NBA Picks of the Day
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors
The Lakers are finally starting to get healthy, but let's not kid ourselves: it's still going to take time for this team to really gel together on the court and start consistently covering the betting odds.
It's been almost 10 days since L.A. was out on the road. Kobe Bryant and company just wrapped up a four-game home stand in which they beat Milwaukee and Cleveland and lost to Miami and Oklahoma City.
Toronto has lost four straight games and has gone just 2-6 SU over their last eight, yet there have still been encouraging signs. The Raptors made things tough on Brooklyn and Philadelphia on the road and also took Chicago into overtime four days ago.
The thing is, without Andrea Bargnani and his shot-hogging and terrible defense, the Raptors have been playing above .500 ball. What's more, they've been decent at home despite their 14-26 SU overall record – on the season they've gone 10-9 SU and 12-7 ATS inside Air Canada Centre.
Ed Davis and Amir Johnson have really embraced their bigger roles in the frontcourt, while it's been a luxury for Dwane Casey to turn to two highly capable point guards in Jose Calderon and Kyle Lowry.
As for the Lakers, even with Pau Gasol back now and Dwight Howard appearing to find his legs, they have struggled to find any consistency outside of Los Angeles. This season they've gone 5-12 SU and 5-10-1 ATS on the road.
We do believe L.A. will start a run here shortly, but playing in Toronto is hardly a walk in the park and we expect an electric atmosphere in this early afternoon game. The Raptors have recorded a 11-4 ATS mark in their last 15 home games and we're picking them to cover again against a Lakers team that's still a work in progress.
NBA Picks: Toronto Raptors +5 at Bovada
Boston Celtics vs. Detroit Pistons
To close things out, we will be focusing on Boston's road game against Detroit this evening. As of now the Pistons are two-point underdogs at home, while the total can be found at 185.
Instead of a play on the spread – both the Celtics and Pistons have been way too hit or miss this season – we like the look of the UNDER. It's a trend that's gone 4-1 for both teams in their last five games.
Despite Boston's inconsistencies, their claim to fame this season has been defense. They're ranked #8 in defensive efficiency, ahead of the likes of Atlanta and Miami. Over their last nine games, the Celtics have allowed only one team to score 100+ points, and that one was only because they went into overtime in a 100-99 loss to Chicago two nights ago.
The Pistons haven't been as good defensively, but there are still a couple factors that lead us to believe we're in for a low-scoring game.
For one, Lawrence Frank has these guys playing a very slow pace. They're tied for #25 in PACE alongside the likes of Toronto and Indiana and ahead of only Memphis, Brooklyn and New Orleans.
Meanwhile, Boston hasn't been playing at a quick tempo either. They're at #21 in PACE, with Doc Rivers aiming to get Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce involved in halfcourt sets wherever possible. While the Celtics are more athletic this season, with Jeff Green back in the mix and Courtney Lee now on board, they're still scoring just 95.2 points per game, ranking them #19 in the NBA.
This is the lowest total on the board by over 15 points, but as you can see there are plenty of reasons why. We won't be surprised if a lot of action comes in on the OVER, but to us the UNDER is the NBA betting choice for this one. Good luck!
NBA Picks: UNDER 185 at Bookmaker