Toronto Raptors vs. Los Angeles Clippers – NBA, May 4, 2021
Both the Clippers and the Raptors are running out of time to achieve their goals this season, making this a must-win game tonight. LA finds themselves four games behind the Jazz in the race for the Western Conference, and the Clippers’ slim hopes of reigning supreme are disappearing fast. The Raptors are battling to qualify for the playoffs, but there is clear daylight between them and the Wizards now, and if the gap gets any bigger, you have to feel they will miss out this season.
These teams have alternated back-to-back wins against each other over the previous six meetings, and should that continue tonight, the Raptors will be leaving the Staples Center the happier of the two. However, the picture looks a lot different when you focus on the games played in LA, and it’s clear to see it’s a fixture the Clippers have enjoyed in recent years.
Look for the Raptors to hit the ground running tonight as they have averaged six more first-half points than the Clippers over the previous ten encounters between them.
Raptors vs. Clippers Odds
The spread looks about right for this one; it’s perhaps a point bigger than I anticipated but is certainly nothing out of the ordinary and, as such, looks hard to take on either way. However, the total points look enormous, and it undoubtedly offers the best betting opportunity here. Over the previous ten games between these teams, the average score has been 208-points, which is well short of the target tonight. Yes, if you combine their averages this season, it would clear the total, but when they seem to meet each other, their defenses always come out on top.
The Raptors have a dreadful record of 9-21 when entering as the underdogs, which doesn’t exactly make you think a shock will be on the cards tonight. Primarily seen as the Clippers have only lost three games at home against teams from the east this season.
The Raptors ended a run of three straight defeats last time out by beating the Clippers’ bitter rivals, the Lakers. It was a very rough, aggressive game that seemed to suit the Raptors, and they will probably look to repeat that style of performance tonight. They dragged the Lakers down into a fight, and Toronto came out on top. Looking at their stats for the game overall, you would have to say the Raptors played poorly; however, the approach worked for them. When you see how many fouls they are making each game, you would have to say this isn’t something new.
Toronto’s form on the road has been terrible as they have lost precisely two-thirds of their 33 road trips. The victory over the Lakers ended a run of four straight away defeats and was only their second win in 15 matches on the road.
Here are the latest betting trends for Toronto:
|ATS||Toronto is 7-3 in their previous matches.|
|SU||The Raptors have lost four of their last six games.|
|ATS||They have won eight of their previous 12 matches against the Clippers.|
|Total||The total has gone under in 13 of their last 17 visits to the Staples Center.|
|ATS||Toronto has only lost one of their previous five games against teams in the Western Conference.|
|ATS||The Raptors have lost four of their last six matches against opponents based in the Pacific Division.|
|SU||They have won six of their last seven matches played in May.|
The Raptors have a sub-standard offense this season that certainly needs some work. However, they have been one of the best shooting teams from the free-throw line this season, and therefore, the Clippers will need to remain calm throughout even if Toronto try and get under their skin.
Their defense has been decent, and their approach of sitting deep has worked to some extent as they have held their opponents to a field goal percentage of 45%. Although considering they sit so deep, they don’t tend to make many defensive rebounds.
Instead, their route to winning the ball will be in continuing to try and make as many steals as they have been this season. Fred VanVleet has been instrumental in this department, and he will return to the line-up tonight, having missed the win over the Lakers.
They also have the third-highest blocks per game average in the NBA, which could help those that want to back under the points total this evening. Although in saying that, Chris Boucher has been the driving force behind these good numbers and is currently out injured.
However, they haven’t defended as well on the road this season, and they are conceding on average three more points per game.
As well as Boucher, the Raptors will miss Watson, while both Anunoby and Trent Junior are doubtful to play.
The Clippers come into this one off the back of a three-game losing streak. This is the longest losing streak they have had for a couple of months and will be a concern heading into the business end of the season.
Their form at home has been fantastic as they have won 24 of their 33 games played in LA. The defeat to the Nuggets last time out ended a run of seven straight home wins, and the Clippers will be keen to get another run going immediately. The win drew Denver level with the Clippers in the Western Conference, and it will have been particularly bitter for the Clippers seen as the Nuggets had a few players missing.
Here are the latest betting trends for Los Angeles:
|ATS||The Clippers have only won one of their previous six matches.|
|Total||All of their last five games have gone under the betting total.|
|SU||LA is 11-4 in their previous 15 matches.|
|Total||Five of their last six games against the Raptors have gone under the points total.|
|SU||They have only lost two of their previous nine matches against teams from the east.|
|ATS||The Clippers have lost nine of their last 12 games against teams based in the Atlantic Division.|
|ATS||LA has only won one of their previous five matches played in May.|
The Clippers are the number one ranked team at shooting from a distance this season, and as such, they have a good offense. For this reason, they will fancy their chances against the Raptors, who like to sit off of teams and defend deep. They are also very successful from the free-throw line, so perhaps they won’t mind getting enthralled in a brawl tonight.
They have also attacked marginally better at home as they have averaged a couple more points per match.
Their defense is even better than their attack, which shows you what a challenging game the Raptors are in for tonight.
However, one area they can’t match up to tonight’s opponents is in the blocking department. But seen as Boucher is out tonight, that could be a leveler.
The Clippers have also suffered from injuries as of late, and their coach has some critical decisions to make as he may look to shuffle the pack to get LA back to winning ways. Tonight, they will be without Ibaka, Beverley, and Coffey.
Raptors vs. Clippers Pick
Under 221.5 Points-110
My thoughts on this contest have continually swung back and forth, but one key stat has stuck in my mind. When these teams meet, defenses nearly always come out on top. Given the Clippers’ poor form, it may suit them to take a cautious approach tonight and try to build up their play, rather than some of the fast-paced action we are used to with them.
The Raptors will be up for another fight in LA tonight, and as such, both of these factors could have a detrimental effect on the scoreline. I will take under the points total here tonight.