Lowry’s Merry Band of Misfits
Kyle Lowry got snubbed from the All Star team, and because the fans unnecessarily voted Kyrie Irving in, Lowry was the guy who took the fall. However tonight against Damian Lillard’s less than amazing defense, I could see Lowry leading the Raptors in scoring.
Toronto also got a nice present last night with the return of their guy that did make the All Star team, DeMar DeRozan. While he didn’t go off for 40 points, his presence on both ends of the floor was huge for the Raptors. It will be more of the same tonight against Portland. DeRozan will have to guard either Nicolas Batum or Wesley Matthews all night, neither of which are an easy cover. However with how well he has been playing, I’ll still take DeRozan in that matchup on short rest.
The Raptors will matchup nicely in the post with the Blazers, and even though LaMarcus Aldridge will probably get his, the rest of the Blazers don’t have great matchups tonight, and that might not be enough to beat a good defensive team like the Raptors. Toronto is 6-4 ATS playing on the second night of a back to back, and I think they continue to trend tonight.
The Sharp Pick
Not only are the Raptors good on no rest, but they have also been great as road underdogs this season. The Raptors are 12-4 ATS as road dogs in the NBA odds this season, and with DeRozan back to anchor their defense on the wing, the Blazers are going to find it hard to score outside of their All Star power forward.
A little over two weeks ago, I was doing an NBA video with Pete Loshak and I mentioned that it might be time to start fading the Blazers, and even though it took a few games, I have been correct over the last few weeks. The Blazers are only 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall, and with the exception of their win against the Wolves a week ago, the Blazers haven’t been great recently.
When sportsbooks have favored them at home this season, the Blazers are only 10-11 ATS, while the Raptors have gone 10-5 SU in their last 15 games. I expect the All Star snub Lowry to lock in on the young All Star, Lillard tonight, and if Lillard isn’t producing on the offensive end, Aldridge will literally have to score 45 points tonight for the Blazers to cover a massive spread of -7. Even tired, I think the Raptors are going to put up a real fight tonight, and though the Blazers might win this game SU, I doubt they are able to win the game by eight or more points. The time to fade the Blazers has already begun, and it should continue tonight in your NBA picks.
My Pick: Raptors +7