Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out a total that simply does not add up and therefore offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Monday.
While there is no doubt that these two teams can score, the posted total still seems a few points too high north of the border Monday night when the Phoenix Suns (9-5, 5-2 away) pay a visit to the Toronto Raptors (11-2, 8-1 home) at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, ON Canada at 7:35 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Arizona.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 207½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at a positive +102.
Both Teams on Winning Streaks
The Raptors enter this contest with the best record in the Eastern Conference at a stellar 11-2 including five wins in a row, and within the last three games they beat the team with the best record in the NBA, the 12-2 Memphis Grizzlies, as well as the preseason favorites to win the East in LeBron James and the Cavaliers, with the latter win coming on the road in Cleveland on Saturday. Toronto has only lost to the Heat at Miami and to the Bulls here at home.
The Suns were probably the most surprising NBA picks in the league last year when they won 48 games after owning the worst record in the Western Conference two seasons ago, and after a bit of an uneven start to 2014-15, they too have reeled off four straight wins to improve to 9-5 with all four wins coming on this road trip vs. the East! Still, the competition gets harder for Phoenix tonight after beating the lowly Celtics, Pistons, 76ers and Pacers.
Raptors Underrated Defensively
Both of these teams obviously have good offenses, but the defense of the Raptors is often overlooked. Do not forget that Toronto finished eighth in the NBA in points against while winning the Atlantic Division last season surrendering 98.0 points per game, and they are actually allowing less points this season at 94.7 while ranking sixth in points against through the early going.
Sure Toronto is also second in points scored with 106.9 per game, but much of that has to do with playing at a fast pace as the Raptors are only 17th in field goal percentage and 13th in three-point percentage. That pace also makes the Raptors’ points against seem that much more impressive.
However, this is one game where the Raptors may want to slow things down a bit as Phoenix is fourth in the league in pace rating and the Suns excel when they run, so it would probably not be in Toronto’s best interest to turn this game into a track meet. And even with the pace the Raptors have played at, the combined scoring average of all their games of 201.6 points is still about six points less than this posted total.
Suns May Not Reach Average
The Suns are fourth in the league in scoring with 105.3 points per game, but they have padded that average on this trip by scoring 118 points at Boston, 122 points at Philadelphia and 106 at Indiana. The first two of those teams have among the worst defenses in the NBA while the Pacers are a mere shell of what they were last season with Roy Hibbert being the only healthy starter.
Now we are not disparaging the Suns’ offensive prowess as they have had the same running style for years and have rarely had trouble scoring. However, they may be feeling a little too good about themselves here vs. a team that can actually defend well, and Phoenix is more prone to turnovers when it does not have its own way offensively.
To wit, consider that Phoenix struggled in the fourth win on the trip, an 88-86 squeaker over the Pistons where Detroit was able to slow the pace and the Suns consequently committed 18 turnovers.
Pace Makes the Race
We expect similar slow-down tactics from the Raptors here and Toronto has a much more legitimate defense than the Pistons do, so once again the Suns will have to either accept that this should be more of a half-court game or try and force the pace and probably commit more turnovers against a better defense.
Both of those scenarios seem conducive to a final point total below a bloated number like this, so go ‘under’ the total in Toronto on Monday.
NBA Pick: Suns, Raptors ‘under’ 207½ (+102)