NBA Picks: Raptors vs. Suns To Go 'Over'

Joe Catalano

Sunday, January 4, 2015 3:32 PM UTC

Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015 3:32 PM UTC

We should see a ton of points in this NBA showdown as the offensive-minded Phoenix Suns take on the equally offensive-minded Toronto Raptors. The betting total for this game is listed at 217.5. Is this game the shootout that we think it will be? See who we like in this fast-paced matchup.

Tip-off is set for 8:00 pm ET tonight at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. NBA betting odds lists the Suns as a slim 1 point betting favorite and the total for the game is 217.5.


The Emergence of the Raptors
While we would like to focus on the total, let's not overlook the play of the Toronto Raptors, who have been simply dominant. The Raptors are 24-9 and 10-6 on the road and the crazy thing is that they have been able to accomplish this without one of their stars, DeMar DeRozan. Although the Raptors have won 7 out of their last 10 games, they've dropped their last 2 games and look to avoid a 3 game losing streak in Phoenix because losing can become contagious; just ask the New York Knicks.


Landry Fields?
The Raptors have been a little unorthodox in nominating Landry Fields as a starter. Most of the time, Fields will play his 15 minutes and the deep Raptors bench will have someone such as Louis Williams or Greivis Vasquez "clean up the mess".

In their last game, Vasquez reverted back to his glory days with the Pelicans as he scored 25 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds in a loss to Golden State. At one time with the Pelicans, Vasquez was becoming a superstar, but ever since he was traded, he's lost his way. Now, he's finding a new identity on this Raptors team and along with Louis Williams, who is capable of scoring 20 points in 20 minutes, and James Johnson, the Toronto Raptors have one of the best benches in the league and it shows in their record. I see know reason why Vasquez or Williams won't come up huge against a Phoenix team, that really doesn't care much about defense.

With no DeRozan in the lineup, Kyle Lowry has been a beast all season and the leader of this club. For the season, Lowry is averaging 20.7 points, 7.7 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game. In his last 5 games, Lowry's numbers have been off the chart, averaging 27.2 points, 6.8 assists and 5.6 rebounds. Kyle Lowry is the primary reason for the improvement in the Raptors and the Phoenix Suns are a team that's taylor made for him to break out with a 30-40 point performance.

Needless to say, the combination of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe must put their attention on Lowry.

The Phoenix Suns are coming off of a win, but it was against one of the worst teams in the league in the Philadelphia 76'ers and they'll have to elevate the level of their game to beat Toronto. For 3 quarters, Philly kept this game relatively close and then in the 4th quarter, the Suns outscored the Sixers 28-17 in a 112-96 victory. Wins are good, but a performance like this isn't good enough against Toronto.


Eric Bledsoe
Goran Dragic has still been a producer, but this has been a down year for him. The Suns have been equally dependent on Eric Bledsoe the way that Toronto is on Kyle Lowry and thus far Bledsoe has come up big.

In his last 10 games, Bledsoe has been playing well above his seasonal averages, averaging 19.1 points ,6.5 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game. This is a player with very little weakness to his game. He can pass well, shoot with effiency, grab the loose ball defensively, and snatch rebounds well. He's really coming into his own and with the help of Markieff Morris, the Suns have a nice core group of players.


I'm not messing with the side because Toronto has been too good. A ton of points will be scored in this game and although the point total is high, the over is still the way to go with your NBA pick.

Free NBA Pick: Toronto/Phoenix Over 217.5 at 5Dimes

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