Spurs are Solid Bets to Edge Toronto Raptors
It's a battle of two unbeaten teams with championship aspirations as the Toronto Raptors (+2.5) visit the San Antonio Spurs (-2.5). Historically, the Raptors have not been good at the AT&T Center. Canada's lone team is 1-4 in their last five games in San Antonio and are 0-8 in their last eight. The Spurs will be without two-time Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard and all-star guard Tony Parker but the Raptors are also lacking big man Jonas Valanciunas.
As +2.5 underdogs, the Raptors sound like a juicy bet, especially without the Spurs' best player. The Raptors have tested their new offense to success so far but did it at home against two floundering teams in the Bulls and Sixers. The Spurs will be a significant step up in competition and finished first in Defensive Rating (100.9) and second in Net Rating (+7.9) last season. The Raptors will have little room for error.
History clearly favours the Spurs in this matchup. The Raptors will be competitive throughout the game but the Spurs are better coached, more efficient, and have the more experienced frontcourt with the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, and Rudy Gay. At -2.5, bet on the Spurs to cover and win despite a spirited effort from the dinos.
Toronto Raptors at San Antonio Spurs Preview
The Raptors' last five games in San Antonio, they have lost by: 28, 7, 10, 13, 20. The seven-point loss is the only time the Raptors covered and the spreads were bigger then. With only a +2.5 spread, the Raptors have little wiggle room and bettors should just bet them to win outright at +131 on the money line.
Last season, the Spurs finished 10 wins ahead of the Raptors in a much more grueling Western conference but most of their stats were similar. Per 100 possessions, the Spurs finished 8th in scoring while the Raptors, 7th. The Spurs were 15th in three-pointers made, the Raptors were 19th. The Spurs were 7th in field goal per cent while the Raptors were 11th.
The biggest discrepancy came with assists. The Spurs finished fifth with 24.7 while the Raptors were second-worst with only 19.0. Over 60 per cent of the Spurs' made field goals were assisted, good for ninth overall while the Raptors were dead-last at 47.2 per cent. The assist-to-turnover ratio had the Spurs ranked fifth at 1.77 while the Raptors were sixth-worst at 1.46.
The Raptors made improvements this off-season with their passing game and ball movement. If they are to pull off the upset, they'll have to find a way to keep up the Spurs' precise offense and efficient passing game. It's hard to pinpoint any weaknesses to the Spurs game despite constant roster turnover. This highlights the creative genius of coach Gregg Popovich.
The good news for the Raptors is they're in the top-six with their assisted field goals made this season through two games. It's a small sample size against two teams beneath the Spurs but it's a start. Speaking of start, the Raptors have a tendency to start fast but fade out. In their last 10 games, they averaged more points in the first half (53.6) and averaged higher field goal percentage, rebounds, and three-pointers made.
But as is the classic Toronto theme of blowing a lead, the Raptors only won two of those games and only covered four of the spreads. Putting together four full quarters of effective basketball has been a sore spot for the Raptors. The Spurs are still reeling with key injuries and the Raptors have the best opportunity to finally beat them at home.
Outside of the point spreads and money line, another bet to look at here are the team totals (over/under) currently set at 203.5. In the last five games, the over has cashed four times with one day off between games. Both teams could break the 100-point barrier especially if they both establish smooth ball movement and start hitting their treys.
Canadians can head to online sportsbooks to place all their NBA wagers, which cover all the basics and have prop bets to spice things up. A signup bonus yielding over $250 is viable for new players softening the risk factor for those looking to make a hobby of NBA betting.
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