Wed 03/05/2017 - 01:35 EDT

Wednesday Night Redemption: Can The Spurs And Raptors Prevail?

Wednesday Night Redemption: Can The Spurs And Raptors Prevail?

By Liam Davis

Cleveland Cavaliers (-7.5) vs. Toronto Raptors (+7.5)

Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey made a mistake in Game 1: He put Jonas Valanciunas back in the starting lineup. The move was rooted in trying to combat the Cleveland Cavaliers' frontcourt of Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson. He thought the combination of Valanciunas and Serge Ibaka would be more valuable than Normal Powell and the latter.

He was wrong.

The Raptors still lost the defensive rebounding battle, 39-35, while squandering the floor spacing they built up in the first round against the Milwaukee Bucks. Powell still ended up playing over 20 minutes, but it wasn't enough. His time on the court, though, was evidence of why Valanciunas can't be: Powell was a plus-14 in just over 20 minutes of action; Valanciunas was a minus-21 in roughly the same amount of time.

odds

Though JV adds size and rebounding to the Raptors' frontcourt, he's not made for this series. The Cavaliers run four-out lineups at all times, and Toronto gets reduced to three-out combinations when Valanciunas is sharing the floor with DeMar DeRozan, who still won't let 'er rip from beyond the arc. Mix this with Kyle Lowry's playoff-long shooting struggles, which he masks by becoming more of a facilitator, and the Raptors have some serious problems.

That's why Casey can't trot out the same starting five—and he won't. Multiple reports have him thinking about benching both DeMarre Carroll, who has been a non-factor for much of these playoffs, and Valanciunas. Granted, some of those same reports have him replacing Valanciunas with rookie Jakob Poeltl, which doesn't solve anything. But, ultimately, Casey will realize he needs to run smaller for longer, even if it's not from the jump, so that the Raptors can force the Cavaliers to be the team making adjustments.

We saw Toronto make miniature run in Game 1 after falling behind by as much as 25 points. And playing small is how it worked. Expect the coaching staff to make the necessary tweaks to ensure Game 2 is much closer.

The Pick: Toronto Raptors (+7.5)

 

San Antonio Spurs (-5) vs. Houston Rockets (+5) 

Are you worried about the 27-point drubbing the San Antonio Spurs suffered at the hands of the Houston Rockets in Game 1, on their home floor? You're not alone.

And you're not necessarily wrong.

The Spurs couldn't get a hold on the Rockets after the first quarter. They let them drill 22 three-pointers overall and were constantly carved up in the pick-and-roll. Head coach Gregg Popovich didn't do anything to tinker with his rotation when the Rockets were off to the races, either. He went with traditional frontcourts all the way, with two bigs. It didn't matter that Houston was running with not only one big, but oftentimes no conventional tower, instead favoring five-out units. San Antonio still had two of Pau Gasol, David Lee, LaMarcus Aldridge and Dewayne Dedmon on the court at all times.

Something has to give in Game 2. The Spurs have been exploited by more athletic teams too many times over the last two or threes to maintain a refusal to budge. Popovich has to consider playing Kawhi Leonard at the 4 with one of Dedmon and Aldridge at the 5, plus three shooters around them. It's the only way they're going to effectively counter the Rockets' three-point barrage.

Knowing how smart the Spurs are, we have to count on them regrouping the right way. Even if it's only a matter of ensuring they will get back on defense much quicker following missed shots on the offensive end, they should end up doing something, anything, that guarantees this next tilt is a victory.

San Antonio is too good to fall into a 2-0 series hole, so we're betting Leonard detonates on offense while the defense figures out how to defend James Harden pick-and-rolls a little bit better.

The Pick: San Antonio Spurs (-5)

Results / FixturesNBA

Category : Betting Picks

Tag : 2017 NBA Playoffs , houston rockets , nba , san antonio spurs , toronto raptors

More articles...
Betting Picks - 26/11/21
New England Revolution Favorite to Win The 2021 MLS Cup 
New England Revolution Favorite to Win The 2021 MLS Cup

The 2021 MLS Cup is preparing to begin and there are set to be 14 teams competing for the honor of being crowned champions at the end of a long season. But who is likely to be involved in the running for the title? Let's take a look at the betting picks.

Betting Picks - 26/11/21
MLB 2022: Early Betting Odds For Atlanta Braves to Retain World Series 
MLB 2022: Early Betting Odds For Atlanta Braves to Retain World Series

The 2021 Major League Baseball season has come to an end and the Atlanta Braves have been crowned World Series champions for the first time since 1995.

A 7-0 win over the Houston Astros meant they earned a 4-2 series win to claim the championship, with Jorge Soler claiming the series MVP award in the process.

With the off-season now upon us though, we've taken a look at the early odds for the 2022 season which is currently scheduled to start on March 31st 2022 to take a look at any value in the initial odds that we could possibly find.

Betting Picks - 26/11/21
NASCAR 2022 Cup Series Early Predictions 
NASCAR 2022 Cup Series Early Predictions

The NASCAR season just ended with a brand new champion being crowned as Kyle Larson secured his maiden title in the final race of the season.

But as one door closes, another door opens and we can now look ahead to the 2022 season and see who figures to potentially stake a claim for the title next year or whether Larson is able to retain his crown and go back-to-back.

Let's take a look at the top ten racers from last season, how they figure to stand going into the new campaign, and, of course, our betting picks.

Betting Picks - 26/11/21
Terence Crawford Favorite to Beat Shawn Porter 
Terence Crawford Favorite to Beat Shawn Porter

An explosive welterweight bout takes place this weekend live from the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas when Terrence Crawford takes on Shawn Porter for the WBO welterweight championship.

Two of the very best in the world will finally go head-to-head in this bout after months of build-up and online talk between them and now we'll get to see who reigns supreme in the ring on fight night.

Let's take a look at the big fight and see what betting tips we can come up with to get you some cash for the weekend.