Date/Time: December 17, 8:00 p.m. ET
NBA Betting Odds From Bookmaker Sportsbook
Spread: Toronto -11
The Brooklyn Nets will be in a tough spot on Wednesday night when they travel to take on the Toronto Raptors. The Nets hosted the Miami Heat on Tuesday night and then took the trip to Toronto. International travel always includes a stop through customs, so the Nets could get in fairly late. The Raptors, meanwhile, have Tuesday night off after downing the Orlando Magic on Monday. The Raptors are 12-3 at home and the Nets are just 5-6 away from home, so look for an inflated line in this game.
The Brooklyn Nets are still trying to develop some consistency and find an identity at this time of the season. They don’t excel in any area of the game, but they aren’t well below average in any either. Offensively, they have had some rough nights as evidenced by their 96.4 points per night, which ranks 21st. But, they play good team defense, holding opponents to 98 points per night, so they’re giving themselves a chance even with some mediocre shooting.
Brook Lopez remains out for the Nets. That means that the team has been without their second-leading scorer over the last four games and they will continue to be without him for a couple more. In Lopez’s absence, rookie center Mason Plumlee has gotten an extended look and scored a career-high 18 points in the win over the 76ers. Veterans Deron Williams and Joe Johnson have been among the top scorers for the Nets all season. Williams also leads the team in assists per game. Part of the problem has been the tendency to settle for the three-point shot. The Nets have fired 21 three-pointers per game with a 34 percent success rate.
The Toronto Raptors continue to lead the Eastern Conference, even though DeMar DeRozan is still out indefinitely with a groin injury. The Raptors suffered a couple of setbacks against the Cleveland Cavaliers this month, but they have beaten everybody else. The Raptors haven’t missed a beat offensively without DeRozan. They are still third in the NBA in points per game with over 107 and they are in the middle of the pack defensively, which has led to a lot of victories.
Six Raptors are in double figures and they have had a lot of success going with a smaller lineup with Greivis Vasquez in place of DeRozan. Kyle Lowry has been outstanding all season long, but especially in the absence of DeRozan. Lowry has 19.6 points per game and 7.6 assists per night. He’s been one of the league’s top point guards this season. Louis Williams has averaged 14.6 points per game in his 25 efforts, all coming off of the bench. One of the underappreciated elements about the Raptors is that they are shooting 80 percent from the free throw line as a team. Only Phoenix has a better free throw percentage as a team.
The Nets are 10-12 straight up entering Tuesday’s game against Miami. They are also 10-12 against the spread. Unders have been a good bet in Brooklyn games with 14 final scores below the total. The Raptors are 19-6 straight up and 15-10 against the spread. Fifteen of their 25 games have stayed over the total.
Free NBA Picks: Toronto Raptors
This is a tough back-to-back spot for the Nets with the travel. This is not a very young Nets team and they are already without Brook Lopez on the interior. If there is a weakness for the Raptors, it is on the interior, but the Nets are not in a position to take advantage of that in this game.
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Adam Burke is a freelance writer and amateur handicapper with a knack for finding value through matchup analysis and a deep understanding of the sports betting market. His main area of expertise is baseball, with a background in sabermetrics and advanced statistics. He is the host of The Gridiron Gambling Report and our college football and college basketball BangTheBook.com podcasts on the BlogTalkRadio Network.