Free Picks: Toronto Raptors vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Raptors vs Clippers NBA week 21
Toronto Raptors vs. Los Angeles Clippers, NBA, Amalie Arena

Just like last week, the Toronto Raptors and the Los Angeles Clippers will once again tangle on a Tuesday. Much like that most recent meeting, there is one team playing for a lot more than the other here. The Raptors just recently achieved their tanking goal, having been eliminated from play-in tournament contention on Monday via a win by the Indiana Pacers. The Clippers, meanwhile, are in a battle for the third seed in the Western Conference.

Raptors, Clippers Clash For Second Straight Tuesday (Season Betting Record: 95-104)

With four games remaining in the season, the Los Angeles Clippers hold a very tenuous one game lead over the fourth place Denver Nuggets. After this matchup against the 27-41 Toronto Raptors, the Clips will finish the season off against three sub-.500 teams who have a combined winning percentage of 34 percent, a string of games that is usually referred to as a ‘cupcake schedule’ in the biz.

This seemingly simple four-game stretch for the Clippers could lull them into a false sense of security, which would definitely benefit us if we make the Raptors our NBA pick here. While we don’t expect the Raps to actually win this game outright, they have a great chance of covering their enormous underdog spread on Tuesday at the dreaded Amalie Arena.

Sure, the Raptors will be without their core foursome of Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, and OG Anunoby, but that’s exactly why we think the Clippers might take it a little too easy. Toronto may be trotting out a lineup of unheralded and unknown role players—plus the inimitable Chris Boucher, maybe—but those guys can play and they always play hard.

Toronto has fallen short in six of their past seven contests, but they also have gone 3-1-1 against the spread in their last five. I mean, heck, the Raps were just double-digit underdogs to this same Clippers team last week and, while they lost the game, they covered the spread pretty comfortably.

In fact, the Raptors have not taken kindly to those big underdog spreads at all this season, going a perfect 5-0 ATS when they are listed as underdogs of seven or more points. On the flip side, the Clippers have gone just 2-4 ATS in their last six games as favorites of 7+.

The Clippers would seem to be very near to full strength, with both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George now healthy and firing on all cylinders and Serge Ibaka also nearing a return, as evidenced by the fact that he is accompanying the team on this four-game roadie.

However, healthy or not, the Clippers have not been good on the road this season. They’ve gone just 16-15-1 ATS as the away team during this campaign, and just 13-12-1 as the road favorite. L.A. has also been having a specifically rough go of it while travelling recently, having failed to cover the spread in each of their last four away contests.

Much like their recent run against the LeBron Lakers, the Raptors have had a lot of recent success when taking on L.A.’s other team as well, going 9-4 ATS in the last 13 matchups between the squads. The Clippers have also really struggled when playing in Toronto over the past few years, but since this game will take place in Tampa Bay, those stats are somewhat meaningless.

The Clippers really need to win this game, and so they probably will—but they don’t care about an 11.5 point spread. The Raptors don’t care about the spread either, but they’ve got a ton of pride over there, and you better believe they’re not going to rollover even with their top guns out of commission. We’re going with Toronto’s +11.5 under point spread at solid -114 NBA odds as our best bet for today.

Stats

  • Toronto is 5-0 ATS as an underdog of 7+ points this season
  • Los Angeles is 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games as a favorite of 7+ points
  • Los Angeles is 0-4 ATS in their last 4 road games
  • Toronto is 9-4 ATS in the last 13 meetings

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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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