VanVleet, but he’s considered questionable with a knee injury that has kept him out of five of the last seven games. VanVleet has had a breakthrough season, averaging career highs in scoring (21.4 points), assists (6.9), and rebounding (4.5), and Toronto needs his leadership on the floor to be successful.
The Raptors are also playing without forward OG Anunoby, who is averaging 17.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game and provides solid perimeter defense for the team. Anunoby is expected to miss a couple of weeks with a finger injury.
That leaves the offensive load to be carried by forward Pascal Siakam, who paces the team with 21.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Siakam is also distributing the ball, ranking second on the Raptors with 5.0 assists per game, and he’ll need to play strong in the paint against a long Cavaliers front line.
Toronto is hoping to generate offense from its defense, as the team ranks third in the NBA with 9.0 steals per game. The Raptors will need to get out in transition to avoid facing the Cleveland half-court defense as much as possible.
Cavs Hoping To Get Back To Winning Form
The Cleveland Cavaliers looked like they were going to break out of their slump on Friday night, jumping out to a 39-18 lead against the Philadelphia 76ers. Unfortunately, the Cavaliers blew that lead and lost to the 76ers, their sixth setback in seven games, but coach JB Bickerstaff is hoping the early run is a sign of things to come.
“We felt and looked like ourselves for the first time in a while,” Bickerstaff said after Friday’s loss. “We just happened to run into a really good basketball team.”
The Cavaliers have been a really good basketball team, especially on the defensive end. Cleveland leads the NBA in scoring defense, allowing just 103.3 points per game.
Offensively, guard Darius Garland has had an All-Star season, leading the team with 20.7 points, 8.1 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Garland has only played in two games since the All-Star break due to a back bruise, but he’s averaged 29.5 points and 11.5 assists in those two contests, including dishing out 19 assists against the 76ers on Friday.
The Cavaliers’ other All-Star, center Jarrett Allen, is averaging a double-double with 16.3 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. He’s the anchor of the team’s defense and will need to play well in this one for Cleveland to snap its losing streak.
Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers Head-to-Head
The Cleveland Cavaliers have won the first two meetings, including scoring 144 in a 45-point rout of the Toronto Raptors on Dec. 26. That game had the Raptors dealing with a COVID-19 breakout, so it’s hard to read anything into that one for this contest.
Toronto has dominated this series over the last few years, winning eight of the last 10 prior to this season. But this is a new Cavaliers team, so that’s why the NBA lines are favoring Cleveland in this one.
Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers Game Information
Game: Toronto Raptors (34-29) at Cleveland Cavaliers (36-27)
Location: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse
Day/Time: Sunday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers Betting Lines
Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers Prediction
Both of these teams are dealing with some injuries and subpar play of late, but both are going to be tough outs when the playoffs begin, assuming they both make it. The Toronto Raptors will need Fred VanVleet to be able to pull out the road win in this one, but we don’t see his presence helping, even if he can go. The Cleveland Cavaliers have too much depth and are playing at home, so we like them to snap their losing streak on Sunday.
When doing your NBA betting, take the Cavaliers to win and cover at home.