NBA Spread Picks: Toronto Raptors vs Los Angeles Lakers
Will Raptors Extend Six-Game Win Streak Against Lakers?
Yes - Toronto’s one of the best home teams while the Lakers need more seasoning.
Playing against the Los Angeles Lakers used to be a death sentence for the Toronto Raptors. Kobe and Shaq completely dominated Toronto while they were all-stars in the association, including the Mamba’s ridiculous 81-point game in January 2006. Blame Jalen Rose all you want, but there’s something about the Raps that brings the showtime out of the Lakers. Maybe it was the lack of defense.
The current era of the Toronto Raptors probably fields the best squad in franchise history, mostly because of coach Casey and GM Ujiri, who adapted well to the modern NBA. Toronto’s turned into one of the best clubs in the association after altering strategy to focus on three-point shooting and long, athletic defenders. Now, the Los Angles Lakers play catchup while they rebuild from the wreckage of the Kobe era.
Raptors Betting Picks:
NBA Odds Courtesy Of Sports Interaction
Point Spread – Toronto Raptors -10.5 (-110)
Straight Up Moneyline – Raptors -720
Over/Under Totals – Over 217.5 (-110)
Toronto Raptors Betting Trends Against Los Angeles Lakers
Modern Raptors Dominate The Rebuilding Lakers
Toronto’s slowly rebuilt themselves into contenders over the past half-decade, possessing the fourth-best record in the NBA just past the halfway point of the season. The Raptors have one of the best home records in the association with a 17-4 mark at the Air Canada Centre, only 1.5 games behind the Celtics for top spot in the eastern conference, and four games in front of the Cavaliers for second place. Toronto’s won six in a row against the Lakers, including a nine-point win in October at the Staples Centre.
Serge Ibaka Seen But Not Heard
Over the last five games, Serge Ibaka hasn’t looked like himself on the floor. He’s averaged only 8.2 PPG, 5.6 RPG and a mere 0.6 blocks per game - well below his usual production rate. Even worse, he’s been chucking bricks during this stretch, with a .405 FG% and a .235 3P%. During his previous 37 appearances this season, Ibaka averaged 13.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG and 1.5 blocks per game, shooting .488 from the field and .364 from beyond the arc. Toronto can’t challenge the east without Serge regaining form.
Raptors Annual January Swoon
One of the more reliable annual patterns for the Toronto Raptors involves the team running into a wall around the holiday season, resulting in a puzzling January swoon. The trend repeated this year, with the Raptors losing five of their last ten games, including matchups against the Utah Jazz, Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers. Dropping games against heavyweights like the Warriors and the Timberwolves is understandable, but losses to inferior teams signal the typical downturn the Raps experience this time of year.
Fortunately for Toronto, the Los Angeles Lakers haven’t played well against the Raptors lately, giving the North a chance to reestablish a winning run.
Big Baller Road Show On Hold
The Lakers without Lonzo Ball have been fine, winning four of their last five games, including an impressive victory against their hated rivals, the Boston Celtics. Los Angeles achieving this run without the services of Lonzo may raise a few eyebrows, especially considering his father throwing coach Luke Walton under the bus. Still, Lonzo adds an unselfish aspect to the Lakers on-court, which makes his injury more frustrating because Ball was starting to become comfortable with NBA-style basketball. Without Lonzo, the Lakers will have difficulty dealing with Kyle Lowry.
Raptors Bench Shortening
The Toronto Raptors bench continues to shorten as coach Casey discovers which players fulfill their role best in the rotation. C.J. Miles aside, the Raptors bench continues to skew younger as the season proceeds closer to clutch time. Delon Wright, Fred VanVleet, Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam have stood out as contributors, while Norman Powell struggles to regain a hold on his offensive game. The Lakers young bench, which includes standout rookie Kyle Kuzma, will have difficulty against Toronto’s superb reserves.
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