NBA Pick on Raptors ATS Looking to Avoid Sweep in Game 4

LT Profits Sports Group

Sunday, April 26, 2015 2:28 PM UTC

Sunday, Apr. 26, 2015 2:28 PM UTC

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Sunday.


In one of the more surprising of all the first round NBA Playoff series, look for the team from Canada to fight hard while trying to avoid getting swept Sunday night as those fourth seeded Toronto Raptors (49-36, 22-20 away) again pay a visit to the fifth seeded Washington Wizards (49-36, 30-12 home) for Game 4 from the Verizon Center in Washington, DC at 6:35 ET in a game televised nationally on TNT, with the Wizards leading the series 3-0.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Toronto as a road underdog for this contest with the current line at +5½ with odds of -102.

Supposed to be Competitive Series
Quite a few of this year’s first round series could have been projected to be sweeps before they began, but this four-seed vs. five-seed matchup including the two-time Atlantic Division Champion Raptors was not supposed to be one of them, as this looked like one of the tightest matchups to call. But frankly, this series has not been aesthetically pleasing to the eyes with neither team playing that well, making the Wizards even more unlikely sweep candidates.

And yet that is where we stand with Toronto under pressure right away by being the losing NBA picks at home in the first two games, a situation from which only three teams in NBA Playoff history have come back to win a series, and when the Raptors then fell here in Washington 106-99 in Game 3 despite playing their best game of the series, they put themselves in their current 0-3 series hole that no NBA team has ever come back from.

Good Line Value for Raptors
Granted the Raptors shot just 37.4 percent on Friday, but they improved in a lot of areas over the two games north of the border and they are certainly capable of covering this rather inflated line if that repeat their Game 3 performance, especiallyif the overall shooting improves a tad. And remember that Washington opened as just a 3½-point favorite in Game 3 and closed at -4½, making Toronto +5½ here with even +6 available at some shops seem valuable.

Overall shooting aside, the Raptors made 10 three-pointers in Game 3 after going a putrid 13-for-42, 30.1 percent beyond the arc in the first two games, this from a team that ranked eighth in the NBA in three-pointers made during the regular season. Toronto also closed the rebounding cap after being dominated on the glass in Canada 106-78 the first two games including yielding 29 offensive rebounds.

The Raptors were only out-rebounded 45-41 in Game 3 and more importantly they actually had more offensive rebounds with 10, compared to seven for the Wizards. And on top of all that, Toronto committed just a mere nine turnovers in the entire contest.

In other words the Raptors did everything well except shoot the ball with any consistency, and they had a lead in the final minutes and only lost by seven points, with Washington’s biggest lead of the game of only eight points coming after a Paul Pierce three-pointer that was the probably the ultimate dagger with one minute left.

Wizards Still Not Impressive at Home
The fact that Game 3 was nip and tuck all the way with Toronto not really shooting that well besides the improvement from three-point land can also be seen as an indictment of the Wizards, who have benefitted from the Raptors’ poor play without impressing themselves, and in fact Washington has been nothing special at home the entire second half of the season.

Yes, there is no disputing that Wizards’ backers cashed their tickets on Friday, but that end result was hardly a given in a close game throughout and the Raptors could have still covered the spread on their last possession. And that was after the Wizards went a nondescript 12-8 straight up over their last 20 home games during the regular year while going just 7-12-1 ATS in those contests.

Guard Play a Key to Surviving
If the Raptors want to avoid making golfing plans for the summer immediately, they will need improved play from their guards, who both picked bad times to go into shooting slumps. However, DeMar DeRozan did show a pulse with 32 points on Friday, although he cooled off following a 20-point first-quarter. The bigger disappointment has been Kyle Lowry, who is 10-for-42 from the field this series while averaging only 9.3 points.

Just a slight improvement from the guards should mean at least a point-spread cover in Game 4 as Toronto looks to stave off getting swept in Washington on Sunday.

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NBA Pick: Wizards +5½ (-102)

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