P. J. Go | Sat 14/04/2018 - 14:33 EDT

Raptors vs Wizards: Toronto in for Rough Opener Versus Washington

Raptors vs Wizards: Toronto in for Rough Opener Versus Washington
Playoff basketball is back! It's Christmas for Toronto Raptors fans as everyone watches with guarded optimism as the team's best incarnation looks to live up to their one-seed. Opening their postseason against an old rival, the Washington Wizards should prove to be a tough test right away. Either the Raptors finally get over the Game 1 hump or Washington extends their woeful streak. We break it down.

Raptors vs Wizards Game 1 Odds

My Team's Next MatchToronto Raptors

No bad blood lost between these two as they meet for the fifth time this season. The Raptors and Wizards split the season series 2-2 but this can go out the window as the playoffs is another story. In 2015, the Wizards swept the Raptors in the playoffs despite Toronto sweeping the regular season series. 

Toronto (-445) are significant favourites thanks to having the NBA’s best home record and the second-best record this season. Washington (+340) did the bare minimum to make the playoffs losing seven of their last ten games and their last five road games. On paper, this sounds like a blowout win for the Raptors but as playoff history suggests, the playoffs could be a turbulent moment for Toronto.

Raptors vs Wizards Betting Trends

Despite the 2015 series still being fresh in people’s minds, Toronto has grossly outperformed Washington on the betting lines in recent history.

  • Toronto is 7-3 SU versus Washington in their last 10
  • Washington is better ATS on the road (21-20) than at home (16-24-1)
  • Toronto is 34-7 SU at home but only 21-19-1 ATS
  • Washington has lost five straight road games (0-5 SU)
  • The total has gone UNDER in their last five games at Toronto

It’s the fifth consecutive playoffs appearance for the Raptors yet Toronto fans are just as nervous as if it were the first year. And these fears are founded as Toronto is winless all-time in Game 1’s. This dubious distinction has to end at some point but even with improved teams, the Raptors can’t seem to get over this hump.

The main reason can be attributed to three reasons: pace, defence and playoff jitters. The Raptors have implemented more ball movement, three-point shooting, and better play in the transition. But playoff basketball slows down the pace and creates an atmosphere that can make the Raptors a little bit tighter.

Washington only has the fifteenth-rated defence (106.2) but play a slower pace (18th) and will look to force the Raptors into iso ball possessions. Their backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal combine for 42 points a night. Otto Porter Jr. is one of the game’s best defensive small forwards and Marcin Gortat is a serviceable five. But beyond their starters, Washington barely has depth. 

Outside Kelly Oubre Jr. and Tomas Satoransky, Washington has nobody on the bench who can pick up the slack when their starters rest. Toronto’s bench is an NBA-best +10.4 in efficiency difference while Washington’s is 19th at -0.9. 

Even if Washington’s starters outperform the Raptors’ starters and even if star players Demar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry have bad offensive games, Toronto is still more equipped to play at a higher level for all 48 minutes.  

Raptors vs Wizards Game 1 Prediction

Stephen A echoes the public sentiment when he foresees the series as being a close one. The Raptors’ poor Game 1 performances paired with Washington being a better team than their seed suggests could lead for a long hard-fought series. 

While Toronto should still be favoured to win this game, and the series, the edge goes to Washington to at least make this game closer than the spread indicates. Washington has played porously on the road in recent outings but they have one of the best ATS records on the road. 

If you want to fade Toronto, Washington to win SU is +340 but beating the spread is a more solid bet. 

Washington Wizards (+8.0) (-115)

Category : Picks and Parlays

Tag : basketball , nba , toronto raptors

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