Back Road Underdog Nets +11 vs. Raptors for Tonight's NBA Picks

Joe Catalano

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 3:37 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014 3:37 PM UTC

The Toronto Raptors (19-6) have come racing out of the gate as they lead they lead the Eastern Conference East Division and are doing it without DeMar DeRozan. Tonight, they invite a Brooklyn Nets (10-13) team who are without Brook Lopez and are coming off of a hard luck loss to Miami yesterday. Are the Raptors the pick as a double-digit favorite in this matchup?

Tip-off is set for 8:00 pm ET ,tonight, at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada. This game can also be seen on ESPN. Most NBA odds list the Raptors as an 11 point betting favorite and the total for the game is 198.

11 points seems like a lot of points to lay to Brooklyn, but Toronto is on a 3 game winning streak, is a dominant 12-3 at home, and has been accomplishing this without DeMar DeRozan. Let's take an in-depth look at this game and confirm the pick.


You Can't Stop Him, You Can Only Hope to Contain Him
I'm talking about Mason Plumlee, who is filling in for Brook Lopez at the center position. Although this team is under .500, Plumlee has given the Nets a much needed spark and this is a player that can start for most NBA teams.

In his last 3 games, Plumlee is averaging 16.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game while shooting 22 of 34 from the field in that period of time. Plumlee is a very active player that makes things happen . This style of play goes back to his days at Duke and he's playing with a ton of confidence. Expect a big game out of the 6 foot 11 center as he has a favorable matchup against Jonas Valanciunas. 


Models of Inconsistency
I think the sand glass has ran out on Deron Williams in being a franchise player. In essence, he fits in well with his counterpart, Joe Johnson. Both players show flashes of brilliance but can't keep it up for 82 games and this reflects in the Nets record.

Whether it be D. Will or JJ, one player will have a big game tonight as both are averaging in that 16 point per game area, but neither are superstars. That said, it could be worse. Jose Calderon could be running this offense for Brooklyn. Without DeMar DeRozan, the Nets get a bit of a break, but the Raptors seem to be ill-affected by the loss of their star. Look for the Nets to keep grinding away, positioning themselves for a chance to win this game.


How Are They Winning?
You look at the Raptors lineup, which isn't imposing, and wonder how they're managing to win all of these games. This is a team that sports Landry Fields in the starting lineup!

The bench has given the Toronto Raptors a distinct advantage in many games and this is due in part to the play of Lou Williams. Williams has been a beast lately, averaging nearly 20 points per game in his last 5 games and isn't even getting close to 30 minutes. This is a player that could be up for 6th man of the Year Award if he continues to play like this. In Toronto's 95-82 victory over the Orlando Magic, the Raptors received 44 out of the 92 points off of the bench. Team depth could be play a role in tonight's game as its been a key ingredient to the Raptors success.


Kyle Lowry
Lastly, the Raptors wouldn't be winning without the play of point guard, Kyle Lowry. Lowry has had more opportunity without DeRozan in the lineup and has taken advantage of it. He's averaging 19.6 points, 7.6 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per game. He's definitely this team's MVP and the guy that the Nets will look to focus in on defensively.


For our NBA picks tonight note the Raptors are the better team, but I need to see more. Until then, I'll take the 11 points as I know that Brooklyn will put forth a blue-collar-like effort and be competitive in this game.

Free NBA Pick: Brooklyn +11 at 5Dimes

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