Phoenix Suns vs. Toronto Raptors – NBA, March 26, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| March 26, 2021 5:36 am PDT

This is a top versus bottom matchup as the Raptors, who sit bottom of the Atlantic Division, take on the Suns, who top the Pacific Division. The Raptors are slowly falling away in the race for a playoff place, and each game is becoming more and more crucial that they win.

Phoenix is trying to chase down the Jazz in the race for the Western Conference, but with the gap beginning to widen, they know they must win here tonight.

The Suns have won the last two encounters between them, with the previous game being played this year. Phoenix ran out comfortable 12-point winners that night, but they haven’t always had things their way. Before that, the Raptors had won the previous six meetings between them.

Toronto has won the last three ‘home’ fixtures against Phoenix, but that won’t count for much seen as their home games are not in Toronto this season.

Suns vs. Raptors Odds

Suns -4.5-110
Raptors +4.5-110
Suns To Win-189
Raptors To Win+150
Over 223.5 Points-110
Under 223.5 Points-110

The spread looks about right for this game. Perhaps it’s a point lower than anticipated, but nothing major.

When they met back in January, the handicap was three points, and the Suns covered that easily that night.

Suns Preview

The Sun’s three-game win streak came to an end last time out against the struggling Magic. Although it was only a narrow one-point defeat, Phoenix will be bitterly disappointed with the loss given they started so well and led by eight after the first quarter and by the fact that they had a five-point lead going into the last.

However, overall, you would have to say that the Suns are playing well at present as they have only dropped three of their previous 12 games. One thing that will annoy them, particularly their fans, is that two of the defeats came against the Timberwolves and the Magic, both of whom are having a poor season.

Phoenix is the best team on the road in the west this season as they have won 14 of their 20 away fixtures. The loss against Orlando not only ended a three-game win streak. It also ended a run of seven straight wins on the road. Before the one against the Magic came at the Pelicans’ hands, their previous defeat, another team who sit outside the playoff positions. Perhaps the Suns are getting overconfident against the weaker team’s which gives real hope to the Raptors.

Here are the latest betting trends for Phoenix.

  • Phoenix is 15-5 against the spread in their last 20 games.
  • Four of their previous six matches have gone under the betting total.
  • The Suns have only lost two of their previous 15 games against the spread when facing Toronto.
  • They have won seven of their previous eight matches against the spread on the road.
  • Phoenix has only lost one of their previous seven games against the spread in Toronto.
  • Seven of their last ten matches against teams in the Eastern Conference have gone over the points total.
  • Only one of their last six games against opponents based in the Atlantic Division has failed to go over the betting total.

The Suns have a good offense that has shot well throughout the season. They have a field goal percentage of 48%, which is the second-highest in the league this season. They also have the third-highest success rate from the free-throw line. Their superb shooting is aided by a good passing game that presents many scoring opportunities each night. Because they are so good at passing, they don’t tend to make many turnovers.

It’s no surprise to see that Chris Paul has been the driving force behind their crisp passing game, and he currently reached over 10,000 assists.

This makes him the sixth-highest assist maker in the history of the NBA.

Their biggest downfall has been their offensive rebounding which has been lacking. Most nights, this isn’t a problem, but if they have an off-night shooting, then it can be.

Their defense has been their biggest strength this campaign, which is helped by an abundance of energy. They close their opponents down well all across the court, and they certainly know they have been in a game when they face the Suns. However, for a team that does mark their opponents so tightly, you would have thought they would be making more blocks than they currently are per game.

The Suns only have one doubt for tonight’s game, and that is Nader, who has been struggling with a knee injury.

Raptors Preview

The Raptor’s abysmal run of nine straight defeats finally came to an end emphatically as they thrashed the Nuggets 135-111 last time out.

Their record at their temporary home this season stands at nine wins and ten defeats, so they have the opportunity to get back onto an even keel tonight. The win over the Nuggets ended a three-game winless run. However, they have failed to win back-to-back home games since the middle of January, so the Suns won’t be too worried about their win over Denver.

Here are the latest betting trends for Toronto.

  • The Raptors have lost five of their previous seven games against the spread.
  • Eight of their last 12 matches have gone over the betting total.
  • Only one of their previous five games at home has failed to go over the points total.
  • Toronto has lost 11 of their last 13 matches.
  • They have won four of their previous five games against the spread, against Western Conference opposition.
  • Six of their last eight matches against teams based in the Pacific Division have gone over the betting total.

The Raptors have an average attack this season that has essentially been let down by their rebounding. However, with the Suns not being the best rebounders themselves, it shouldn’t be a factor here.

Another similarity between these two is much like Phoenix, the Raptors are deadly from the free-throw line, and therefore, both teams will need to remain disciplined throughout the game. This has been a problem for the Raptors this season as they have given away the most personal fouls in the league.

Their defense is slightly worse than their offense, despite them holding their opponents to a field goal percent average of 45%. They have defended better at home this season, conceding three fewer points per game on average.

Toronto’s defensive rebounding is even worse than their offensive rebounding. They have the worst figures in the league.

The most exciting matchup for me will be seeing how well the Raptors do at stealing the ball away from the Suns. Ordinarily, they are very good at this, but against a team that passes as well as Phoenix does, it might not be easy.

That’s where Fred Van Vleet comes in, as he has been superb at making steals this season. So much so I believe he should be nicknamed the thief! However, even the thief has an off night as he did against the Nuggets last time out as this was the first time in five games that he had failed to make a single steal in a game.

Toronto also blocks the ball well, which will be crucial against a team that shoots as well as the Suns do. If they can cut off the supply, it could be their key to victory. Chris Boucher will be an important figurehead in this department, and he will be eager to show his new sponsors Puma precisely what they have bought into.

The Raptors have two players listed as questionable for this one, and they are Powell and Davis.

Suns vs. Raptors Betting Pick

I find this a fascinating game with matchups all over the court and isn’t as straightforward as a top versus bottom contest usually would be. I see this game being much closer than many anticipate. The most significant factor for me is the Raptors terrible defensive rebounding. They can’t offer up a team that shoots as well as the Suns do second chances.

I will take the Suns to win, but I am not confident enough to take the spread on.

Pick
  • Suns To Win
    -189

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