Free Picks: Los Angeles Clippers vs. Toronto Raptors

Clippers vs Raptors NBA week 20
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Toronto Raptors, NBA, Staples Center

The Los Angeles Clippers will welcome the Toronto Raptors to the Staples Center a couple of days after the Raps took on and beat the Los Angeles Lakers on the same floor. The Clippers, however, are in a much more secure position than their cross town rivals in nearly every sense of the word. That doesn’t mean they’re not still desperately jockeying for better playoff positioning, however.

Clippers and Raptors Clash As The Klaw Meets His Old Squad (Season Betting Record: 91-98)

The Clippers will be hoping the same fate that befell the Lakers and their returning superstar against the Raptors on Sunday night does not happen for them as well. Not only did the Lakers lose by double-digits, but LeBron James was unable to finish the game and has apparently tweaked his existing ankle injury, which means he likely returned to the lineup too soon.

LeBron is now out for the next few games for the Lakers, but Kawhi Leonard is good to go on Tuesday night for the Clippers. He missed 10 games with a foot injury before returning in the team’s last game, a loss at the hands of the red hot Denver Nuggets, who they just so happen to be battling for playoff position, sitting half a game back of Denver, who sit in third place in the West.

Leonard shot 7-for-12 from the field in 30 minutes and didn’t look any worse for the wear following the defeat, so we’d expect him to have a more significant impact in Tuesday night’s matchup, which just so happens to be against the team he led to the 2019 NBA Championship.

Kawhi had a real bond with a lot of guys still on the team, so he will definitely want to put his best foot forward at Staples on Tuesday. Leonard has not participated in a game against Toronto this season, but the Clippers won both times Leonard played versus his old squad last year. Overall, Leonard has gone 6-3 straight up against his old clubs (the other being the San Antonio Spurs), which is a big reason we like the Clippers as our best bet for today.

The Raptors impressed against the Lakers, but they had a hobbled LeBron and were without a crucial piece in Dennis Schroder—this Clippers team is a different ballgame. The likely absence of Fred VanVleet for this matchup also isn’t ideal for the Raptors. They were able to overcome Freddy’s DNP on Sunday thanks to season-highs from both Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam, which, I think we can safely say, is not a dual-occurrence that we expect to happen in two straight games.

This L.A. team, unlike the Lakers, has had a lot of success at Staples this season, going 20-13 against the spread in their own building, seventh in the NBA. The Clips have also been solid as home favorites, going 17-12 ATS in those contests, also seventh-best in basketball.

The Raptors, meanwhile, have essentially been on the road all season as they’ve been playing ‘home’ games in Tampa Bay, nearly 1,400 miles away from their real home in Canada. Unfortunately, this season-long road trip has not been kind to the Raptors when they’re really really on the road, putting up an ugly 14-19 ATS record as the away team this season, fifth worst in the association. 

Another factor leading us to believe the Clippers spread is the NBA pick to make here is the fact that the Clippers are coming off of their third straight loss. They’ve only dropped three straight games one other time this season, and have yet to lose four straight since Leonard and Paul George arrived and transformed the team a couple of offseasons ago.

The last time the Clippers lost four or more games in a row was in January of 2019, nearly two and a half years ago. If it hasn’t happened in that long, why would it happen on Tuesday? We’re taking the Clippers to win this one at an -8.5 NBA point spread with solid -119 NBA odds as our top pick on Tuesday.

Stats

  • Toronto is 14-19 ATS as the away team this season
  • Los Angeles has lost 3 straight games
  • Los Angeles is 20-13 ATS as the home team this season
  • Los Angeles is 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 against the Eastern Conference

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Alex is an alumnus of Ryerson University's RTA Sport Media program, a contributing NHL, NBA, and MLB writer in the BetPicks.ca team. He has been writing on sports, betting, and fantasy contests for several years, including pitstops as an NFL Editor for theScore and as one of the lead NBA news writers for fantasy sports site FantasyPros. As a lifelong athlete, bettor, and sports fan, Alex is uniquely qualified to help you reach the sports betting success that you've always dreamed of and your wife never believed you could achieve. Follow Alex on Twitter

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