Toronto Raptors Will Run Ball Out of Tinseltown
Toronto Raptors at Lakers NBA Picks
Four games in and the Lakers have alternated wins and losses and are 2-2 against the spread with those two wins coming by a field goal. Lonzo Ball is averaging a near-triple-double with 11.5 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists a game but is shooting just 31.6 per cent and has the lowest PER (10.5) among Lakers playing more than 20 minutes a game. He'll need to improve that shot if they are to cover their +6.0 spread.
Toronto (-6.0) has dropped two-in-a-row against the NBA's best in San Antonio and Golden State but only lost by nine points combined. The Raptors' new-found offense is clicking with the team averaging a 109.8 offensive rating, fifth overall, and this is considering star point guard Kyle Lowry is playing poorly and starting center Jonas Valanciunas is injured. Even if the Raptors aren't 100%, they should win this game.
The Raptors continue to perform according to expectations going 3-1 ATS and have won as favourites and lost as underdogs. This is a team that had little turnover in the offseason and is almost the same from last year but add a bit more offensive polish. They should handily beat the Lakers and cover the -6.0 spread barring an offensive explosion from Lonzo Ball.
Toronto Raptors at Los Angeles Lakers Preview
Long gone are the days where the Lakers owned the Raptors. The tables have turned and the Raptors have been consistently whooping on the Lakers owning a 7-3 record in their last 10 games and 3-0 in their last three. Despite a promising future with the additions of former All-Star Brook Lopez and highly-touted rookies Ball and Kyle Kuzma, there shouldn't be significant changes at least for now.
The Lakers are winning games but are dreadful on offense. This is the biggest disparity here.
- The Raptors rank fifth in offensive rating (109.8), third in true shooting percentage (57.7), and first in free throw percentage (87).
- The Lakers are 25th in offensive rating (96.6), 20th in TS% (53.7), and 23rd in FT% (71.7).
- Their advantages come in rebounds where they rank sixth (46.2) while the Raptors are 17th (43.7) and are missing Valanciunas.
In Valanciunas's absence, sophomore big man Jakob Poeltl has stepped up big time averaging 11 points, 13 boards, and 2 blocks with 62.5 field goal per cent.
Poeltl has a 23.5 PER finishing second only behind DeMar DeRozan in terms of Raptors playing more than 20 minutes a game. The Latvian will be counted on to be Toronto's defensive anchor especially against the league's top-scoring team in the paint (52.1 PITP%).
The Raptors can exploit LA in the turnover battle. The Lakers are llast in the NBA in turnovers with 19.5 a game and the Raptors are among the best at converting turnovers into points with 20.5 per cent of their field goals coming off turnovers, fifth-best in the league.
Despite his poor play, Lowry still holds the experience edge over Ball. If he can bump his field goal percentage (37.5) and PER (16.0), the Raptors will run the tables.
The Raptors are more efficient, can score more prolifically, and have the experience advantage over a young unpolished Lakers team. However, the Lakers are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games and are 5-2 ATS when playing at the Staples Center. Ball has yet to realize his scoring potential and the Lakers' bench, led by Jordan Clarkson (16.8 PPG) and Kyle Kuzma (14.5 PPG) are among the best in the NBA.
Toronto's bench lacks the scoring punch from the Lakers but C.J. Miles (12.5 PPG) can go off at any time as he showed in their home opener against Chicago. Delon Wright (9.5 PPG 3 APG) needs to play with more consistency and Pascal Siakam (8 PPG, 28.2 PER) is an X-factor against the athletic frontcourt of Los Angeles. Toronto should cover but cannot afford to let the Lakers hang around especially when the second units come to play.
Alternatively, the team totals of 223 is too high. The Raptors play solid defense (99.0, eighth in league) and the Lakers can struggle to score consistently. The under has also cashed in six of Toronto's last eight road games and seven of the Lakers' last nine games.
Raptors fans can head to online sportsbooks and find a bevy of betting options not limited to the point spread. The money line, team totals (over/under), and prop bets are available to suit your own unique betting style. A signup bonus is also available under most books, making it easy to earn some cash on top of bragging rights.
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