There’s a saying in sports betting: “public ‘dogs get slaughtered” — and it applies to the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Toronto Raptors meeting Wednesday at Scotiabank Arena.
The betting market is showing the Cavs love due to their solid young core and trading for Donovan Mitchell this offseason. But, it’s going to take time for Mitchell to figure out his role in Cleveland.
On the other hand, the Raptors are a team I’m bullish on. They have one of the best head coaches in the NBA (Nick Nurse) and Toronto wing Pascal Siakam is the best player on the floor in this matchup.
In fact, Toronto’s edge on the wing will be the difference-maker in this game. The market is overrating Cleveland’s backcourt but I don’t see how the Cavs defend both Siakam and SF Scottie Barnes.
Betting Details (DraftKings)
- Moneyline: Cavaliers (+120), Raptors (-140)
- Against the spread: Cavaliers +2.5 (-110), RAPTORS -2.5 (-110)
- Total (O/U) — 214.5 — O: -110, U: -110
First of all, the Cavs are a popular underdog with nearly 75% of the money backing them at DraftKings Sportsbook, according to VSIN.
Speaking of which, people are sleeping on Toronto’s backcourt in this matchup. I’ll give a slight edge to Cavs PG Darius Garland and Mitchell over Raptors guards Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr.
But, Garland and Mitchell are duds defensively so VanVleet and Trent will uphold their end of the bargain offensively.
Trent is an elite 3-point shooter and outscored Mitchell 31-20 last season when the Raptors faced Mitchell’s former team, the Utah Jazz.
Furthermore, the Cavs were clumsy with the ball last season. This is a weakness the Raptors will exploit because Nurse is one of the best defensive masterminds in the NBA.
It’s going to take some time for Garland and Mitchell to gel, which makes Toronto a tough opening-night matchup for the Cavs.
Also, Cleveland struggled to close out defensive possessions despite its frontcourt size. The Cavs were 18th in defensive rebounding rate and the Raptors had the 2nd-highest offensive rebounding rate.
Toronto has a sneaky strong home-court advantage and that was slightly muted last season due to Canada’s COVID restrictions. Those restrictions are off this season and the Raptors get their home-court edge back.
The bottom line is the Raptors will be at peak motivation in front of their home crowd and Toronto’s edges in ball security and rebounding will be greater.
BET: Raptors -2.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to Toronto -3
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