With the drama of DeMar DeRozan’s return to Toronto finally behind them, the Raptors can refocus on their run to the top of the Eastern Conference standings. They’ll carry a seven-game winning streak into Sunday’s home encounter with an Orlando Magic team that has also played well of late to inject itself into the East playoff race. It’s the third of four meetings between the clubs this season; they split the first two decisions, both in Orlando.
NBA Point Spread and Betting Analysis
The Raptors are as close to double-digit favourites as you can get without actually being one – but 9 (or 9.5 in this case at the open) has not exactly been a magic number for Toronto of late. It has failed to cover three consecutive games as a favourite of 9.5 points or more and is just 5-9 ATS in its previous 14 games in that situation. Meanwhile, the Magic have been a tough road opponent, having covered six of their previous seven games away from Orlando.
The total for this one is a shade below 220, which should generate plenty of interest from over bettors given that the Raptors average 116 points per game at home. But Toronto is 5-2 to the under in its previous seven games against Eastern Conference foes, and has gone below the number seven times in its last 10 following a win. And the teams have combined to convert the under in four of their past five head-to-head encounters.
Orlando’s decision to hang onto star center Nikola Vucevic rather than ship him out prior to the trade deadline has paid major dividends for the Magic, who are 7-2 SU over their past nine to move to within striking distance for eighth place in the East. But for as good as Vucevic has played this season (20.5 ppg, 12.1 rpg), the Magic are in the hunt thanks to a surprisingly stout defence that has limited opponents to 106.9 points per game, the sixth-best rate in the NBA.
The Raptors made a major splash in and around the deadline, acquiring big-time frontcourt help in Marc Gasol and a capable backup point guard in Jeremy Lin. And both players have excelled in their brief tenures with Toronto, which enters Sunday afternoon with a sensational 25-5 SU mark at Scotiabank Arena. Lin is averaging 9.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists while Gasol has posted marks of 8.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists.