After a whole slew of holiday games, the season continues with games on regular, old mundane days like Thursday, January 3rd.
Two games stand out, the Toronto Raptors at the San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets vs. the Golden State Warriors. There are no odds out just yet, but Bovada, a top online sportsbook will have lines out later this evening or Thursday morning.
Toronto Raptors vs. San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio isn’t doing too bad without Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. They are 21-17 (as of Tuesday) and are currently ranked 10th in the league with a 71% chance of making the playoffs.
The Spurs are coming off a 120-111 win over the Boston Celtics where LaMarcus Aldridge put up 32 points and nine rebounds. DeMar DeRozan snatched up seven rebounds, dished 10 assists and also dropped a few through the hole for 13 points.
But, the 27-11 Raptors are ranked No. 2 in the league and are not afraid to hit San Antonio, Texas with everything they’ve got.
That said, we should expect the crowd to be a factor in this one. The Raptors are coming off a duel with the Utah Jazz on Tuesday evening, but they still get a day of rest.
These two teams have similar offensive potential. The Spurs are averaging 111.24 points per game, while the Toronto Raptors are putting up 112.87.
Defensively, the Raptors are stout, allowing just 107.24, which is good enough for ninth in the league. The Spurs have always been known for their defensive fundamentals and are the 12th ranked defense in the league at 109 per game allowed.
We have to think that the Raptors will come into this game as favorites. However, the Spurs are in a good position here. They will be well rested and the Toronto Raptors are 8-11-1 against the spread while on the road this season, covering just 42% of the time.
The Spurs cover the number 70% of the time this season while playing at home. Plus, they are 71.2% against the spread after they have multiple days off in a row.
Take the Spurs to cover a small number (most likely as underdogs).
Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are going to be fresh for this game against a CP3-less Rockets squad. The Warriors and the Rockets haven’t played since Dec 31.
The Rockets got a win over the Memphis Grizzlies and the Warriors defeated the Phoenix Suns. This is a game where two division leaders clash and one of them has to lose.
Stephen Curry had a monster performance last time out. The point guard grabbed up nine rebounds and 34 points. But, James Harden is on fire. He dropped a triple-double on the Grizzlies, netting 43 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists.
But, with CP3 out, Ennis III and Eric Gordon questionable, there are some issues with the team’s depth. Meanwhile, the Warriors are healthy.
But, Golden State tends to do a belly flop on the hardwood after two to three days of rest.
They are only 37.5% against the spread after extended rest. It’s like they are one of those teams that has to stay warmed up all the time.
That last stat is negated by the Rockets’ poor road performance when it comes to beating the point spread. They are just 38.9% (7-11) as the away squad, 40% as away underdogs and 38.5% as away favorites.
On top of that, they are only 44% after two to three days of rest. So, as long as Golden State doesn’t come out as big double-digit favorites, they should be the play.
Take the Warriors to cover a short or moderate number.