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Thursday's Best Bet
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NBA fans basically get a full day of action despite their only being four games on the schedule, as Boston and Philadelphia are playing over in London for an afternoon game here in North America, while the Thursday night TNT double-header follows later with Cleveland in Toronto and San Antonio in L.A to face the Lakers.

The other team from L.A is also in action as they are fresh off their upset win over Golden State last night and hope to keep the good times rolling in Sacramento.

So which one of these games has me interested in getting some action down?

Well, it's the national showcase game from north of the border as Cleveland and Toronto renew their acquaintances. Odds: Cleveland (-3); Total set at 219.5

The Raptors and Cavs have started themselves a bit of a rivalry after meeting in the playoffs the past two years, but the sweep by Cleveland a season ago squashed much of the “rivalry” notion at least on their end.

But this Toronto team knows that to get where they ultimately want to go they'll have to go through the Cavs at some point and there is no better time then to show up with your best performance than on national television south of the border.

Already this season we've heard from Raptors like Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan about their feelings about being disrespected in the US because of the lack of national media attention the Raptors get there and why they never get to play on the showcase of Christmas Day, so it's put up or shut up time for Toronto now on the national Thursday showcase spot.

Yet, the thing is, for Toronto to come away on top, they've got to find a way to play some defense and limit the Cavs scoring. Toronto has adopted a more-uptempo style themselves this year with their 3rd ranked offense in terms of points per game (111.5), but the previous two playoff series' against Cleveland taught them first hand that they aren't likely to beat the Cavs without playing some defense.

This is the first time they see Cleveland since getting swept last year, but back in the 2016 playoff series, Toronto's only two victories came at home and they held Cleveland under the century mark in both outings. All of the other four games saw Cleveland score 108 or more, and even in the Cavs four wins in 2017 they never scored fewer than 109 points.

With the Cavs offense being held to less than 100 in two of their last three games, and four of their last seven overall, the situation may not get any better for this Raptors defense to tighten the screws and prove that they can compete with the league's best this year.

Cleveland has to be looking at this game like the Raps are a legitimate threat in the East and it's those matchups that usually peak the Cavs interest. It's one thing to give up 127 points in consecutive games to the likes of Minnesota and Orlando – two teams that pose no real threat to Cleveland, but when they look up and see Toronto's offense scoring more points per game than they do, you'd better believe the Cavs defense will be engaged tonight.

Furthermore, in Cleveland's last three games against opponents they feel are legitimate threats to them down the road (Boston, Golden State, Washington), the Cavs have allowed 102, 99, and 99 points against in those games.

Toronto definitely falls into that category of an opponent that deserves attention for this Cleveland team, and with the Cavs 3-7 O/U in their last 10 on the road, 7-21 O/U in their last 28 trips to Toronto as an organization, and Toronto 1-5 O/U in their last six at home, I fully expect this game to stay well below this inflated number.

Odds per -

Best Bet #1: Cleveland/Toronto Under 219.5

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