After struggling for a significant stretch that dropped them to bottom four in the East, the Toronto Raptors have somehow strung together three solid wins heading into Wednesday night’s matchup with the class of the conference. The Brooklyn Nets, meanwhile, have made all the moves they could to put together a championship caliber squad that could challenge the best the West has to offer, but boy, have they been suffering some setbacks.
Free Picks: Toronto Raptors vs. Brooklyn Nets
Reeling Raps Look To Remain In Playoff Race Against Nets (Season Betting Record: 85-90)
First, they dealt for James Harden in January, a move that worked out better than I think anyone could’ve hoped or expected. Beardo went on a run that vaulted him into the MVP race, but then he picked up a hamstring injury. It was recently reported that he suffered a setback during his rehab and will undergo an MRI to see the extent of the new damage. At this point, he has been deemed as out indefinitely by the team.
Brooklyn also signed Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge to bolster their front line, but after an irregular heartbeat pushed Alridge into retirement, Griffin is on his own there. Nicolas Claxton, a young big man that has come in and played meaningful minutes for Brooklyn this season, is also unavailable at the moment after entering the league’s health and safety protocols a couple of days ago.
When a player goes into the protocols you can generally expect him to miss at least three or four games, so the Nets will be hurting in the frontcourt in the near future. That’s all before mentioning Kevin Durant, who was out for over a month with a hamstring strain, and is now back on the DL with a thigh contusion that will keep him out for the fourth straight game.
With how little muscle the Durantula’s got on that frame, it’s a surprise it’s not a bone bruise he’s dealing with, but in any event, Kyrie Irving has essentially been left to fend for himself here. Brooklyn’s lack of healthy players is especially rough considering they’re coming into Wednesday’s game after playing on Tuesday night.
Brooklyn has not been good on no rest, posting a subpar 5-6 ATS mark in those instances during this campaign while also going 6-6 ATS when they have a rest disadvantage. Now, usually, it would be a no-brainer to take whoever is playing the Raptors at their fake home of Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, Florida, 1,336 miles away from their true home turf at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, but not today.
The Raps have not seemed to have gotten used to this COVID-induced setup, and I don’t blame them. Living nearly a year in a hotel? Away from your family? Away from your fans? It sounds like a nightmare, and yet, the Raptors power on and remain in the battle for the four play-in spots, sitting just a half-game behind the Chicago Bulls, who currently sit in 10th, the last spot in the play-in.
Add onto all of those other trials and tribulations some of the worst COVID and injury luck of any team in the NBA this season and you’ll start to understand what Nick Nurse and his staff have been dealing with. However, they seem to have finally turned a corner recently, which is encouraging.
Toronto has won three straight games and they will be getting Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and Pascal Siakam back on Wednesday night after the quartet missed a litany of games over the past month or so. If you weren’t counting, that’s four of their five starters back in the mix.
It may seem silly considering the overall records of these two teams, but we’re going to go with the team coalescing rather than the one that’s deteriorating for our NBA pick here. We’re going with the Raptors’ moneyline at decent -137 NBA odds as one of our best bets for today.
Another pick we like is the over on Lowry’s 16.5 points prop at tasty -110 NBA odds. Lowry has been sitting for the last few days, and it hasn’t been due to injury. Reportedly, he has been on the bench for rest, so I’d expect the veteran to come out of the blocks hot and firing on Wednesday night. Lowry has averaged 21.5 points coming in after an absence of 3+ games this season.
- Toronto is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings
- Brooklyn hasn’t won consecutive games in 2 weeks
- Toronto has won their last 3 straight games
- Kyle Lowry has averaged 21.5 points in contests following an absence of 3+ games this season
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The Golden State Warriors will host the Memphis Grizzlies in the final play-in game, which will determine the Western Conference’s eighth seed.
The Washington Wizards will host the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night with the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference on the line.
LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers will host Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors in a play-in clash on Wednesday night at Staples.
The Memphis Grizzlies will host the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday in the No. 9 vs. No. 10 contest as part of the West’s play-in tournament.
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.