San Antonio Spurs vs. Toronto Raptors – Odds, Prediction, and Pick
There are so many reasons to be excited about the Thursday NBA game between the Spurs and the Raptors.
The team from San Antonio started slowly on both ends of the court, but Coach Pop seems to have worked his magic once again, and the Spurs looked strong in December.
But are they strong enough to put up a fight against the juggernaut that the Toronto Raptors are? The Canadian franchise is among the best in the NBA and looks like one of the strongest teams this season.
One of the main reasons is the sublime performance of Kawhi Leonard, the man who was supposed to follow in the steps of Tim Duncan and lead the Spurs to glory in the years to come. The rift between the superstar and the franchise was one of the most discussed sagas of 2018, for all the wrong reasons.
I can see both the Spurs and the Klaw eager to prove to the other side that they can do it on their own. This one will be personal, and there’s no doubt about that.
There’s nothing personal for me, though, besides the desire to make some money from this one. I will check the odds provided by the best NBA betting sites out there and share my Spurs versus Raptors betting pick and prediction.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Toronto Raptors Betting Odds
Here’s what the bookies offer for the game between the Spurs and the Raptors.
To be fair, I’m a bit surprised by the spread for this match. I would expect the Raptors to have the slightest of advantages, not the other way around. Sure, the Spurs are in a great shape right now and have the home court advantage, but they face a formidable foe.
The totals make more sense to me, as both teams have a solid defense. It could easily be a low-scoring game for that reason, so the line seems accurate and I don’t think there’s any value for the taking there.
But before I share my final Spurs – Raptors betting pick, let’s take a closer look at both teams:
San Antonio Spurs
It is no secret that the Spurs’ year has been blighted by injuries, and it hasn’t been easy for them. No doubt the biggest loss is that of promising young point guard Dejounte Murray. He was diagnosed with a torn ACL, and it is highly unlikely he will feature at all this season.
The Spurs were also eager to test their first-round draft pick Lonnie Walker, but he was also hit with a knee injury in preseason.
Although he has yet to debut in the NBA, the good news is that he has been recovering and playing the G league. His time to shine may be nearing as the talk is that he has been recalled by Coach Popovich.
The injury situation has prompted Pop to experiment with the point guard and other positions. This has had a mixed effect on the Spurs’ fortunes so far, but there are signs that they might be able to find their feet.
Their star men DeRozan and Aldridge have been on fire lately. And bench players such as Davis Bertans, Marco Belinelli, and Patty Mills have provided a much-needed helping hand. This has resulted in a 7-3 streak which has allowed them to return to the playoff position for now.
However, I still need to point out that there are major problems with the Spurs defense, especially when they are on the road. The good offensive return in recent weeks may have taken the spotlight away from this, but the team is far from safe.
In contrast, their home court displays have been generally good as is usually the case with the San Antonio Spurs. This is where the team can find a bit of hope when facing the big boys.
They have been able to successfully contain offensive teams such as LeBron’s Lakers and will hope that similar performances will help them stifle better teams like the Toronto Raptors.
In any case, the competition in the league is relentless, and it will take a big and consistent effort from both the star men and role players if the team is to qualify for this year’s playoffs.
The Toronto Raptors find themselves in a very different situation. They have been picking teams apart since the start of the season. They did go through a recent slump in form but are head and shoulders above any team in the East, apart from the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks are currently occupying the first spot, but Toronto has actually won the most games. The risk they took with Kawhi Leonard is definitely paying off.
Everybody knows Kawhi is a special player, but with his injuries and limited playing time, there were doubts as to his ability to replace DeMar DeRozan.
From what we’ve seen so far, the player has moved from a liability to a potential MVP candidate! He is fifth in the overall points per game chart and is invaluable on defensive plays. His partnership with Kyle Lowry looks to be going smoothly. It was a concern for the Raptors, as DeRozan is very close to Lowry both on and off the court.
Another thing worth noting is Danny Green’s integration into the team. His transfer was largely ignored by the media, as the focus was on Kawhi and DeRozan exchanging places. However, Green has been a revelation since joining, and it’s no surprise he is starting every game.
He might not rack up the points tally that Kawhi and Lowry can, but he is proving very useful in defense and is a reliable shooter. His relationship with Leonard has been good since their Spurs days, and their styles complement each other.
It looks like everything is going swimmingly in Toronto. They have a hard job of convincing Kawhi to stay for the long haul, but it’s a problem for another day. As it stands, I believe they are the best team in the East (and maybe in the NBA), and they are my favorites to clinch the top spot there.
Prediction and Betting Picks
It will be interesting to see what the Spurs’ defensive strategy will be and if it will be enough to contain one of the best players in the league. For all their defensive problems, there have been games in which bit-part players such as Dante Cunningham have been able to provide a defensive edge.
However, I am definitely sticking with the Raptors here. The Toronto outfit is the best team in the NBA on the road with 13 wins. They have one of the top scoring forwards in red-hot form and are defensively very sound.
I expect the Spurs to put up a fight, especially if the role players are able to rack up some points from the bench. But ultimately, I believe the Raptors are the better team and are currently in great form.
Considering the fact you can get a price of +100 for them to win, offered by BetOnline, this is my final pick:
It’s great to start the year with a game of this magnitude. Not only will two in-form teams be going at it, but there are also a lot of personal matters to be settled.
It will be the first time that Kawhi will play at the AT&T Center with a different uniform. Given that there were definitely hard feelings when he decided to leave, I expect both camps to be pumped up for the game.
Leonard is coming off of a career-high 45 points against the Jazz, so it’s probably not the best time for Pop and his players to face him.
Popovich may still have some tricks up his sleeve, though, and this will be a huge win for him if he is able to pull it off. It doesn’t look very likely, but that’s why we love the thrill of the game and betting on it!