After picking on the Pistons on two consecutive days, I’m off to a perfect 2-0 start this week. On Wednesday, I targeted the Hornets -9.5 vs. the Pistons (Charlotte won 140-111) and on Thursday, I was on the Grizzlies-Pistons under 220 points (Memphis won 118-88, a 206-point total). On Friday’s slate, I’m targeting the Raptors -11.5 vs. a decimated Jazz team.
As this line suggests, many Jazz players will be out on what’s the front end of a back-to-back for the team. Rudy Gobert, Monovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic will all be out while Royce O’Neale, Hassan Whiteside, Rudy Gay and Jordan Clarkson are all questionable. That means there’s a realistic possibility that guys like Udoka Azubuike, Eric Paschall and Trent Forrest will see the bulk of the offensive usage for Utah, which wouldn’t cut it on some G-League teams. Even if the aforementioned questionable players do suit up, they’ll be completely outmatched.
Meanwhile, the Raptors are all of a sudden one of the healthiest teams in the league. Pascal Siakam has been playing out of his mind lately, Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., OG Anunoby and Scottie Barnes are all back in the starting five while guys like Chris Boucher should absolutely crush off the bench.
In eight December games, Siakam averaged 22.6 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists and he’s off to a hot start this month, averaging 23.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists. After a slow start based on his standards, he’s consistently playing at an All-Star level. VanVleet’s numbers have followed suit; he averaged 22.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 7.9 assists in December and has put up 29.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists through three January contests.
Per BetQL’s game page, the Raptors have gone 34-18 ATS after a win by six or fewer points under coach Nick Nurse. Since Toronto is coming off a six-point win over the Bucks last time out, the trend gives me even more confidence in the pick. To add, the Raptors have covered the spread in five consecutive games while the Jazz have gone 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games (with most of their team healthy).
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