Malik Tz | Tue 25/10/2016 - 12:12 EDT

NBA Picks: Pistons vs Raptors Odds, Prediction and Live Score

NBA Picks: Pistons vs Raptors Odds, Prediction and Live Score
The champions of the Atlantic Division begin their season by facing the Detroit Pistons, who appear to be a strong dark horse candidate after off-season acquisitions by coach and general manager Stan Van Gundy. Will the Raptors start their season with their best claw forward?
My Team's Next MatchToronto Raptors

The Raptors begin their season against the Detroit Pistons, who have added some intriguing pieces to their rotation during the off season. Despite making the eastern conference finals in 2016, the Raptors still aren’t considered among the top two in the eastern conference, which provides extra motivation to start the season well. Detroit’s starters return intact from last season, and their bench became deeper through free agency, so SVG will seek significant improvement over last season, beginning with a solid road win to start the campaign.

Detroit Pistons vs Toronto Raptors Pick

Bet Toronto @ -270 at Sportsbetting.com Sportbook

One interesting aspect of the Raptors that escapes many fans and NBA observers is the fact that Toronto did it with defence last year, earning the third best points per game against number in the association. The previous year, the Raps finished 19th in points per game against, allowing more than two extra points per game. While this doesn’t seem like a big difference, this lead to seven extra wins, despite offensive production falling by more than one point per game.

The Pistons also experienced a big turnaround last year, earning 12 additional wins compared to their previous year, enough to lift them into the playoffs, where they were mercilessly flogged by the eventual NBA champions. SVG did well to rebuild the Pistons on the fly, including a couple of trades that may end up being steals, including the pilfering of Marcus Morris from the Suns, Tobias Harris from the Magic and Reggie Jackson from the Thunder. During the offseason, he signed capable backup Ish Smith, a golem called Boban and Jon Leuer, a stretch four who takes a bit of pressure off Marcus Morris.

It will take some time for the new Pistons bench to gel, which will allow Toronto’s reserves to take advantage of an opposition still learning to share the court. The Pistons starters can hang with the Raptors top five and keep things close, but they won’t be able to overcome any extra gap created by Toronto’s superior bench. The one complication that the Pistons can take advantage of is Jared Sullinger’s recent foot surgery, which will force the Raptors to play a more traditional power forward, playing to Detroit’s strength. On the other hand, Reggie Jackson is injured, giving Toronto a huge edge at point.

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For the second straight year, the Raptors need to prove they compete at the top levels of the NBA with an unproven asset at the power forward position due to the injury of a key free agent. Last year, combo forward DeMarre Carroll went down for much of the season, forcing the ageless Luis Scola and the eager, but inconsistent, Patrick Patterson to pick up the slack. If anything, the Raps all-star backcourt of Lowry and DeRozan were the ones who raised their game, cushioning the blow of a depleted roster.

The Pistons need to start showing some results, especially considering the various gifts granted by the basketball gods. Stan Van Gundy’s career may depend on it, and Reggie Jackson’s injury won’t be considered an acceptable excuse for regression. Fortunately, the Pistons exhibit greater depth than recent years, including Ish Smith and Beno Udrih as backups capable of weathering the storm.

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