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Toronto Raptors vs. Houston Rockets Betting – Latest Odds, Predictions, and Pick

| January 23, 2019 12:00 am PDT
Toronto Raptors vs Houston Rockets Betting

The Toronto Raptors have won eight of their last nine games and will be looking to extend the positive streak against the Houston Rockets this Friday.

Houston will be motivated to get a result, though, as the Rockets have lost both games against the Eastern team so far this season.

The Raptors have given a bit of rest to some of their players recently and are expecting them to feature on Friday. The Rockets have not had this luxury, however, as their one-man army James Harden is desperately fighting a battle to keep the team in the playoff spots.

Harden will be hoping that a certain Chris Paul could be back to aid him in this hugely important game against the Raptors. The Rockets’ home record is good enough, but Toronto is one of the best teams on the road and will be bringing their full force with them.

This game has the potential to turn into a classic NBA spectacle, and you should definitely be keeping an eye on the betting options. I’ll help with that in this full Raptors at Rockets betting preview.

I’ll provide a detailed analysis of what we can expect from both teams, along with the latest odds from the top NBA betting sites.

Toronto Raptors vs. Houston Rockets Betting Odds

Toronto Raptors -1 ½-115
Houston Rockets +1 ½-105
Over 227 ½-110
Under 227 ½-110

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors’ biggest weapon this season has been the depth of their squad.

Even though Kawhi Leonard has proven to be every bit the player he was for the Spurs, the team is also able to perform without him. He has been rested in 13 games this term, and Toronto has won 11 of those.

The Raptors are clearly managing his load as he only played nine games this season, but the versatility of their roster helps for a smooth transition.

Not many teams have the luxury of resting their best player while still managing one of the best records in the NBA.

Kawhi last featured against Boston, and since then, the Raptors have played three games and won them all. OG Anunoby is another player who was given a break for personal reasons. Valanciunas is the only player who is actually injured.

This has in no way derailed the balance of the team, but quite the contrary. It has provided an opportunity for the coach to use the potential of his roster.

If we take the game against Sacramento, we can see that 11 different players were used in the first half. In the end, Toronto ran out as comfortable winners, beating the Kings 120-105. Pretty much the same strategy got them over the Grizzlies.

Even against the Suns, where the shooting was below par, the team rallied, and their forward Pascal Siakam was able to save the day. It was not the Raptors’ best game, but their starters still scored more than 60 points, with C.J. Miles contributing a further 13 from the bench.

The team seems to be very organized and is not fazed by difficult situations in which things are not going their way. This coupled with the fact that they can be deadly in late-game situations is a very good testament for their chances this season.

The only big concern is Kyle Lowry’s form this season. The guard started the year well enough, but his numbers have plummeted recently. This is largely down to him suffering injuries, but coach Nurse is still not able to get the best out of him when he’s healthy.

I expect the player will come around when it matters, as he has the luxury of being rested and can focus on improving his game for the playoffs. Being able to provide an opportunity for their players to get their thoughts together and unwind could prove to be Toronto’s biggest advantage this year.

It will help their stars get healthy and be as fresh as they can when the offseason starts. Kawhi and Lowry have played only 25 games together this season, and the Raptors are still the team with the most wins in the NBA. Their gameplan is obviously working, and I see no reason why it should be tampered with.

On top of that, Anunoby and Kawhi Leonard will both be back for the game against Houston. So, the prospects are looking pretty good.

Houston Rockets

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that James Harden’s form is what is still keeping the Rockets in the playoff spots. After starting the season slowly, the guard has been in a superhuman form as of late.

The match against the Philadelphia 76ers saw him score over 30 points for the 20th straight game. I can’t stress enough what a monster achievement that is.

There is no one quite like James Harden in this league, and I will not be surprised if he clinches the MVP award this season as well.

However, the good news for Houston seems to end there. Despite Harden’s heroics, they have been nowhere near their form from last season. The Rockets were the top seed in the West, lost only 17 games in the regular season, and were able to put up a solid challenge against the Golden State Warriors.

