Toronto Raptors vs. San Antonio Spurs Pick
Toronto Raptors (28-11 SU, 17-22 ATS) vs. San Antonio Spurs (21-17 SU, 22-15-1 ATS)
When: Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 8:00 PM ET
Where: AT&T Center – San Antonio, TX
By: Keith Franks, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TOR +1.5 / SA -1.5
Power Rankings: San Antonio -7
Takeaways From Toronto and San Antonio’s Most Recent Games
The Raptors come in off a New Year’s Day win where they rung in the new year with style defeating the Utah Jazz by a score of 122-116 to produce a cover as a 1.5-point favorite. The win in particular snapped a four-game skid of Toronto failing to produce a cover. Standout forward Kawhi Leonard led the way with an impressive 41 points against Utah’s gritty defense.
Like their counterparts heading into this affair, the Spurs also enter on a two-game winning streak. Moreover, San Antonio has also successfully covered in their previous four outings. Most recently, the Spurs elated in a New Year’s Eve victory against the visiting Boston Celtics where San Antonio cruised to a 120-111 win despite closing as a 1.5-point underdog.
How the Public is Betting the Toronto-San Antonio Game
At the moment, 65% of the betting public like San Antonio here laying just a bucket with the Spurs to the Raptors in this position. Despite the lean, no line movements have occurred in response.
The Raptors and Spurs met just under a year ago in the Great White North where Toronto won a defensive game by a score of 86-83. The Spurs were six-point dogs in the aforementioned contest despite owning a four-game winning streak heading into the contest.
Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry will be out for this game due to a back injury that requires him to receive anti-inflammatory injections. Toronto will also be without Center Jonas Valanciunas who is expected back in early February from a thumb injury. Both are significant losses for Toronto heading into this contest against a San Antonio club equipped with some premium talent.
Toronto Will Be Looking To Prove They Are The Beasts of the Easts
Last year, the Raptors emerged as the top team in the Eastern Conference when they were the number one seed in the 2018 playoffs. Unfortunately for Toronto they did not play like such a team when they were swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Conference Semifinals. However, this season the Raptors are just a game out of the top position and have played with a chip on their shoulder every step of the way. The name of their game is balance as the Raptors own the seventh-ranked scoring offense (113.1 points per game) while also curating the ninth-ranked scoring defense which gives up only 107.5 points per outing. A significant point of concern in this affair in particular is their three-point shooting as they are ranked 25th in the NBA with a 34.1% three-point field goal percentage. However, Toronto is one of the best in defending against the trey with a sixth-ranked 33.9% opponent three-point field goal percentage.
San Antonio Will Play Their Signature Blend of Efficient Basketball
The Spurs play fundamentally sound basketball as they are extremely efficient from both the charity stripe and beyond the arc. In fact, San Antonio is the best team in the league when it comes to three-point shooting (39.7%) and free throw percentage (82.3%). Led by a dynamic duo of shooting guard DeMar DeRozan (22.9 ppg/6.3 apg/1 spg) and forward LaMarcus Aldridge (19.8 pgg/9 rpg/1.2 bpg/2.2 apg), Coach Greg Popovich’s acumen makes this team a potent threat with such prolific offensive and defensive weapons at their disposal.
There are several trends that promote action on San Antonio in this affair. First off, the Spurs have been a cash cow as of late against the Raptors as they have gone 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings between both parties. Moreover, the Raptors have struggled mightily in San Antonio to produce profits as they are 1-5 ATS in the last six meetings on the Spurs’ court.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: San Antonio -1.5
According to some betting sites, San Antonio is supremely undervalued here and should be laying far more lumber to the visiting Raptors and as a result that warrants the play here on the Spurts. There are several reasons why San Antonio should be favored more considerably. First, the most obvious reason being the injury to Kyle Lowry in particular. The loss of the Raptors’ point man creates a vacancy in the assist department as he averages 9.8 assists per game. This is essential for Toronto in feeding their chief offensive weapon Kawhi Leonard. Secondly, the Spurs are always a tough out at home. Mirroring what we have seen in years’ past with San Antonio teams they play exceptional on their own hardwood. This year is no exception as the Spurs are 15-5 SU at home this season. Then of course there at the edges San Antonio own in shooting along with committing less turnovers and a deeper and more experienced bench to their advantage. There are too many variables here working against Toronto and the Spurs should win this one with relative ease.
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