Raptors Report: Time to Fade Toronto?
Disappointing Raptors Approach Fade Material
Sunday wasn't a fun day for the Raptors who failed to end their NBA division rival, Boston's 11-game winning streak. The Raptors battled close for four quarters but lost on the final possession. The loss drops the Raptors to 7-5 and four games behind the division lead. Most importantly, this was the fourth straight game they lost on the cover dropping their ATS (against the spread) record to 6-6.
Toronto closed as -3.5 favourites against the Celtics thanks to Kyrie Irving's absence but it didn't matter as the Celtics held on to edge Toronto. Despite starting the season 5-1 ATS, the Raptors have gone 1-5 since and there really is no one problem to blame except for the regression towards the mean.
The silver lining is starting point guard Kyle Lowry's play. The three-time All-Star scored 19 points and added seven assists. He hit five of ten field goal attempts and nailed four of eight threes. In his last three games, Lowry has averaged 18 points, 6.7 assists, and three three-pointers a game. Most significantly, he's hit 52.7 per cent of his field goals and 40.9 per cent of his threes.
Despite Lowry's spirited performance, the Raptors' starters were outplayed by the Celtics' starters with all five of Toronto's starters average a negative +/- while all five of Boston's starters averaged a positive +/-. Coach Casey went through all 12 players on Sunday and will continue to experiment with lineups. The good news is, like most things in the NBA, things come in streaks. The Raptors' four-game losing streak on the spread should end soon as they approach underdog territory in their next game.
Raptors Must Rise Against Rockets
The worst thing about Toronto is the best thing about Toronto: their ability to play to their competition's level. This is the same Raptors team that covered against Golden State and barely beat Chicago. In approaching Houston, the Raptors are going up against another team that is having difficulties beating the spread at home.
The Rockets (-6.5) are 8-6 ATS overall but only 3-3 at home. They split the season series 1-1 with Toronto (+6.5) last year but lost at home against the Raptors. The Rockets have won six in a row S/U (straight-up) and are 5-1 ATS only failing to cover in a four-point win over Cleveland (spread was -6.0).
The Raptors are 3-2 ATS with a plus spread covering against the likes of Golden State (+12.5), Portland (+3.5), and Utah (+1.5). Houston is 4-4 when covering a spread -6.0 or higher. Two wins came at home against Utah and Dallas, two teams the Raptors are better than offensively.
Both Raptors and Rockets are high-powered offensive teams ranking in the top-five in offensive rating. Houston is ranked in the top three in offensive rating (2nd), three-points made (1st), and effective field goal percentage (2nd) while the Raptors rank fifth, 12th, and 7th, respectively. Toronto can keep up offensively but they'll need to hit their three-pointers more efficiently (ranked 27th).
- The lean is to bet on the Houston Rockets to cover -6.5 although Toronto is a gutsy +215 S/U bet. The Raptors have the style to give the Rockets a run for their money and both play at a similar pace.
- The totals is set at 218.5 and while a high-scoring game is likely, the over has only cashed in half the Rockets' home games this season and is only 2-5 when the Raptors are on the road. The sounder bet is the under.
Toronto Raptors 2017-18 Season Outlook
The Raptors have one more road game against New Orleans tomorrow then return home for a two-game home-stand. Toronto is 4-1 at home and 3-4 on the road.
Toronto has a 3-2 NBA Eastern Conference record and the Dinos are 1-1 in the Atlantic Division.
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