The Raptors look to rebound off a tough loss against a Clippers team that’s struggling in the win column, but not necessarily on offense. Our focus is on Kawhi Leonard in our NBA betting breakdown for this tilt.
While they made some mistakes down the stretch, the Toronto Raptors felt like they deserved a better fate last time out against the Denver Nuggets. But unfortunately, they were the latest victims of being “Scott Fostered” on Monday.
Toronto will have to put that tough loss behind them when they travel to Los Angeles to take on former teammate Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers on Wednesday night.
Both teams are currently holding on to play-in spot in their respective conferences and are trying to improve their standing, giving this matchup added importance. The Clippers are slight home chalk, but do the Raps hold value as a road dog?
I break down this matchup and bring you my best bet in our NBA picks and predictions for Raptors vs. Clippers on Wednesday, March 8.
Raptors vs Clippers best odds
Raptors vs Clippers picks and predictions
If you have been reading my Raptors’ previews with regularity, you’ll know that I’ve been riding the wave of Jakob Poeltl’s scoring momentum. The newest Raptor has been a cash machine when it comes to hitting the Over on his NBA player prop point totals.
But oddsmakers have finally started to adjust to the scoring prowess of “Jake Puddle,” bumping his point total Over/Under up to 13.5. I would still lean toward the Over, as he is averaging 16.4 ppg as a starter for the Raps, and has gone Over that number in six of his last eight games. But it doesn’t get the best bet status today.
That’s because I’ve found an even better angle for tonight’s matchup.
The Clippers still have the fourth-best odds to win the Western Conference. But much like the Raptors, if the Clippers don’t play with more consistency, their playoff run could be a short one.
The one consistent thing they have is the play of former Raptor Kawhi Leonard. Leonard is fully healthy and playing arguably his best basketball since he was leading the Raps to the NBA title in 2019. Leonard is putting up 28.4 ppg over his last 22 games.
Part of that is because he has really found his rhythm from downtown. Leonard is shooting a ridiculous 49.6% from 3-point range over that stretch on 5.2 attempts per game. And he will have a great opportunity to keep draining treys in this matchup against his former team.
The Raptors’ defense has improved since the acquisition of Poeltl, but they are still struggling to defend the perimeter. Toronto doesn’t give up a ton of threes, but when they do, they tend to be open-looks. As a result, the Raps rank next-to-last in the NBA when it comes to opponent 3-point shooting percentage.
Kawhi has drained three or more threes four times in the last five games, and in five of his last seven overall. At a price of +120, there is great value on the Over 2.5 on Kawhi’s made threes prop tonight.
My best bet: Leonard Over 2.5 3-pointers made (+120 at PointsBet)
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Raptors vs Clippers spread analysis
The Raptors are coming off a really frustrating loss. They were outplaying the Denver Nuggets in one of the toughest venues to play in the NBA for the majority of the game, before a few gaffs — and a flurry of questionable calls from Scott Foster — cost them what would have been an important victory.
It will be interesting to see how they respond against another contender in the Western Conference in the Clippers. But L.A. hasn’t exactly been playing well. The Clippers had dropped five games in a row prior to Sunday, and are 1-5 ATS in their last six overall.
So, in a matchup of teams struggling to find consistency and arguably not living up to expectations at this point, it’s not surprising to see a tight spread. The Clippers opened this matchup as 3.5-point favorites, but it’s the Raps who have seen the early action, moving the line down to Toronto +2.5.
Toronto’s defense has seen improvement with Poeltl as their starting center, ranking 11th in defensive rating over the last nine games. On top of that, the team that leads the league in steals should get some more against a Clippers team that ranks 17th in turnover rate this season. And that bumps up to 26th since Russell Westbrook has joined the team.
That could be the difference in a game with a spread this short. That said, I don’t love the spread either way in this one, considering both teams’ inconsistent track record.
Raptors vs Clippers Over/Under analysis
When it comes to the total, the number hit the board at 229, and has been bet up to 230 as of Wednesday afternoon. While the early money has come in on the Over, I might be leaning the other way.
For starters, even though the Raptors look like a more complete team with Poeltl manning the middle, this is still a squad that ranks 21st in offensive rating over the last nine games. They still struggle in the half-court and rank 29th in effective field goal percentage.
And while the Clippers’ defense has been a little shaky of late, they still rank 17th in defensive rating and 15th in opponent field goal percentage. Plus, they have the wings to match up well against the Raptors.
That means the Raps also match up well with the Clippers, and as noted, they are playing much better on defense since the trade deadline. And L.A. ranks 21st in offensive rating.
With Toronto and L.A. also ranking 25th and 22nd, respectively, when it comes to pace of play, I think this game has a much higher chance of being a low-scoring game than books are expecting.
Raptors vs Clippers betting trend to know
The Under is 26-9 in the Clippers’ last 35 home games. Find more NBA betting trends for Raptors vs. Clippers.
Raptors vs Clippers game info
|Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA
|Wednesday, March 8, 2023
|10:00 p.m. ET