Toronto (55-23 SU & 35-41 ATS) at Brooklyn (39-39 SU & 42-36 ATS)
Wednesday, 7:30 PM EST
Free NBA Pick: UNDER 1H
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
Jordan’s NBA Picks: 48-33
The Raptors aren’t completely out of the hunt for the top seed in the East, but if the Bucks win tomorrow the Raptors will be locked into the number two seed regardless of outcome on Wednesday. Does that mean they could take it a little easier on Wednesday, or scratch one of their stars closer to tip off?
Raptors May Play This Out
Even though it’s almost a guarantee that the Raptors won’t be the top seed, they still have some incentive to play things out tonight without sitting anyone or playing any of their stars less than a full allotment of minutes.
For starters, they aren’t eliminated yet and they can put some pressure on the idle Bucks with a road win here on Wednesday. Then they can wait and see if the Bucks beat Philadelphia on Thursday before making any decisions about who will and won’t play in the final three games of the season. Philly has to play Wednesday, too, so there is a good chance the Bucks win tomorrow to lock up the top seed.
That can also play into Toronto’s favor on Wednesday because they could use this game against the Nets as their final tune up before they start resting guys in the final three games. Then playoffs start next weekend, so you know the Raptors don’t want any injuries to Kawhi Leonard or Kyle Lowry leading up to the postseason.
The Sharp Pick
However, all it takes is one ankle sprain or banged knee for the Raptors to pull the plug on this one. Even though they aren’t technically out of the running for that top spot, the Bucks are going to win one of their final four games, so chances are very slim.
So, could we see a scenario where the Raptors play out a tough half only to limit or rest starters in the second half? Anything is possible at this time of the season.
With that in mind though, a first half play is well worth a bet here in this one. The Raptors have been outstanding in the first halves of their games lately, averaging nearly 60 points over their last five games in the first two quarters.
However, Brooklyn has been very good on defense in the first halves of their home divisional games this season. Over seven divisional home games this year, the Nets are allowing just 98.9 points per 100 possessions in those first halves, which ranks fourth-best in the league.
The Raptors have also been very good defensively in the first halves of their road games against divisional opponents, allowing just 101.4 points per 100 possessions.
If that holds tonight in what should be a hard fought game for both teams, I think the under is the play in the first half. Leaving out their last two meetings against one another, I see the scoring not picking up until the second half of this one.
First Half Score Prediction: Raptors 57 – Nets 55
**Editor’s note: Do you agree with our SBR Forum member allnighter that it would be Under 226 @ 1.92? Check out the thread now!