NBA Picks: Lakers vs. Raptors

Jordan Sharp

Sunday, January 20, 2013 3:30 PM GMT

For the first time in about a month, we pushed our only NBA Betting selection from Saturday night, and we are still slightly below our quest for 60% on the season.

NBA Picks: Lakers vs. Raptors

Season Straight Picks record: 61-42-4 ATS

In our Sunday matinee action, the Lakers take their road trip north of the border to face off against the Raptors at Air Canada Center. The Lakers have not faired well on the road this season, and Toronto is one of the toughest spots to play this season. NBA Odds for this one favor the road Lakers at -5, but is that too much for a struggling team? Let’s take a look.

Lakers healthy again, but does it matter?

Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol are back in action for LA, but is it too little too late? LA had won two straight games before they lost a close one to the Heat in Los Angeles on Thursday evening. The Lakers have had two straight days off, plenty of time to travel to the Air Canada Center.

Not too long ago, the last time the Lakers weren’t that good, Kobe Bryant dropped one of the single greatest performances of all time in the Air Canada Center. Against a rookie

The time is right for Bryant to do it again if necessary. He has to score and score a lot for his team to win, and if Bryant whipped off his warm-ups tonight and there was a superman shirt on underneath, it wouldn’t surprise me. Bryant is going to have to lead this team out of the gutter if they are going to get out at all. I suspect a big game from Bryant tonight, but don't trust in the Lakers' entire team scoring to back them on my NBA betting ticket. Chris Bosh, Bryant dropped 81 points on the Raptors, putting him second all time in a single game scoring behind the great Wilt Chamberlain.

Raptors home cookin’

Toronto has to be one of the NBA’s biggest disappointments this season, as talk out of Canada was that this team could contend for a playoff spot before the season started. Injury, more let down and the Raptors seem once again destined for the lottery balls.

This season the Raptors are like two different teams muddling through the season. You have the home Raptors, who are 12-7 ATS and 10-9 SU at home this season, while going 4-17 SU and 8-12-1 ATS when on the road.

Toronto is still without their starting frontcourt, and will be for some time more. If they want a chance at winning or covering tonight against the Lakers, the Raptors big men are going to have to show up big time this afternoon. At only 6’10, 230, and 6’9 and 210 pounds, the Raptors starting frontcourt are giving up several inches and about 75 total pounds to the Lakers’ big men.

The Sharp Pick

At 204 points, I think the under has some value here once again. Our Sunday matinee picks have been solid with the under cashing this season, and even though the Lakers are bad defensively and can score points, the Air Canada Center does something to teams that leads them to not play their best. I’m not sure if it’s the Canadian air, or perhaps all the kind-heartedness you get from the people in Canada, but teams don’t play well there. Adding on the fact that it’s an afternoon game, and you have the under for your free pick, my friends.

My Pick: UNDER 204 ½ at  Matchbook