Top NBA Eastern Conference teams Cleveland and Toronto meet on Friday
Daniel Coyle, American Sports Correspondent | February 26, 2016
Cleveland Cavaliers (-1.5) @ Toronto Raptors
The top two teams in the NBA’s Eastern Conference clash on Friday when LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers travel north of the border to battle the Toronto Raptors as 1.5-point road favourites in NBA betting with Coral.
Cleveland hold a three-game edge over the Dinos in the standings, and have significantly improved their performance on the road since claiming straight up wins in just six of their first 14 through Boxing Day, going on a torrid 11-2 SU run on the road since.
While the Cavs have discovered ways to win, they continue to be a betting disappointment away from Quicken Loans Arena, taking a middling 5-7-2 record against the spread in their past 14 road dates into Friday night’s Cavaliers v Raptors contest at Air Canada Centre.
In addition, the Cavaliers have tallied back-to-back ATS wins just once during the month of February, going 4-7 ATS over their past 11 overall.
Toronto takes a three-game SU winning streak into action against Cleveland, most recently claiming a 114-105 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night to remain within three games of the Cavaliers in the standings, and extend their franchise-record home winning streak to nine games.
Indeed, the Raptors have been beasts on their home floor, going 16-2 SU in their past 18, but have also struggled, failing to cover in three of their past four at home, and four of their past 11 overall.
The Dinos claimed a 103-99 win over the Cavs in their last meeting at the ACC, back in late November, but have generally struggled against squads led by James, going 2-4 SU in their past six against Cleveland after losing 14 straight to the Miami Heat while James was with the club.
Charlotte Hornets @ Indiana Pacers (-3.5)
At the other end of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, a pair of teams battling to stay in contention face off on Friday night when the Indiana Pacers play host to the Charlotte Hornets as 3.5-point chalk.
The Pacers hit the court looking to maintain their hold on fifth place in the East, and a slim half-game lead over the Chicago Bulls.
Indy has been unable to find consistency since opening the campaign on a 12-5 SU run, going a disconcerting 19-21 SU since, and have also been a risky bet, failing to cover in four of their past six outings, and seven of their past 19.
The club recorded a 108-105 home victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night, failing to cover as 6.5-point chalk, but have been unable to gain momentum at home, going 5-4 SU in their past nine, and winless ATS in their past three.
Charlotte, meanwhile, has been playing some of their best ball of the season, coming out on top in 10 of their last 14 contests, lifting their record above .500 for the first time since the holidays and seizing possession of eighth place in the standings.
The Hornets’ visit to Indiana marks the fifth stop on their current six-game road trip. They dropped a 114-103 decision in Cleveland on Wednesday, ending a five-game SU win streak, but have emerged as road warriors during their current tear, going 6-3 SU and ATS in their past nine, after enduring a brutal 10-game SU road losing streak.
Friday night marks the second meeting between these two clubs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse this month.
Charlotte dominated the Pacers in a 117-95 win back on February 10, ending a 12-game SU losing streak in Indiana, dating back seven years, and improving to 3-3 SU and 4-1-1 ATS in their past six meetings overall.
In other NBA betting action at Coral on Friday night, the Philadelphia 76ers look to end a six-game SU losing streak as they host the Washington Wizards as 8.5-point underdogs, while Dallas Mavericks host the Denver Nuggets as 5.5-point chalk, and the Memphis Grizzlies get the late start, visiting the Los Angeles Lakers as 4.5-point favourites.