Short card of NBA action on Sunday with only three games but this Eastern Conference matchup looks like a nice betting opportunity. The Toronto Raptors are having an excellent season and are neck and neck with the Eastern Conference leading Milwaukee Bucks. Toronto is currently 1 game back of Milwaukee who currently has the NBA’s best record. Both teams are playing well at the moment–Milwaukee has won 3 straight and 9 of 10 while the Raptors have won 7 straight and 8 of 10. Both teams have to keep one eye in their rear view mirror for the Indiana Pacers (8-2 L10) who are now 4 games back of Toronto and 5 back of Milwaukee.
While Toronto has gone on a nice SU run they haven’t been as impressive as a pointspread proposition. They enter Sunday’s matchup with only 3 pointspread covers in their past 10 games (3-6-1 ATS). This isn’t an indictment of the team qualitatively–it’s just what happens to good teams when the public starts to embrace them. The bandwagon bettors pile on, bookmakers ‘shade’ the lines to accommodate for them and all of a sudden an excellent team like Toronto is an overvalued pointspread proposition. This is also evident in several other situational breakdowns. Toronto has one of the best home records in the NBA at 25-5 but are just 13-16-1 ATS. As a favorite, they’re 38-10 SU but just 19-27 against the spread.
Orlando is a very dangerous team. They’re an all too rare phenomenon in the NBA–the borderline playoff team that keeps scrapping after the All Star Break. While most of the non-playoff teams in the league are in tank mode the Magic are furiously trying to run down a playoff spot. They’ve got a realistic shot of doing so–they’re just 1.5 games back of the 8th place Charlotte Hornets and 2 games behind the 7th place Detroit Pistons. The rest of the non-playoff teams in the Eastern Conference? They’re not exactly tearing it up. Orlando is the only team outside of the top eight in the Eastern Conference with a winning record in their past 10 games and only one of two in the entire NBA (Sacramento is 9th in the West and have gone 6-4 in their last 10 games). The Magic are doing it with defense–they’re up to #6 on the points allowed per game table.
The ‘public’, however, doesn’t give Orlando a second thought. As a result, they’re still an undervalued proposition and why they’ve gone 10-4 ATS over their past 14 games. From a betting standpoint, there are few things as valuable as an ‘under the radar’ team committed to defense that plays hard every night. The Magic aren’t the kind of team that will go on a long winning streak and get ‘squares’ jumping on the bandwagon. They’ll scrap all year and hopefully make the playoffs.
Here’s some of Orlando’s situational numbers: On the road, they’re just 11-17 SU but are 16-11 ATS. They’re also just 11-17 against opponents with a winning record but 16-11 ATS. They’ve been very strong against Atlantic Division foes this year going 7-4 SU/10-1 ATS. Toronto has won 6 of the last 9 meetings head to head but Orlando is 5-4 ATS in those games. The Magic have covered both meetings so far this season. In the previous matchup, the Magic dominated the Raptors at home on December 28, 2018 winning 116-87 as +4.5 home dogs.
Don’t think that this becomes a ‘revenge spot’ for Toronto due to that last result. Revenge is an overblown concept in most sports and particularly the NBA. Toronto is 10-4 SU in ‘revenge spots’ this year but just 6-8 ATS. Besides, the Raptors have ‘bigger fish to fry’ with a home game against Boston on Tuesday and a tough non-conference matchup against the Portland Trailblazers who are playing very well at the moment. They’re also coming off a hard fought win over the San Antonio Spurs that also featured the emotional return of DeMar DeRozen to Toronto for the first time since he was traded. Perfect spot and perfect matchup for the underdog to keep it close.