Free NBA Picks: Nets at Raptors Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 11/25/2013
The Atlanta Hawks have to be doing jumping jacks right now. Remember that trade of Joe Johnson to Brooklyn in July 2012? Not only did the Hawks rid themselves of the horrendous Johnson contract in that deal, they acquired the right to swap first-round picks in the 2014 draft with the Nets. So if you are a Boston Celtics fan, you should not only be rooting against Brooklyn but also Atlanta. Why? The C's get the Nets' first-round pick in 2014, but not before Atlanta gets to choose whether to swap -- so in essence, it can take the better of the two picks. If the Nets continue to stink, Atlanta would take that pick and then send its pick through Brooklyn to the Celtics.
It's almost stunning that the Nets could find themselves last in the Eastern Conference should they lose at Toronto on Tuesday. It's really this season or never for this franchise, and the East just got a bit easier with the news that Chicago lost Derrick Rose for the rest of the season. If the Nets could right the ship and play their cards right in terms of seeding, they might have to only beat Indiana or Miami to reach the Finals and not both. But that's a long way away, and at this point Brooklyn (3-10) simply needs to win a game. Toronto (6-7), meanwhile, appears in a good shape to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008 because the East is so bad.
Nets at Raptors Betting Story Lines
Reportedly, rookie Nets coach Jason Kidd isn't in any danger of losing his job as ESPN is reporting he still has the full backing of Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov. But how much longer before things change? Prokhorov is spending about $190 million on this team in 2013-14, including all the taxes. Maybe he will wait until after the Winter Olympics in Russia to really focus on the disappointing club. To be fair to Kidd, the Nets have been injury-ravaged. Point guard Deron Williams has missed four of the past five games with an ankle injury. Brook Lopez, the only guy playing well, has missed five straight with his own ankle injury. In the eight games Lopez has played, the Nets are +3.3 in points in the paint per game. In the five he's missed, they are -16.0. Andrei Kirilenko hasn't played since Nov. 8 with a back problem, and Jason Terry (knee) has missed the past two. Guard Shaun Livingston suffered a head injury in Sunday's game but should play Tuesday -- he's starting in Williams' place.
Brooklyn was blown out at Minnesota and home to Detroit over the weekend with all those guys sidelined. The Nets haven't scored in triple digits in their past four games. Their only win in the past nine games was on a near-miracle rally at Phoenix. If you are going to watch this matchup on Tuesday, pay particular attention to the third quarter. Brooklyn is 0-10 this year when outscored in the third, and it has been by 96 points.
Toronto has won two straight, last taking the court Friday with a 96-88 win over Washington. The Raptors actually lead the Atlantic Division with that below-.500 record. They have a very good 1-2 punch in DeMar DeRozan (21.2 ppg) and Rudy Gay (20.2 ppg). I still believe Jonas Valanciunas (9.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg) is a future star, although he hasn't really built on his strong finish to last season. The Raptors are dealing with a flu bug. Gay will play Tuesday but was limited Sunday in practice because of it. Forwards Amir Johnson and Tyler Hansbrough are both battling it as well but should play.
Nets at Raptors NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, Toronto opened as a three-point favorite with a total of 189.5. Brooklyn is 4-9 ATS (2-6 on road) and 7-5-1 “over/under” (3-4-1 on road). Toronto is 7-6 ATS (2-4 at home) and 7-6 O/U (3-3 at home). The Nets are 5-2 ATS in their past seven after a loss of at least 10 points. They are 1-5 ATS in their past six against teams with a losing record. Toronto is 5-0 ATS in its past five against teams with a losing record. The over is 5-0 in the Nets' past five after a loss of more than 10 points. The over is 8-1 in Toronto's past nine Tuesday games. The home team is 5-0-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The under is 5-1 in the past six.
Free NBA Picks: Nets at Raptors Betting Predictions
A win here would give Toronto its first three-game winning streak in November since 2010. It doesn't look like Williams, Lopez, Terry or Kirilenko will play. Kevin Garnett will play in his 1,336th NBA game, breaking a tie with Gary Payton for ninth all-time. Paul Pierce, who like Garnett is struggling in a big way, will pass Bill Russell (40,726) for 23rd all-time in total minutes played in this one.
With no Lopez, the Raptors should dominate down low. As it is they rank second in the league in offensive rebounds and first in second-chance points. Gay and DeRozan are combining to average 48.4 points in the past five games, and the Nets have no one to guard them. Take Toronto and the over.
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