My hot start to the 2018-19 NBA betting season hit a snag on Friday. The Boston Celtics offered sweet value as +130 road underdogs against the Toronto Raptors and for a while there, they looked like they’d make me look smart.
I knew going in that betting against Toronto at home was a bit of a risk, but the Celtics felt like too good of a value to pass up. It didn’t work out as planned and the loss dropped my NBA picks mark to 3-1 on the year. I’m still in good shape and will aim for a 4-1 start with another big win to start the new week on Monday night.
If you’re new here, I stick to the Eastern Conference for my picks. That’s actually got you at a bit of a disadvantage tonight, as there are a slew of games from the east, but very few that actually look approachable. Of the lot, my favorites goes down in Toronto, where the Raptors will host the Charlotte Hornets.
Charlotte Hornets (+9.5, -110) @ Toronto Raptors (-9.5, -110) Total: 224.5 (-115/-105)
The Hornets are a surprising 2-1 to start the year and could easily be undefeated if it weren’t for a one-point loss at home to the Bucks. Kemba Walker is a huge reason for their success, as he’s just on fire right now with over 35 points per game.
Traditionally, Walker and these Hornets are not quite as effective on the road. They’re 2-0 in their last two games outside of Charlotte, but those wins came against Orlando and Miami. Those aren’t overly impressive victories and you have to think their nice road run has to end eventually.
Walker will draw tough defense from Kyle Lowry and while the Raptors have not been stopping opponents at a suffocating rate to start the year, they still have the ability to do so. In an NBA that has gotten a lot faster, the Raptors have actually still fared plenty fine (7th) in overall defensive efficiency.
I tend to favor the Raptors here on their home floor. They’re a perfect 3-0 to start the year and even topped the mighty Boston Celtics by 12. The Hornets weren’t expected to be this good and to this point they haven’t really taken on anyone of Toronto’s caliber.
The Raptors were 34-7 on their home floor a year ago and have proven again early in the year that they are not to be trifled with when playing in Canada.
If you need some help with some against the spread data, consider that the Hornets were just 9-15-4 ATS as road dogs a year ago.
I note Walker’s hot start and Charlotte’s offensive upside, but I think the Hornets collectively are about to hit a wall. This -9.5 spread is a bit thick for my liking, but I don’t trust the Hornets here, the Total feels a tad volatile and you can’t make any more betting on Toronto as a straight up winner.
Charlotte’s road woes will eventually pop back up again and this looks to be as good of a spot as any. Back the Raptors to cover by 10 and also consider the Over.