Toronto is receiving five points for tonight's game. The Raptors have gone a solid 24-21-1 ATS in total this season, though the Clippers have been even more successful at 27-20 ATS.
The NBA odds makers have opened the total at 192, with 192.5 also there for the taking. The UNDER has gone 6-2 in the previous eight encounters between these squads, though the OVER has hit the mark in four of Toronto's last five home contests.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers are limping through without their star point guard, but have managed to at least score two straight wins ahead of tonight.
First they crushed Portland by 13 at home, before escaping with a 96-90 road win over Minnesota two nights ago. L.A. was favored by 4.5 points coming in and used big games from Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan to win and cover.
Griffin went for 26 points and 13 rebounds, while Jordan had 16 points, 12 boards and two blocks. Caron Butler's 19 points helped the cause, as did Eric Bledsoe's 10 points, 10 assists and six steals.
Chris Paul is still recovering from a bone bruise in his knee and is unlikely to play tonight, meaning another start for Bledsoe. Griffin (ankle) and Willie Green (knee) are slightly banged up too but are considered probable to play, while there's a chance Matt Barnes could get suspended for this game after throwing an elbow in Wednesday's game against the Timberwolves.
Though the Clippers have been one of the better road teams in the NBA in terms of straight up wins (14-8), they haven't been that profitable at the betting window. They're an even 11-11 ATS outside of L.A. this season.
First of all: Rudy Gay will not be making his debut for the team tonight – he is reporting today, but will not be in uniform until Sunday's game against Miami.
That doesn't automatically mean Toronto is fade material though. The Raptors put forth a valiant effort with a short rotation on Wednesday, but fell just short in a 93-92 loss to the Hawks in Atlanta. Toronto had built up a 13-point lead at one point, but they fell apart in the third and let the game slip away.
Nonetheless, there were some very encouraging signs. DeMar DeRozan had 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting, Kyle Lowry finished with a 14/10/5 line and Amir Johnson and Aaron Gray reeled in 25 rebounds between them.
Going off on a little bit of a tangent, you've really got to like what Alan Anderson has been doing for this Toronto team this season. He contributed 15 points versus Atlanta and is now averaging 16.9 PPG over his last eight games. Anderson's minutes will be affected with the arrival of Gay, but for tonight at least he'll still get plenty of playing time.
Recently, the Raptors have performed well against the spread after losing straight up. They're 8-3-1 ATS over their last 12 games following a defeat and will be looking for another good showing in that regard tonight.
In spite of the recent roster shakeup, the Raptors are still a tough team to beat on their own floor no matter who's playing. Eleven of their 16 wins have come at home, while they've recorded a 13-9 ATS mark inside Air Canada Centre this season.
We like what Toronto was able to do with a short-handed rotation against Atlanta the other night, with guys like Anderson and Terrence Ross getting more run and making the most of it. Plus, Lowry is now the clear-cut starter at the point and he certainly has the athleticism to stay toe-to-toe with Bledsoe tonight. Much more so than the departed Jose Calderon at least.
Meanwhile, the Clippers simply don't look nearly as dominant without CP3 running the show. The results speak for themselves: L.A. is just 2-4 SU and ATS over their last six.
So while we expect Griffin to have a big game inside, we can't help but think the Raptors are the right side with our NBA picks. Effort is never a problem with Dwane Casey's team, so we're taking the home dogs here. Good luck!
NBA Pick: Toronto Raptors +5