Despite Lack Of Rest, Pistons To Knock Off Raptors Sunday

Friday, March 1, 2019 4:34 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 1, 2019 4:34 PM UTC

It’s quite possibly a first-round Eastern Conference playoff preview on Sunday evening when Toronto visits Detroit, which is in the second of a back-to-back.

Toronto (13-17 ATS Road) at Detroit (14-16-1 ATS Home)Sunday, 6 p.m. ETFree NBA Picks: Pistons ATSBest Lines Offered: BetOnline

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You may or may not know this, but Detroit and Toronto are a little more than 200 miles apart. Plenty of Michiganders visit Toronto, especially in the summer, and plenty of Canadians from Toronto head to the Detroit area. The cites have a terrific rivalry in the NHL with the Red Wings and Maple Leafs having staged several memorable postseason series.

The NBA teams from the cities have met in the playoffs just once: Following the 2001-02 season, in which the Pistons prevailed in five games in the first round. It’s very possible there could be another postseason meeting this April. Looking more and more like Toronto will finish second in the East behind Milwaukee, which also claims the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Detroit could finish anywhere from sixth to eighth to out of the playoffs entirely, although the latter appears unlikely barring a significant injury to either Blake Griffin or Andre Drummond. The Pistons haven’t played extra basketball since the 2015-16 season.

Of course, Detroit’s coach is Dwane Casey, who was dumped by the Raptors after last season despite the fact Toronto had the East’s best record and setting a franchise record with 59 victories. However, a second-round sweep to Cleveland sealed Casey’s fate. The Pistons couldn’t wait to snap Casey up after they dumped Stan Van Gundy. Toronto replaced Casey with his assistant, Nick Nurse.

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Bet Raptors Or Pistons ATS?

Second of three meetings between the neighbors and first since way back on Nov. 14 when the Pistons were 106-104 upset winners in Casey’s return to Toronto. Detroit was down as much as 19 and by 11 to start the fourth, but Reggie Bullock hit the winning jumper as time expired. He’s no longer with the Pistons, since traded to the Lakers. Griffin had 30 points and 12 rebounds.

Kawhi Leonard had 26 points and nine rebounds for the Raptors but six turnovers. Serge Ibaka was out injured and Danny Green left with a sore lower back in the third quarter and didn’t return. Toronto had won six straight over the Pistons, and nine of the previous 11 meetings.

The Raptors have an advantage here with Detroit having played in Cleveland on Saturday. The Pistons can’t really afford to rest Griffin or any key player in the second of a B2B in their playoff chase. On the flip side, it’s possible that Toronto gives Leonard the game off simply for workload management because it’s just a one-game trip between home nationally televised matchups against very good Western Conference teams (Portland on Friday and Houston on Tuesday).

Detroit is the more desperate team, is a solid 5-3 against the spread in the second of a back-to-back and has won four straight at home. We think the Raptors, who have won their past four in Detroit, treat this this largely as a throwaway game of sorts. Back the Pistons ATS for a Sunday bet.

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