Raptors vs. Clippers NBA Odds & Picks: Bet Toronto to Cover vs. Complacent Los Angeles (Tuesday, May 4)

Raptors vs. Clippers NBA Odds & Picks: Bet Toronto to Cover vs. Complacent Los Angeles (Tuesday, May 4) article feature image
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Scott Audette/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors.

  • The Toronto Raptors are still scrambling for a berth in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, with a date against the Los Angeles Clippers in their line of sight on Tuesday.
  • The Raptors have performed valiantly despite recent injury woes to key contributors, but will Los Angeles' combination of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George prove too great a challenge to overcome?
  • Kenny Ducey breaks down the odds for Tuesday night's NBA matchup, including why he's backing Toronto to stay competitive against a fading LA squad.

Raptors vs. Clippers Odds

Raptors Odds +9.5 (-105)
Clippers Odds -9.5 (-105)
Moneyline +380 / -520
Over/Under 221 (-105 / -115)
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV TNT
Odds as of Tuesday at 8 a.m. ET and via BetMGM.

The Los Angeles Clippers have clinched a playoff spot and sit comfortably among the four teams that are near-locks to earn home-court advantage in the first round. As a result, the Clippers ride into Tuesday’s game against the Toronto Raptors with little to play for.

Los Angeles’ limited motivation notwithstanding, still we have witnessed this team cover without its stars and without rested legs: So, should we expect anything different with no motive? Or instead, will it be Toronto to pull out the win and keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race? Let’s examine Tuesday’s NBA matchup and see if we can find some value.

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Toronto Raptors

Every game counts at this point for the Raptors, who remain on the outside, looking in when it comes to the NBA Playoffs. Toronto sits in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, three games behind Washington for the 10th and final spot in the postseason.

After the Wizards’ win on Monday night, the pressure to get a win will only increase.

The difficulty level will, too. Not only do the Raptors have a date with one of the best teams in the NBA, but moreover, they’ll likely have to compete without two of their best back-court players. OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. are listed as doubtful for the contest due to left leg injuries. Joining them on the sidelines will be Chris Boucher (knee) and Paul Watson Jr. (knee) who remain out.

The Raptors’ have done two things exceptionally well all season long: Shoot 3s and score the basketball efficiently. Toronto’s play in recent weeks has further amplified those strengths. Over the past 10 games, Toronto ranks fifth in the league with a 39.6% 3-point percentage and ranks 15th with a respectable 112.8 offensive rating.

Nick Nurse’s side has been even better on defense, where Toronto rank 11th over that same span. The team’s defensive performance is particularly impressive considering its personnel losses. Toronto has played without its centerpiece in the frontcourt, Boucher, and has dealt with absences to Anunoby, Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry lately. Frankly, it’s impressive that the Raptors have remained in the hunt for a playoff spot while going 6-4 over the last 10 games.

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Los Angeles Clippers

The tank engine that is the Clippers, which has been flying at 100 miles per minute all year, may finally be slowing down. Los Angeles has been sufficiently dominant to ostensibly lock down at least the No. 4 seed in the NBA Western Conference.

Now, LA seems to be easing off the gas pedal a bit, hanging on to something for the postseason. Over the past 10 games, the Clippers rank just 14th in offensive efficiency — scoring 113.1 points per 100 possessions — and rank 13th in defensive efficiency, allowing 111.4 points per 100 possessions.

The good news here, however, is that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will play on Tuesday night. When both of LA’s star wings have taken the court this season, that combination has typically bode well for a Clippers victory.

Though Patrick Beverley continues to trend towards a return from a finger injury, Beverley will not make his return on Tuesday. Serge Ibaka also remains out with lower back tightness. None of this is new; but with the Clippers, it’s always important to know who’s actually going to be in the lineup.

Personnel hasn’t been too much of an issue for the Clippers, who have gone an impressive 36-28-1 against the spread (ATS) despite dealing with injuries seemingly all season long. They’ve also been particularly great at home, going 20-13 ATS.

However, some concern is likely warranted given how the Clippers have played recently. They have looked lethargic, seemingly unmotivated to grab the third seed from the Nuggets, who sit a half-game in front of them in the Western Conference standings.

One of the top two seeds would be difficult, though, with the Suns and Jazz both 3.5 games ahead. So, perhaps reality is setting in that home-court advantage in the Western Conference semifinals is a pipe dream.

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Raptors vs. Clippers Pick

Yes, Leonard and George are active, but I’m just not sold that their inclusion in Tuesday’s lineup will produce a blowout of the Raptors. Toronto has been scrapping on both ends trying to salvage its season, and its shooters have been knocking down everything in sight.

It will be a showdown between the Raptors’ hot 3-point shooting side, and a Clippers defense that’s allowing 3s at just a 34.6% clip over the past 10 games. I believe that Toronto will find a way through LA’s porous defense, but this could be a potential hold-up in my projection.

Overall, I’m not confident enough in the Clippers’ defense here, which has been solid all season long. The Raptors have been efficient enough on the offensive side to find a way through this team that has nothing left to really play for. I’m taking the points.

Pick: Raptors +9.5

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