Grab 'Under' With Your NBA Picks In Clippers vs. Raptors Defensive Battle

Jordan Sharp

Sunday, January 24, 2016 3:48 PM GMT

Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 3:48 PM GMT

The Clippers are continuing their East Coast road swing tonight. Can the Raptors continue their hot streak against one of the West’s best & enter our NBA picks?

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Free NBA Pick: Under 205½
Best Line Offered: at Bovada

 

Blake Griffin Close to a Return?
While it may not be for this game, Blake Griffin is reportedly close to making his way back into the Clippers’ lineup. While he may be on a minutes restriction once he comes back, there is a small chance it is tonight in Toronto. I have not heard anything recently to give me an indication that he is coming back in this one, however, the last report said that he was going to be ready some time on this road trip, so make sure you double check the news wire for this game before locking in any bets, because his presence, even for 15-20 minutes, could really throw a wrench in the NBA odds.

However, right now I’m assuming he does not play, and if that’s the case, this one is hard to pick. Both of these teams have been playing extremely well recently, especially the Raptors, who have quietly moved into 2nd place in the East standings at 28-15, and while they play in by far the easiest division in basketball, now that they are healthy they are a tough team to beat.

The Clippers have also been playing well without Griffin, as they have gone 11-2 SU and ATS since Griffin went down, and with no real power forward threat on the Raptors roster, the Clippers have a nice chance at getting a win here.

However, instead of betting on what could be a very close game and potentially volatile spread, the total is once again catching my eye here on Sunday evening. At 205 ½, while the total has gone up a point since it opened, I think it’s traveling the wrong way, and with the earlier than normal start time, and with two very good teams, the under could be in play here between Toronto and LA.

 

The Sharp Pick
One constant for these two teams in inter-conference games has been defense, and they both have done a very good job of playing defense in games against non-conference opponents. For instance, the Raptors are giving up only 98 points per game to Western Conference opponents this season, while the Clippers are giving up only 96.6 points per game to the East this season.

In their most recent stretch of winning without Griffin, the Clippers are averaging even better than that against the East. In five games against the East since Griffin went down, the Clippers are giving up only 92 points per game to the East.

Toronto also has one of the best home defenses in the NBA this season, currently ranking inside the top five, and giving up only 97 points per game at home. Also, when playing on one day’s rest this season, the Raptors are 16-10 cashing the under in the NBA Odds.

While their offense has been very good recently, and has led them to being a great NBA pick on the over, I think the Raptors get a bit more resistance in this one against LA. Teams they have cashed the over against recently are all subpar or average teams, and while the Clippers are anything but average, the great north is a tough place to play for any team, so add the under to your Sunday's NBA picks and let’s see if these two teams get into a defensive battle tonight.

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