Toronto Raptors (16-15) at New Orleans Hornets (20-10), 8 pm Eastern Monday
by Zman of Predictem.com
A team looking to reverse a recent downward trend takes on one of the hottest teams in the league when the Toronto Raptors visit the New Orleans Hornets for a New Years’ Eve date Monday night.
NBA betting boards list the Hornets as six-point home favorites for Monday night’s game, with a total of 184. Also, New Orleans is posted at right around -250 on various Vegas moneylines, with Toronto getting +210 as road underdogs.
New Orleans has crept to within a game and a half of first place in the Southwest Division by winning its last five games in a row after beating Cleveland Saturday 86-76.
On the other end of this match-up, Toronto has stumbled a bit of late, losing five of its last seven games after falling at Houston Saturday 91-79. Heading into Monday’s play, the Raptors are in second place in the Atlantic Division, but they’re 11 game back of the first-place Boston Celtics.
This is the last game of a two-piece, seven-game road trip through the Western Conference for Toronto. The Raptors are 2-4 so far over that span, and have been held below 41% FG shooting each of the last three games.
New Orleans is 17-12 against the spread so far this season, 9-5 straight up and 7-7 vs. the numbers at home.
Toronto is 16-14 ATS this season, 8-9 SU and 8-8-1 vs. the numbers on the road.
On their way to the Atlantic Division crown last season, the Raptors swept two games from the Hornets, winning 94-77 on the road and 90-88 in Toronto. Both games stayed below their totals of 187 and 188.
Statistically speaking, the Raptors rank 13th in the league with a +1.7 average points-per-game margin, while New Orleans ranks 7th at +3.9.
Toronto is shooting 44.5% from the floor as a team this season, leads the league in 3-point shooting at 42% and ranks 2nd in FT shooting at 81%.
The Hornets are shooting 45% from the field, 36.5% from long range and ranks 3rd in the league in FT shooting at 79%.
Also, New Orleans ranks 18th in rebounding at +0 per game, the Raptors 20th at -.8. And while the Hornets are holding opponents to 44% FG shooting, Toronto is allowing 45% FG shooting.
The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com ranks New Orleans 9th at 93.4, the Raptors 12th at 92.3.
The o/u is 14-17 in Toronto games this season, which are averaging 192 points per, while the totals are a lopsided 10-20 in Hornets games, which are averaging 190 points.
Zman’s Pick: Take the Raptors at +6.