Cleveland Cavaliers (0-0) at Toronto Raptors (0-0)
|Date & Time||Wednesday October 17, 2018, 7:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Toronto Raptors -10 -- Over/Under:
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors meet Wednesday in NBA action at the Scotiabank Arena.
The Cleveland Cavaliers begin another era without LeBron James, and if its anything like his departure the first time, the Cavs are in trouble. In the four years LeBron teamed up with the Miami Heat, the Cavaliers won an average of 24.25 games. It can’t be a great feeling going from title contenders every year to not even making the playoffs in a watered down conference. Now, the good news is that the Cavs still have much of last years team in place, as George Hill, JR Smith, Rodney Hood, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson are still around. That chemistry and experience should help, and rookie Collin Sexton has a chance to be a really good player and is somebody who brings that competitive edge to the court. With the veterans on this roster, I don’t see the Cavs being as bad as they were the first time LeBron left. The Cleveland Cavaliers have won four of their last six regular season openers.
The Toronto Raptors have won 50-plus games each of the last three years but somehow have a new head coach in Nick Nurse. The Raptors also decided to make a major change to their roster by shipping out DeMar DeRozan and bringing in Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard. The changes have many higher on the Raptors than previous years, as most have the Raptors competing for winning the Eastern Conference. Kawhi is obviously a game changer, and with the pieces around him, the Raptors should easily be a top-five defense in the league this season. Another year of progress from Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby would be the keys to pushing the Raptors over the top. The flashy new toy in Kawhi is nice to have, but it’s going to be the depth that determines which team comes out of the East this season. Either way, Toronto has a team that is finally being taken seriously in the States. The Toronto Raptors have won each of their last five regular season openers.
The Cavaliers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. Eastern Conference, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. NBA Atlantic and 0-5 ATS in their last 5 Wednesday games. The Raptors are 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 home games and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 3 or more days rest. The Cavaliers are 6-1-1 ATS in the last 8 meetings in Toronto, 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings and the over is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings. The under is 5-2 in Cavaliers last 7 vs. Eastern Conference and the over is 5-1 in Raptors last 6 home games.
The Toronto Raptors finally have their chance to get payback against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team that's prevented them from taking that next step and helped cause major changes to their franchise. While LeBron isn't there, I'm sure the Raptors want to let out some of their frustration in this contest and make an early statement. I'm not big on laying big chalk, especially early in the season and with teams that have new key players or a new coach, but these teams are quite lopsided. While the Cavs have experienced vets who have pride, the Raptors have an elite defense and guys who can takeover games in Kawhi and Kyle Lowry. When the Raptors make that run, who on the Cavs will step in to stop the bleeding? This game could get ugly, so I'll eat the chalk.