Clippers vs. Raptors Odds, Pick, Prediction: Grab the Under in Toronto (December 27)
Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors.
- The Los Angeles Clippers continue their road trip and face the Raptors in Toronto Tuesday night.
- L.A. enters the matchup as 4.5-point underdogs on the second night of a back-to-back, but Chris Baker sees value in the total.
- He breaks down the matchup and gives his Clippers vs. Raptors pick below.
Clippers vs. Raptors Odds
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Kawhi Leonard returns to Toronto to take on the Raptors team he won a championship with in 2019. Will he be able to will this Clippers team to another road win, or will Pascal Siakam continue to terrorize opposing defenses?
Let's examine the Clippers vs. Raptors odds and determine what bet has value in Toronto tonight.
Clippers Better on Both Ends With Leonard
The Raptors should have their full starting five available for this one and they are going to need everyone firing on all cylinders if they want to beat this Clippers team. The Clippers have won six of their last eight games and should have all of their key players available for this one barring any unexpected last second rest decisions.
Talked above about how I expect this Raptors offense to struggle to score so their ability to defend the Clippers will be the key here. Fortunately for them that may not be too big of a challenge as the Clippers currently rank dead-last in adjusted offensive rating per Dunks And Threes.com. This despite them facing the easiest schedule of opposing defenses through the first 35 games of the season.
Some of this inefficiency can certainly be chalked up to injuries, especially the absence of Leonard, but not all of it. With Leonard on the court, the Clippers score 113.6 points per 100 possessions, which places them in the 54th percentile of offense in the NBA. With him off the court they have an offensive rating of 108.8 (16th percentile).
While he has certainly had a positive impact on their offense, he has had a much more profound impact on their defense. With Leonard in the lineup the Clippers have a defensive rating of 97.9 (99th percentile). Their defense is an astonishing +15.1 points better per 100 possessions with him on the floor.
The No. 1 defense is the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers, have a Defensive Rating of 109.4. The Clippers, with Kawhi on the floor, are 11.5 points better, greater than the difference between No. 1 (Cavaliers) and No. 30 (Spurs, 119.6).
This Clippers defense may be historically elite and I expect them to keep it rolling here against an average Raptors offense.
Raptors Facing Tough Matchup
The Clippers may look to rest some of their key players as this game is the second leg of a back-to-back. This isn’t just any back-to-back though as it took an unbelievable fourth quarter comeback to force overtime against the Detroit Pistons last night. The Clippers ended up winning the game by 11, but they were forced to play starting center Ivica Zubac 41 minutes and Paul George 38 minutes.
The good news is that Leonard did not play last night so he should be good to go tonight. You would have to think he wants to play against the team he won a championship with so I would expect him to suit up tonight.
Focusing on the matchup, I like the way the Clippers match up with this Raptors offense. The Raptors offense is predicated on transition game, attacking the paint, and generating second chance opportunities. Toronto ranks first in the NBA in transition points per 100 possessions but the Clippers do a pretty good job of setting their defense as they are 13th in transition defensive rating.
The Clippers also do a great job of limiting paint looks as they rank sixth-best in the NBA in rim rate allowed. Zubac has been huge for them defensively and on the glass and he will have to maintain his level of play against a physical Raptors team that ranks fourth in Offensive Rebound Rate (30.4%).
The Clippers have been solid on the glass all season as they rank eighth in Defensive Rebound Rate (76.4%). With Zubac on the floor they rank in the 92nd percentile of defensive rebounding allowing just 23.3% of available rebounds to be grabbed by the offense, according to Cleaning the Glass. Keeping Zubac out of foul trouble will be massive for their ability to limit this Raptors offense.
Finally, the Raptors offense is often times heavily reliant on Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam drawing fouls as they rank 11th in the NBA in offensive FT rate. The Clippers generally do a good job of not fouling as they rank second in the NBA in FT rate allowed on defense. Factoring all of these edges and I expect the Clippers defense to limit the offensive output of the Raptors.
If you couldn’t tell already I quite like the under here in this spot.
This Clippers defense matches up extremely well with this Raptors offense and the Raptors defense should be able to limit the Clippers ability to get to their mid-range spots.
As long as the Raptors can run the Clippers shooters off the 3-point line, I expect this game to be played in the mid-range on both ends. With both of these teams ranking bottom-10 in pace I could see this falling way under this total of 219.5.
Take the under in Kawhi’s return to Toronto and play it down to 218.