Raptors vs. Hawks Odds & Picks: Locking Down Young
Single-game sports betting is alive and well in Ontario, so let's take advantage of this newfound opportunity.
We analyzed the value in the futures market that lies with Toronto on Monday. Today, we jump back into the NBA slate by examining the value of a huge late-season matchup between the Raptors and Hawks at Scotiabank Arena.
Toronto is currently dead-locked with Chicago (45-33), tied for fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Both teams have four games left, with Toronto starting a three-game homestand tonight. The Raptors are 2-1 against Atlanta this year, but the Hawks did win the last game, 127-100, behind 41 points from Trae Young.
Will the Raptors earn a critical home win over their playoff-bound opponent, or will Atlanta even the season series to end the regular season?
Hawks vs. Raptors Betting Odds
*Lines accurate at time of publication.
Hawks vs. Raptors Best Bets
Raptors -3.5 (-110, FanDuel)
Toronto has the perfect mix of veteran players and dynamic youth, all supported by the brilliant coaching of Nick Nurse. It's not that long ago Toronto was celebrating the 2018-2019 NBA Championship. The core group of Pascal Siakam (22.4 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 5.2 APG), OG Anunoby (17.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG), and Fred VanVleet (20.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 6.7 APG) remain from that team and serve as great leaders for talented newcomers such as rookie Scottie Barnes (15.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG). Toronto has also received a huge boost from 6-foot-9 forward Chris Boucher (9.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG), who has tallied four double-doubles in the month of March. In a short series, Boucher combines a defensive presence at the rim with sneaky three-point efficiency and a solid 77.4% free-throw rate.
Toronto is peaking at the right time, having won 11 of their last 14 games. They are also coming off a 114-109 home loss to Miami, but won four consecutive home games prior to that loss, with wins over playoff teams Minnesota, Boston, and Cleveland. The Raptors have secured their playoff push on the back of a superior defense, tallying the top defensive efficiency rating over the last two weeks. Toronto ranks first among all teams, with 10.3 steals per game, and the ninth-fewest points allowed during that span. The Raptors' defense has been improving through the second half of the year, ranking fifth in defensive efficiency over the last month, per StatMuse. This illustrates the huge defensive difference between these two teams, with Atlanta allowing the seventh-most points over the last month (118.3 PPG) and the fourth-most points per game (122.9) over the past two weeks.
This line is affected by the Hawks' five-game winning streak and 7-3 record in their last 10 games. However, those wins were either at home or on the road against much worse teams than Toronto. Atlanta’s two road wins were against the Pacers and Thunder, with a combined record of 48-99. This will be a much tougher battle tonight at Toronto.
The Raptors have also been fantastic over the past seven games against opposing point guards, allowing the fewest points (18.03) and second-fewest fantasy points (37.62) to the position during that time. Over the past month, the Raptors have limited opposing point guards to the fourth-fewest points per game (21.39) and sixth-fewest fantasy points to the position during that time.
Atlanta has been one of the worst road NBA teams against the spread, carrying a 13-25 (34.2%) record. The Hawks are only a half-game better than Washington, and now are 3.5-point underdogs coming off the loss to Miami, this is a nice bounceback spot for Toronto. The Hawks have played well, but have overcompensated for a poor defense. Against a well-coached, solid defensive team such as Toronto, that will not be enough. I’m laying the small number with the Raptors at home in a critical game for playoff standings.
Risk: 1.10 units on FanDuel to win 1 unit. (Bet up to -120)
Hawks vs. Raptors Game Total Under 226.5 Points (-110, DraftKings)
Toronto's defensive prowess has not equated to unders at home. The Raptors have the fifth-best mark to the over (22-16) and have hit the over in their last two matchups against Atlanta. The Hawks' offense has been cooking, with Atlanta hitting four overs in the past five games.
However, the Raptors' recent defensive prowess has caused issues for opposing offenses, leading to 12 unders in their past 18 contests, including five of their last eight games. I expect Nick Nurse to create a strong defensive game plan to limit Trae Young, especially after his 41-point outburst in late February. Young is averaging two fewer points in road games while shooting below 35% from beyond the arc away from Atlanta.
Toronto has the sixth-slowest pace of any NBA team this season, and Atlanta ranks 12th-slowest overall. With over 80% of the bets currently on the over, we will back the under with the stingy Raptors defense at home.
Risk: 1.10 units on DraftKings to win 1 unit. (Bet up to -120)
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