Tony Dejak/Associated Press
Two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference will square off in Cleveland on Wednesday night when the Central-leading Cavaliers (41-29) host the Atlantic-leading Toronto Raptors (53-18).
Cleveland remains without head coach Tyronn Lue due to health issues, with assistant Larry Drew taking over in his absence.
NBA betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 117.4-109.4, Raptors (NBA picks on every game)
Why the Raptors can cover the spread
The Raptors won the last meeting with the Cavaliers 133-99 on January 11 as 2.5-point home underdogs, snapping a four-game skid in the series, as they were swept in the second round of last year’s playoffs.
Toronto had also lost nine of the previous 10 meetings before blowing out Cleveland, possibly signalling a changing of the guard in the East.
John Raoux/Associated Press
The Raptors saw their 11-game winning streak end with a 132-125 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday, but they are still playing some of their best basketball and own a five-game lead over the Boston Celtics for the No. 1 seed.
Why the Cavaliers can cover the spread
The Cavaliers got Kevin Love back for the first time since January 30 in a 124-117 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday, covering the spread as 2.5-point home favorites.
Love scored 18 points in his return, while LeBron James continued his recent tear, posting his third triple-double in four games with 40 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.
Tony Dejak/Associated Press
Despite losing the last matchup badly, Cleveland has still gone an impressive 7-3-1 against the spread in the last 11 games versus Toronto, according to the OddsShark NBA Database.
The Cavaliers will be extra motivated to avenge that lopsided defeat.
Smart betting pick
The Raptors are on their way to breaking their franchise record for wins; they need to go just 4-7 in their last 11 games to accomplish that feat, but this will be one of their toughest left on the schedule. After this, Toronto plays six of 10 at home, with another trip to Cleveland on April 3.
While the Raptors are 4-3 straight up in their last seven games when playing the second game of a back-to-back situation, they are 2-5 ATS, and they will be happy with a split of their two-game road trip after visiting the Orlando Magic on Tuesday.
Take Cleveland to win.
NBA betting trends
Toronto is 14-6 ATS in its last 20 games.
Toronto is 7-1 ATS in its last eight games on the road.
Cleveland is 2-4 ATS in its last six games.
All NBA odds and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week’s top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.