Cavaliers vs. Raptors – NBA, Thursday, March 24, 2022

| March 23, 2022 6:37 pm PDT

NBA Thursday night features a pivotal matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors. The Cavaliers are the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference but hold a one-game lead over the Raptors. That No. 6 seed is important because its the final spot to avoid the play-in tournament.

Cleveland has been top six in the Eastern Conference throughout the season, but they haven’t played their best basketball lately. Can they hold off Toronto?

The top NBA betting sites give us the odds for the Cavaliers vs. Raptors. Let’s see who has the upper hand.

Cavaliers vs. Raptors Odds for March 24th 

Cleveland Cavaliers (+4.0)-115
Toronto Raptors (-4.0)-105
Cleveland Cavaliers to Win+150
Toronto Raptors to Win-170

The Cleveland Cavaliers have the better record, but the Toronto Raptors home-court advantage gives them a (-4.0) point advantage.

Cleveland has been among the best teams in the league against the spread. Their 39-30-3 record is fourth-best, but they haven’t been as strong lately. The Cavaliers have only covered in two of their last seven games.

The sportsbooks haven’t added the point total, but the Cavaliers have hit the over in seven of their last eight games.

I mentioned that the Cavaliers have the fourth-best record against the spread. Toronto has the third-best record, going 41-31. They’ve been hot lately, covering in six of their last eight games. The Raptors have gone under their point total in four of their previous five games.

Cleveland won’t have Jarrett Allen or Rajon Rondo for Thursday night’s matchup. Neither player has played since early March as they recover from injuries. OG Anunoby may return after missing a month with a finger injury.

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Cleveland Cavaliers Preview 

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been among the biggest surprises of the 2021-22 season. No one expected Cleveland to compete for a playoff spot, but they’ve shattered expectations as a playoff contender.

All season, the strength of the Cavaliers has been their defense. Their 104.6 points allowed per game ranks third in the NBA. However, we haven’t seen the same defense since Jarrett Allen’s finger injury.

Check out their most points allowed in the last nine games.

  • @ Indiana Pacers: 124 points
  • @ Miami Heat: 117 points
  • Philadelphia 76ers: 118 points
  • Los Angeles Lakers: 131 points

The Cavaliers are 4-5 since Allen’s injury. They’re desperately missing his impact on the defensive end. Perhaps they could sign Tacko Fall. He is a top G-League player that deserves a shot in the NBA.

Cleveland’s offense has held them back this season, but they’re starting to show promise. The primary reason is all-star guard Darius Garland.

The early-season injury to Collin Sexton allowed Garland to take on a bigger role. A great first half earned him a spot on the all-star team, but Garland’s has taken his game to another level. Check out his numbers post-all-star break.

  • 26.4 points
  • 4.5 assists
  • 1.4 steals
  • 43.2 field goal percentage
  • 34.7 three-point percentage

Only once since the all-star break has Garland failed to score 22 points. Coincidentally, that came against the Toronto Raptors. Lauri Markkanen has put up quality numbers against the Raptors.

Markkanen missed the first matchup but combined for 42 points and 19 rebounds in the last two matchups. He is a big reason the Cavaliers are 3-0 against the Raptors.

Cleveland’s defense has shut down Toronto’s offense. Will they be able to replicate that on Thursday night?

Toronto Raptors Preview

The Toronto Raptors have been a pleasant surprise. They came into the season as a borderline playoff contender but have put themselves in a position to finish top six in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto had a rough stretch, losing five of seven games after the all-star break. However, they followed that up with a six-game road winning streak. Check out the quality of opponents they defeated.

  • San Antonio Spurs: 119-104
  • Phoenix Suns: 117-112
  • Denver Nuggets: 127-115
  • Los Angeles Lakers: 114-103
  • Los Angeles Clippers: 103-100
  • Philadelphia 76ers: 93-88

The Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers are among the best teams in the league. That stretch shows Toronto can compete with anyone.

They haven’t been as extreme as the Cleveland Cavaliers, but Toronto’s offense is the strength of their team. That stretch shows they held down high-scoring offenses like the Suns and San Antonio Spurs.

Toronto has four players that are capable of scoring at a high clip. Fred VanVleet has struggled in March, so Pascal Siakam has picked up the slack. Check out his March numbers.

  • 25.4 points
  • 7.9 rebounds
  • 4.8 assists
  • 50.9 field goal percentage
  • 42.1 three-point percentage

Siakam didn’t play in the Raptors’ first two matchups with the Cavaliers. In their last matchup, he led the team with 24 points. Four players scored 19+ points, but the Raptors couldn’t dig out of a first-half hole.

We talked about the Raptors’ offensive struggles against the Cavaliers. I’d say that has to do with not having a full team. Siakam missed the first matchup, while all their top players missed the second game. VanVleet and OG Anunoby didn’t play in the last matchup.

There’s no guarantee Anunoby or Gary Trent Jr. will suit up on Thursday night. With that in mind, let’s check out my game pick.

Cavaliers vs. Raptors Pick

  • Cleveland Cavaliers (+4.0)

This seems like a good game to bet the under, but the sportsbooks haven’t released that option. Keep an eye out for those odds.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have had the Toronto Raptors’ numbers this season. It worries me that the Raptors could be without OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. Picking the Cavaliers to cover gives me some wiggle room.

Our basketball betting picks include the NBA, as well as March Madness. Check it out if you’d like more opportunities to bet on basketball.

Nicholas Sterling
Nicholas Sterling

Nicholas has been a Sports Writer with since May 2021. He has a rich sports background, writing about NASCAR, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Golf, etc. Nick is always ready for a new challenge.

He enjoys rooting on D.C. sports teams, including the Commanders, Wizards, and Capitals.

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