Free Picks: Toronto Raptors vs. Atlanta Hawks

Raptors vs Hawks NBA
Toronto Raptors vs. Atlanta Hawks, NBA, Amalie Arena

The Atlanta Hawks head to Florida to take on the Toronto Raptors at their temporary home at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, with both teams clinging to their health by a thread. The Hawks sit in 4th in the Eastern Conference but are only three games ahead of the ninth place team and the Raptors sit 11th in the East but just two games out of a spot in the conference’s new play-in tournament.

Hawks Head To Tampa To Take On Toronto At Temporary Home (Season Betting Record: 81-87)

Basically what that means, is that both of these teams have a lot to play for when they clash on Tuesday night in Tampa Bay. However, while both of these squads could really use a win here to boost their standing in the competitive Eastern Conference, they don’t exactly come into this matchup with all of their biggest guns blazing so to speak.

The Hawks will be without both John Collins and Danilo Gallinari on Tuesday, and they may be without Trae Young as well. Full disclaimer: if Young does not play for Atlanta on Tuesday, you can pretty much throw these predictions away and put everything on the Raptors spread as long as it’s below seven points. Atlanta’s still got Clint Capela and Bogdan Bogdanovic, but Young is pretty crucial to the A-Town’s success.

Toronto has been getting a lot of guys back from various ailments lately, such as point guard Kyle Lowry and forwards Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby, but they are still missing arguably their best player in Fred VanVleet, who continues to deal with a hip injury. This will be his sixth straight game out of the lineup and 11th overall this season.

VanVleet is an undersized, undrafted guy who bet on himself and cashed in big time this offseason with a big contract. Unlike many who sign for big dollars, FVV actually got better after the big payday, which is why his absence is such a significant loss for his team: his teammates have gone just 2-8 straight up when the Wichita State alumnus has been unable to play this year.

The Raptors have also been simply awful at ‘home’ this season, and you can kind of understand it: Toronto has essentially played this entire season on the road. They have not been in Toronto all year, and they’ve been living out of hotels and playing in front of crowds of Tampa Bay sports fans, not the rabid Raptors fans they’re used to seeing at the Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto.

That would probably explain a lot of this ugly season for the Raptors, especially their struggles at Amalie Arena, where they are only 10-15 against the spread this year. It has often seemed as though the visiting team feels more comfortable there than the Raptors do.

While Toronto does have a lot of their cavalry returning after extended absences, those guys are still dealing with the effects of their absences, whether it be post-COVID or general conditioning problems. Not having your best player is obviously a tough scenario on top of all that.

As long as Young is able to give it a go for Atlanta, we like the Hawks to win this game outright as underdogs, so our top pick for this matchup will be on their moneyline at tasty +123 NBA odds. If Young does not play, however, whatever spread Toronto gets becomes one of our best bets for today.

Stats

  • Atlanta is 6-1 ATS in their last seven games
  • Toronto is 2-8 SU without Fred VanVleet
  • Toronto is 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games at Amalie Arena
  • Atlanta is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games against teams under .500

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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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