This time around, they have already lost 20 games and are fighting for a playoff spot. Yes, Harden has been brilliant, but his team has a record of only four wins in the last nine games. One of those was a catastrophic loss to the Brooklyn Nets in which The Beard scored 58 points, and it still wasn’t enough.

The same scenario transpired this Monday against the Sixers. Harden again racked up amazing numbers, but Philly was able to close out the game comfortably since practically no one from the Rockets was able to provide meaningful assistance to their star man.

Of course, let’s not neglect the fact that Chris Paul and Clint Capela have been missing for a while. It was recently reported that Capela will not be making his return soon. This has prompted the Rockets to hire a replacement, so they signed Kenneth Faried. I actually think this might prove to be a good short-term solution.

Faried is a veteran in the league and had a very frustrating time with the Nets last year. He will definitely be looking to show his worth. He had an okay game against the 76ers, and I expect he will perform adequately when called upon.

The Rockets’ defense is in such a state that ANY reinforcement is bound to improve it.

Chris Paul seems to be nearing a return. Coach D’Antoni even expressed hope that he might be back before the end of the week. This can put him in contention against the Raptors, but it’s still very much a mystery whether this prognosis is accurate.

On paper, having Chris Paul back on the roster will be a great boost to the Rockets. My concern, however, is what player will actually be returning and how he will fit now that Harden has taken full control.

Paul is 33 years old, and hamstring problems can take a lot of time to heal properly. At this stage of his career, such injuries can take a big toll, and I won’t bet on Chris Paul immediately taking the court by storm when he returns.

The Rockets seem to be a bit against the wall. They don’t have much choice but to pile everything on James Harden until the injured players return. Even then, they might not replicate their performances of last season, so it might be time for fans to start fearing the worst.

Prediction and Betting Pick

The Raptors will practically have all their players except Valanciunas available for the clash. They are the best team on the road in the league, and coach Nurse has found a way to make every piece count. Their versatility will be really hard to handle.

The Rockets will again be heavily relying on James Harden to rack up the points. I don’t doubt he will be able to do it, but it will be essential for him to get assistance from his teammates. As we all saw, even 58 points may not be enough to win the game, and that was against the Nets.

Taking everything into account, I believe the Raptors are the heavy favorites here.

01/24 Update

Both teams had a game on the road on Wednesday, which pretty much confirms where the teams are at the moment. Harden had another ridiculous performance racking up 61 points and 15 rebounds. The worrying part is that it seems Eric Gordon is the only player who can provide any assistance to The Beard.

They played the Knicks, who are one of the worst teams this season, so beating them with a 4 point margin when your star player scores over 60 is not something to brag about. So, despite getting the win, the Rockets’ heavy reliance on Harden makes them very vulnerable.

The Raptors lost narrowly against the Pacers, but I doubt they’ll give it much thought. They went there without Kawhi and Anunoby who are arguably the team’s best defenders. Even with those two missing, the team performed admirably and had six players in double digits. The rested players will be returning for the game against Houston, so I don’t see any reason for Toronto to panic.

01/25 Update

Looking at the odds, I think the best value here would be to back to a low-scoring game. Harden is the only efficient scorer in the Rockets roster right now, whereas Toronto will concentrate their effort on stopping him.

PICKUnder 227 ½-110

Final Words

I hope the game lives up to the expectations. It could be a classic story of a one-man army taking on a whole team. If Harden somehow manages to win the game for the Rockets, this will live long in people’s memories and will surely push him even closer to getting that MVP award.

The Raptors will be far more relaxed going into this game. Their position is far safer, and they have trust in the unit they have built this season. I think it will be enough to carry them through, but let’s see what James Harden has to say about that.

Elias Wagner

Elias Wagner has been a soccer fan since he was a young boy. He still has a huge passion for the sport itself as well as betting on it and writing about it.

Outside of soccer, Elias also enjoys other sports including basketball, tennis, and snooker. He's been writing for GamblingSites.com since 2018.

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