NBA Pick: Raptors +3.5 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)
The sportsbooks have released their betting odds for tonight’s game between the Raptors and Clippers.
Toronto is coming off a loss to Denver, while L.A. just beat Memphis. But we should also consider the pattern of Toronto’s victories and the Clippers’ greater losing tendencies.
For reasons that I will explain, you should play both the spread and the moneyline for tonight’s game. And don’t forget to check out our California betting guide if you’re placing your bets from the Golden State!
Toronto Raptors vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Wednesday, March 08, 2023 – 10:00 PM EST at crypto.com Arena
The decisive trend that will influence tonight’s result is the following: Toronto is enjoying a 4-0 SU run following a loss. This trend is especially useful to tonight’s game because the Raptors are the underdog.
So, in suggesting that the Raptors will win, this trend also indicates that they will cover.
It is evident from this trend that Toronto is extra-focused following a loss.
But it is also true that the Raptors are taking care of business: while they’ve lost to strong teams like Denver, they’ve beaten easier teams like Chicago and Washington.
Fade The Clippers
One might ask whether the Clippers really count as an “easier team” to beat. Right now, they are; this might seem surprising given the recent addition of veteran guard Russell Westbrook to the team.
While Westbrook might make the Clippers look better on paper and while this would make the Clippers better in the world of video games, in real life, there are matters of chemistry and team play to consider –basketball is, after all, a team sport, and Russell isn’t exactly known for being a great team player.
His team’s results since acquiring him speak for themselves: the Clippers are 1-5 SU with Westbrook. Their one win came against a Memphis team that is dealing with distraction as a result of Ja Morant’s incurring a suspension after he flashed a gun.
Paul George and Kawhi Leonard both had to blast past 30 points in order for the Clippers to eke past the Grizzlies who are themselves mired in a losing streak.
Bad Defense from Clipper Guards
Since joining the Clippers, Westbrook’s defense has been abysmal. The same is true of that of the other Clipper guards.
Evidence for this is in their poor defensive ratings, which have made it easier for opposing guards to thrive.
Most recently, for example, Memphis’ backup point guard –who was playing for Morant– Tyus Jones shot five of seven from deep en route to a 25-point scoring output.
Fellow Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane scored 30 points partly by converting four of his nine three-point attempts. Another Memphis guard, Luke Kennard, also shot five-for-five from behind the arc.
One may expect Toronto’s guards to prolong the defensive woes of their Clipper counterparts.
The top Raptors scoring guards are Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent, two high-volume shooters who are known for their prowess from behind the arc.
VanVleet is intelligent about finding spaces for himself to get open in before catching and shooting from behind the arc. He is also creative in pick-and-roll situations where Trent Jr. is one guy whom he may find behind the arc.
But the Raptors will also receive ample scoring from their forwards.
With a starting center who likes to park himself around the basket, the Clippers tend to leave exposed spaces in the mid-range where the likes of Raptors forwards Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes are comfortable executing.
Toronto’s Defensive Outlook
Aging Westbrook has mustered nine points in two of his last three games. He is likelier to lay such an egg because he is a characteristically awful three-point shooter, making him offensively one-dimensional; but his explosiveness has also declined relative to his better years.
On offense, the Clippers remain overly dependent on PG and Kawhi, who are unlikely again to carry their team with a combined output of over 70 points, as they did in their last game.
Without fellow guard Kennard, the Clippers’ three-point shooting also takes a hit. They are shooting 31% from deep in their past three games.
This decline underscores the team’s lack of support for its two-star scorers.
Expect Toronto to rely on its mixture of guards and forwards to bounce back against a struggling Clippers team plagued by a vulnerable defense, Russell’s addition to the team, and insufficient scoring support.
For the above reasons, invest in the Raptors to win and to cover the spread.
For your NBA picks, play the Toronto ML and Toronto ATS.
Predicted Score: Raptors 118 – Clippers 107
NBA Pick: Raptors ML (+140) at BetOnline
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.