The best team in the East goes against the worst team in the West when Toronto and the Lakers meet Sunday night at Staples Center. This might be the first time ever the Raptors have been favored at the Lakers. Can they pull off the win and the cover? Or is LA a live dog?
Raptors-Lakers Betting Odds
Most of the NBA odds opened this game with Toronto favored by 6.5 points, the total pegged at 211. In the early betting most books bumped the Raptors to -7, and the total to 212.
The Lakers, for those so inclined, could also be gotten at a price of +245 on the moneyline at BetOnline.
Raptors-Lakers: The Match-Up
At 13-3 Toronto owns the best record in the Eastern Conference, and trails Memphis by just one game in the battle for the best record in the league. But the good start shouldn't come as a huge surprise; the Raptors went off this season with a wins OVER/UNDER of 49. Toronto started 2-0 this season, lost at Miami, then won five in a row. The Raptors then lost at home to Chicago, then won six in a row. They then lost their most recent outing, at home to Dallas Friday night 106-102. So, a win Sunday should lead to a seven-game winning streak, right? Toronto trailed throughout the game against the Mavericks, scrambled to get within three points with 30 seconds left, but ran out of gas. The Raptors shot just 42 percent from the floor, allowed the Mavs to shoot 47 percent and committed 17 turnovers.
At 3-13 the Lakers own the worst record in the Western Conference. They went off this season with a wins total of 33, so at this pace they're still in trouble. LA started 0-5 this season, then beat Charlotte. The Lakers then lost four more in a row, before winning at Houston and at Atlanta on consecutive nights. But LA has lost its last four, after falling at home to Minnesota Friday night 120-119. The Lakers led by eight points with five minutes to go Friday, but went cold down the stretch, as the Wolves rallied. LA still ended up shooting 54 percent from the floor, but allowed Minnesota to shoot 57 percent.
This is the first meeting this season between these two teams. Last year these teams split two games, each winning, as an underdog, on the other's home court.
Raptors-Lakers, By the Numbers
Toronto only ranks 17th in the league in FG shooting at 45 percent, 10th in 3-point shooting at 37 percent but third in FT shooting at 80 percent. The Raptors also only rank 20th in FG defense, allowing foes to shoot 46 percent, 17th in rebounding at -1 per game, but own a 20/11 assist-to-turnover ratio, which is good.
The Lakers rank 23rd in FG shooting at 44.5 percent, just 28th in 3-point shooting at 30.5 percent and 19th in FT shooting at 75 percent. They also rank second-worst in FG defense, allowing opponents to shoot 49 percent, 21st in rebounding at -1.5 per game, and own a 20/12 A/TO ratio.
Raptors-Lakers Betting Trends
Toronto is 9-7 on the totals this season, as Raptors games have averaged 205 points.
LA is 10-6 on the totals, as Lakers games have averaged 214 points.
Toronto is 4-1 both SU and ATS on the road this season.
LA is 1-8 SU, 3-5-1 ATS at home.
Toronto G DeMar DeRozan (19 PPG) pulled a groin Friday night, and reports say he will miss at least Sunday's game, and maybe much more.
Raptors-Lakers Free Pick
Despite DeRozan's injury Toronto is still the play here, because LA doesn't play any defense. We're almost glad the Raptors lost to Dallas last time out, because it sets up a bounce-back play for our NBA picks.
Free NBA Pick: Raptors -6.5 at Pinnacle