Each of these teams has been floundering and a victory might be the tonic to send them on a winning streak. For those assembling today’s NBA picks, it would be much easier either had a pattern to follow.
New Orleans is 6-8 (8-6 ATS) since Dec. 20th and would certainly like to improve their position in rugged Western Conference.
For all intents, Toronto has already won the Atlantic Division and has far greater goals to achieve like being the top seed in the East. The betting odds aren against them at the moment with how Atlanta is playing, but the purple dinosaurs have not helped themselves with this 2-3 homestand.
Coach Monty Williams Seat Heating Up
Once considered the “next” great NBA head coach, Monty Williams of New Orleans has many detractors these days and his future is being widely discussed.
Those not backing Williams would like to see more visible accountability on the court by the coach, who tends to be stoic. Maybe behind closed doors at practice or in the film room Williams demands more personal accountability, but if he is, the results are not showing up on the court.
The Pelicans roster is an odd mix outside of Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday. Players like Tyreke Evans, Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon and Omer Asik all have specialty skills, who depending on the opponent, can perform quite well. When this happens, New Orleans normally wins and is a good choice with NBA picks.
The opposite occurs when these more one dimensional players cannot utilize their particular skills and can be neutralized, which based on the Pelicans 19-20 record, is about half the time.
With this present roster and those before it, Toronto has been one of the teams that creates issues for New Orleans
Toronto on Autopilot, Needs More Spirit
The NBA regular season is an arduous task and when the Raptors closed their five–game west swing 0-3 SU and ATS, they played like a tired team both physically and mentally.
Coming home, the first four matchups were all against teams from the Eastern Conference which were below .500, setting Toronto up seemingly rather nicely against the NBA odds. Instead, the Raptors were only 2-2 and covered once before losing to Atlanta on Friday.
It certainly not time to panic, however, coach Dwane Casey might want to closely monitor Terrance Ross (11.5 PPG), whose play of late has been hit or miss.
Maybe the return of Demar DeRozan will be the elixir Toronto needs to lift them from this funk.
Betting Odds and Head to Head
With injuries to Davis and Holiday, when this article was to be posted, the sportsbooks had not put out an official line on this contest. Depending on their availability, we are anticipating Toronto to be favored by 6 to 8 points with the total somewhere from 200 to 205.
Toronto is 7-1 SU with a 7-0-1 ATS record against New Orleans the last four seasons and has won six straight.
This is game No. 4 of the Pelicans five-game road excursion and NBA handicappers note they are 11-11 ATS away from the Big Easy. New Orleans will be in the Big Apple Monday looking to add to the Knicks woes. The schedule sets up well for the Pelicans with the Lakers and at Minnesota on the docket this week. New Orleans is 9-10 and 7-10-1 ATS with exactly one day off.
After a six-game road trip, Toronto returned home to face half dozen foes without leaving town. The results have not been great and after this contest, the Raptors will be in Milwaukee tomorrow night, followed by trips to Memphis and Philadelphia this week. Toronto is 15-8 and 10-13 ATS with a day between contests.
As mentioned, the Pelicans do not match well with certain teams and the Raptors the last several seasons have been one of them. While neither team is playing well, I’ll side with the history and take into account even if both Davis and Holiday play, they will unlikely be at 100 percent.
On the presumption this point spread range I choose is correct, I’ll back the home team.
NBA Basketball Free Pick: Toronto covers