Big NBA matchup with serious playoff implications on deck for Friday night as the Toronto Raptors host the Portland Trailblazers. Toronto is playing great basketball and trying to run down Eastern Conference leading Milwaukee but there’s just one problem–the Bucks are playing just as well or better. Toronto has won 8 of 10 SU but have actually managed to lose ground to the Bucks since the first of February. That’s because the Bucks are on a 9-1 SU run with six straight victories. This is the last of a five game home stand for Toronto who will play at Detroit on Monday.
The Portland Trailblazers are currently in the middle of a four team pack of ‘second tier’ teams in the Western Conference. They’re trying to run down the ‘lead pack’ of Golden State and Denver. The Warriors are in first place but only lead the Nuggets by 1/2 game. Both teams are 7-3 in their last 10 games and both the Nuggets and Warriors are in action tonight. Golden State will play on the road at Orlando while Denver will host the Utah Jazz. As for the Blazers, they’re now in 4th place just a half game back of the Oklahoma City Thunder. In the rear view mirror, they’ve got Houston 2 games behind and Utah 3.5 games back. The Blazers enter this contest having won five straight and 7 of 10.
Portland has also covered their last five games and 9 of 12. They’re in the middle of a long 7 game road trip and by the time it’s over will have played 9 of 10 away from The Rose City. So far their undefeated on the current trip and coming off a 97-92 win at Boston on Wednesday night. Toronto beat Boston in their last action, one day earlier. Portland hasn’t been a great road team overall this year with a record of 14-15 SU/ATS. Credit to them for maintaining a high level of intensity during this trip but at some point they’ll start feeling the drain.
Portland will definitely be without center Enes Kanter here–he’s ‘officially’ listed as being ‘Out’ with a ‘Migraine’ but in reality he’s not going to travel to Canada due to immigration issues and safety concerns related to his ongoing feud with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He’s going to remain in Boston and rejoin the team in time for Sunday’s game in Charlotte. The Blazers will also be without guard Evan Turner–he was listed as ‘Questionable’ earlier in the day but has been confirmed out by the team’s official website.
The Blazers beat Toronto at the Moda Center in mid December but they’ve struggled against the Raptors in Canada. They played here in early February and lost 130-105 as +4.5 point underdogs. They’re roughly the same price this time. Going back a bit further, the Blazers have lost their last three trips to Toronto going 1-2 ATS and losing by a double digit average. They’ll be meeting a rested Toronto team that hasn’t played since Tuesday and that hasn’t traveled since February 9. This is Portland’s 4th road game in the past week and at some point that will catch up to them. Toronto has been a bit overvalued against the spread over the past month which is why despite their 8-1 SU run they’re just 4-4-1 ATS in that stretch. This game sets up well for them and they can’t afford to let down if they’re going to stay in sight of Milwaukee.