Brooklyn Nets vs. Toronto Raptors – NBA, April 27, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| April 27, 2021 6:07 am PDT

It’s top versus bottom in the Atlantic Division tonight, as the Nets take on the Raptors. Both teams are still fighting for their own individual goals this season.

For the Nets, it’s simple. They are sitting pretty at the top of the Eastern Conference, and they want to remain there. The Raptors are involved in a three-way battle with the Wizards and the Bulls for the last remaining pre-playoff spot. At present, the Wizards are winning this fight, and therefore, the Raptors must win tonight to close the gap.

They have every right to be confident of doing that despite going up against the Conference leaders. The Raptors have beaten the Nets on the previous six occasions they have met. The most recent encounter was less than a week ago when the Raptors put in an excellent defensive performance and ran out comprehensive winners.

Brooklyn started their game fast and took a 13-point lead into the second quarter. However, they couldn’t maintain that level, and the Raptors took over from the third quarter and never looked back.

The Raptors have also won the last 14 home fixtures against the Nets but seen as they are playing their home games in Tampa this season, that stat doesn’t quite carry the clout it might if the match was being played in Toronto.

Over the previous ten meetings between these two, Toronto has averaged 12 more points than the Nets, highlighting their dominance of this fixture. The key to that dominance has been in their defense, where they have held their Nets to an average field goal percentage of only 41%.

Let’s look at the betting trends for each team, and then I will provide my Nets vs. Raptors betting prediction.

Nets vs. Raptors Odds

Nets -6.5 -110
Raptors +6.5 -110
Nets To Win -235
Raptors To Win +220
Over 231.5 Points -110
Under 231.5 Points -110

The spread is bigger than I expected it to be, especially seen as when they met a week ago, the Raptors were given a lead one point less than tonight’s handicap, and as we know, they won the match straight up. The points total has remained the same and still looks high to me.

The Nets have won six of the seven matches they have entered as the betting favorites playing against teams in their Division.

Nets News

Since losing to Toronto, the Nets have put in two solid displays in beating the Celtics and the Sun’s back-to-back.

However, those games were at home, and their form on the road at present remains sketchy as they have lost three of the last four. Their only win came in a high-scoring game against the Pelicans, where both teams shot impeccably on the night. Their form on the road overall this season has been decent as they have picked up 16 wins from their 29 road trips.

Here are the latest betting trends for Brooklyn:

  • They have won six of their last eight games against the spread.
  • Brooklyn is 11-5 in their previous 16 matches.
  • The Nets have only won one of their last six games against the spread when facing Toronto.
  • Six of their previous nine games on the road have gone under the betting total.
  • They have won all of their last five matches against the spread played on a Tuesday.

The above data highlights what a fantastic team the Nets are, but it also confirms the need to be wary against the Raptors and that we could be in for another low-scoring game as we had a few days ago between these two.

The Nets have one of the best offenses in the league this season which has primarily be down to a field goal percentage of 49%, which is the best in the NBA. However, as we have seen for one reason or another, they haven’t been as accurate against the Raptors, which has been their biggest downfall. They are also deadly at shooting from deep as they have a 38% success rate from the three-point range.

They are the number one ranked offense on the road this season and, therefore, should be confident of snapping this dreadful run against the Raptors.

Their defense is certainly lacking, having conceded 114-points per game on average this season. Worryingly they are conceding three more points per game on average in away fixtures which won’t do their cause any good.

They make a low number of steals per game which you have to feel is down to their aging team’s lack of energy which seems to be conserved for their attacking play.

The Nets have an ever-growing list of absentees at present. Tonight, they will miss Harden, Dinwiddie, Brown, Johnson, Chiozza, and Claxton.

Raptors News

The Raptors are playing arguably their best basketball of the season, which comes in handy at the business end of things. They have won five of their last six games, with the only blemish on their card coming against the Knicks. The Raptors got dominated from start to finish as they failed to win a single quarter of the match. It must be highlighted that the Knicks came into the game in excellent form, having won their previous eight games.

Their form at ‘home’ this season has been solid enough as they have won 16 and lost 15 of their 31 matchups. They have been untouchable over the past two weeks as they won all five of their games played at the Amalie Arena.

Here are the latest betting trends for Toronto:

  • The Raptors have won five of their previous six matches against the spread.
  • They have won all five of their recent home games against the spread.
  • Toronto is 5-14 in their previous 19 matches against the east coast teams.
  • The total has gone under in 12 of their last 18 games against teams in the Atlantic Division.
  • Of their previous 20 matches played in April, 13 has gone under the points total, and seven has gone over.

This confirms the Raptors head into this matchup in good shape and reiterates it could be a low-scoring game.

The Raptors have a sub-standard offense this season. However, they have excelled from the free-throw line, so it pays to remain disciplined against them, which is something they have struggled with themselves.

Their defense has been marginally better, and they have covered the basket reasonably well in and around the paint by holding their opponents to a field goal average of 45%. It’s no wonder they are considered one of the best blocking teams in the league, especially as they have Chris Boucher in their ranks. Although Boucher has missed the last couple of games, and the Raptors don’t expect him back anytime soon.

However, that tight defense around the basket has come at a price as teams that shoot well from a distance tend to do well against Toronto.

For a team that sites so deep, you would imagine they would be better at making defensive rebounds than they are, which is a weakness of their game. Their offensive rebounding hasn’t been much better, which means they have the second-worst rebounding unit in the league.

One area they should win tonight is making more steals than the Nets. Given they aren’t making many rebounds this season, this could be their best way of gaining possession. Fred VanVleet has undoubtedly helped in this department, but his game has come under scrutiny of late, with many believing he should drop down to the bench.

They have defended better at home this season, conceding on average three fewer points per game.

As previously mentioned, Toronto will miss Boucher tonight, while Trent Junior, Watson, and Harris all remain questionable to play.

Nets vs. Raptors Pick

Pick
  • Under 231.5 Points
    -110

While I believe the Raptors will more than likely win with the handicap tonight, the Nets will be encouraged by their excellent performances against the Celtics and the Suns. There appears to be a safer option here tonight, which is betting on under the points total. With the Nets lineup depleted, you have to feel game management will come into play, and that could mean holding on to the ball for long periods of the game, trying to conserve energy.

The Raptors have also defended well recently, and they haven’t conceded a score bigger than 103-points in their previous five home games. Also, over the last ten encounters between these two, the combined average is 224-points which falls well short of the total set tonight.

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