Thunder vs. Raptors Pick – March 16th

We notched an NBA winner last night with the Heat rolling to another home victory to keep their miracle playoff resurgence not only possible, but looking more and more likely.  The Heat win.  Boogie gets a technical, and all is right in the NBA Universe…

Or is it?  The Spurs lost at HOME to the Blazers as this bizarre month of trying to discern WHOM, is anyone, is actually any good this season.  The Warriors are 3-5 since KD got hurt and barely won at home against the Sixers.  The Spurs just lost at home to the Blazers.  The Cavaliers troubles are well-chronicled.  Does this really mean the field is back in play?  Could the Blazers, Wizards, or even the Celtics be legitimate contenders, or is this simply a case of grizzled veterans driving with a speed governor awaiting the “real season” to begin?

There’s some good NBA action going tonight, and while the world will be far more focused on NCAA Madness, there is no reason we can’t steal another winner on the professional hardwood while we watch the college kids battle.

Today’s NBA Pick:

Oklahoma City Thunder at Toronto Raptors -2.5

The Raptors have been disappointing since acquiring Serge Ibaka – the alleged “missing piece” for their hopeful Eastern Conference run.  Some of it may be the absence of Kyle Lowry, and some of it may be that the Raps were never really a legitimate contender in the first place.  My vote is a blend of the two.

Regardless, they have still be a pretty good team at home this season, posting a 22-11 record overall and going 4-1 SU in their last five home games with the only loss coming to the red-hot Wizards.  Toronto has the seventh-best home ATS record in the league at 18-14-1 ATS, while Oklahoma City has the BEST home ATS mark in the league at 23-10-1 ATS but is just 14-19 ATS on the road with a -5.9ppg differential.  They are 13-20 on the road straight up and just 6-13 ATS as a road underdog with a -12.2 differential.  In short, when the Thunder go away for games they should lose, they rarely disappoint.

I like Toronto to win and cover the slim two and half at home, even without Kyle Lowry.  DeMarre Carroll is expected to return, which should give the Raptors defense a lift.  The Thunder have won three straight, but again, they have good wins over the Jazz and Spurs, but they were at HOME.  Tonight they are a road dog, where the numbers are pretty compelling.

Today’s Pick:  Toronto Raptors -2.5

Chris Scheeren / Author