NBA Betting: Raptors-Rockets Should Be Barnburner, With Toronto Covering

Kyle Lowry (7) takes a layup shot

Jason Lake

Tuesday, November 22, 2016 11:50 PM GMT

Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016 11:50 PM GMT

Wednesday's game between the Toronto Raptors and host Houston Rockets looks like a lot of fun. Which of these undervalued teams belongs in your NBA picks? It's a close call, with Houston opening at -3.5. 

Who wants to see some Toronto basketball? If you're south of the 49th Parallel, you can hear the crickets chirping and maybe a few Canadian ex-pats but that's about it. The Raptors may as well dress five mimes and have them walk against the wind for 48 minutes; even then, the replay officials in New York will probably find a way to screw them over.
 

Raptors players react to controversial call from Kings loss. MORE @ https://t.co/QyZaHAEBTx pic.twitter.com/xHoS590LsD

— BarDown (@BarDown) November 21, 2016


Yeah, that happened. The Raptors have dropped four of their last five games and they've gotten hosed repeatedly during their road trip through the Western Conference, but Toronto are still one of the most profitable teams in the league at 8-6 SU and 8-5-1 ATS. Can the Raptors keep it up Wednesday (8 p.m ET) when they visit Houston? The very first lines on the NBA odds board have the Raptors getting 3.5 points.
 

We've Got Five Years

Toronto have been a rising commodity for a while now – even before GM Masai Ujiri was hired to run the show in 2013. Here's a look at their final regular-season records over the past five years:

2015-16: 56-26 SU, 45-37 ATS
2014-15: 49-33 SU, 37-44-1 ATS
2013-14: 48-34 SU, 46-33-3 ATS
2012-13: 34-48 SU, 41-40-1 ATS
2011-12: 23-43 SU, 37-28-1 ATS

That's a healthy piece of real estate. Despite being run by some smart, analytics-minded people, the Rockets can't match those ATS numbers – at least until now. Houston is off to a tremendous start this year at 9-5 SU and 10-4 ATS. James Harden (+12.0 BPM) is playing like an MVP and Clint Capela (+0.5 BPM) is making everyone forget about the departed Dwight Howard (+0.6 BPM last year).

Which puts us in a tough spot. However, ESPN sister statistical site FiveThirtyEight have slapped an Elo-based projection of Houston -2.5 on Wednesday's matchup, so it looks like the Raptors might be the right NBA pick after all. Harden's level of play may or may not be sustainable and Houston's depth is a bit shaky this year. We'll buy that for a loonie.

Free NBA Pick: Raptors +3.5Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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