Los Angeles Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors – NBA, April 6, 2021
The Lakers currently find themselves in no man’s land in the Eastern Conference. They have very little chance of chasing down the Jazz in the race for the conference championship and, at the same time, are comfortably in the automatic playoff positions. It’s now all about fine-tuning things in preparation for a bid to win yet another NBA championship.
The Raptors have slid out of the pre-playoff spots and therefore need to start putting wins together as it appears the final place will be between themselves and the Bulls. They should be confident of starting with a win tonight, given they have beaten the Lakers on the last 12 occasions they have met. This record over the reigning NBA champions is quite astonishing and unparalleled with any other teams.
The key to their success has been keeping the Lakers quiet and nullifying their attack. Over the past ten encounters with LA, they have reduced them to an average score of only 98-points. There aren’t too many teams that can boast this sort of defensive record over the Lakers. As such, they have averaged a whopping 13-points more per game during that run.
Lakers vs. Raptors Odds
Although the Raptors appear to have more to play for tonight and have a far superior record over the Lakers, I am somewhat surprised they find themselves favorites to win tonight. History tells us that the points total is high; however, they have combined for a total much higher than the one set this evening this season.
The Lakers have a terrible record as the underdogs this season; having won two of the ten matches, they have found themselves as the betting outsiders.
The Lakers have been lacking lately, having only picked up three wins from their previous nine matches. However, those wins did come in their last five games, so perhaps things are starting to improve. However, saying that the wins all came against teams outside the playoff positions.
When they have met decent opponents, they have fallen well short, having lost by 15-points to the Bucks and by 18-points to their fierce rivals, the Clippers, last time out. Their slump in form has coincided with James and Davis’s injuries, who are both currently missing. Although the Lakers are much more than a two-person team, most NBA sides would struggle to miss these two superstars.
Their form on the road has been excellent this season as they have won 15 and lost only eight of their 23 road trips. However, they have only won three of their previous nine away fixtures, which again came against sub-standard opposition.
Here are the latest betting trends for Los Angeles.
|ATS||They have only won two of their previous nine matches.|
|Total||All of their last six games have gone under the betting total.|
|ATS||LA has lost their previous eight matches against Toronto.|
|Total||The total has gone under in their last seven games against Eastern Conference opposition.|
|ATS||The Lakers have lost their previous six matches against teams based in the Atlantic Division.|
The Lakers have struggled in attack this season, and this has to be a real worry heading into the later stages of the campaign.
Their biggest problem has been holding on to the ball. You would think it’s on fire most nights by the number of times they turn it over per game.
Thankfully for them, they have arguably the best defense in the league, which is only conceding on average 105-points per game this season. It’s tough to find any weaknesses to their defensive unit, and therefore, it’s easy to see why so many of their matches have gone under the betting total this season.
They have been particularly good at blocking this season, averaging over five per game, which is amongst the best in the league.
As well as James and Davis, the Lakers are also missing Dudley, while Matthews and Drummond remain doubts.
The Raptors have now won back-to-back games for the first time since February, and they have their sites fully set on making a run to the playoffs. Their two recent wins over the Warriors and the Wizards have showcased they can win comfortably or in a tight situation.
Their record at their temporary home has been decent, all things considered, as they have won 11 and lost 12 of their 23 games. This includes winning their two most recent matches. They haven’t won three ‘home’ fixtures in a row since the middle of January, so tonight won’t be a stroll around the lake.
Here are the latest betting trends for Toronto.
|ATS||The Bills have only won one of their previous six matches.|
|Total||Four of their last six games have gone under the betting total.|
|SU||Toronto is 3-13 in their previous 16 matches.|
|Total||The total has gone under in eight of their last 11 games against the Lakers.|
|Total||Only two of their previous six home matches have failed to go under the points total.|
|Total||Five of their last seven games against teams from the west coast have gone under the betting total.|
|ATS||The Raptors have only won two of their last six matches against teams from the Pacific Division.|
|SU||They have won seven of their previous eight games played in April.|
The Raptors have an average-looking offense that has lacked bite throughout the season. However, the same can’t be said from the free-throw line, where they have the fourth-highest success rate in the league. Therefore, the Lakers will have to remain disciplined throughout the game tonight. This is something the Raptors have struggled with themselves as they have the joint-worst disciplinary record in the NBA this season.
Their defense has a similar ability and is ranked 17th in the league, as opposed to their offense ranked 16th. They have defended better at home and have conceded on average three fewer points per game, which could make all the difference tonight.
They tend to defend deep, so they have reduced their opponents to an average field goal percentage of 45%. However, this hasn’t helped their defensive rebounding, which is the worst in the NBA this season. In fact, their rebounding is the worst in the league, period.
However, they make many steals per game that shouldn’t be too tricky tonight against a team that gives the ball up as easily as the Lakers do. Fred VanVleet has been instrumental in making many of these steals, but ‘Steady Freddy’ was missing against the Wizards last time out, and he remains a doubt this evening.
The Raptors also make many blocks, and this could be a key matchup tonight, given these teams are ranked fourth and fifth for blocks per game in the league. Although Boucher is having an indifferent season this year, you can’t argue with his blocking abilities, and he could be the one to help tip this battle in the Raptor’s favor.
The Raptors have a whole host of players listed as questionable to play tonight, with doubts of the fitness of Hood, McCaw, VanVleet, Watson, and Harris. Lowry is definitely out as he will miss a few games with a foot injury.
Lakers vs. Raptors Pick
Both the Lakers and Raptors could take a cautious approach this evening. I think it will be a low-scoring affair, but with the points total set so low, I can’t bring myself to take it on.
With the Raptors seemingly having more to play for, I think they could be more focused to pick up the win tonight. They will also be encouraged by their phenomenal record against the Lakers. I will take them to win this one.
Raptors To Win-135