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The Raptors look to keep it rolling in Toronto while Klay Thompson makes his long-awaited return.
ANALYSIS

Toronto Raptors vs New Orleans Pelicans Prediction: Raptors Continue to Rampage

Toronto Raptors vs New Orleans Pelicans

Raptors vs Pelicans Odds

It wasn’t that long ago that the Toronto Raptors looked like a potential candidate for a tank in 2022. As the calendar turned to December, the Raps sat tied for the third-fewest wins in the Eastern Conference, ahead of only the Pistons and Magic. They’d been affected by health, but there was also no clear indication that a fully intact version would be able to make a push to competitiveness, let alone contention.

My how times have changed. Over the last six weeks, Toronto is one of just six teams with a net rating over five, ahead of big boys like the Bucks, Warriors and Bulls, and that number is heavily skewed by a 45-point loss to the Cavs in which they played the entire game essentially with non-rotation players due to COVID running rampant in the locker room. Even so, they have 10 wins against just four losses in that time.

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At home, which is where they’ll face Sunday’s opponent, they’re even better, with a positive 10.9 net rating – good for third-best in the league over that span – and a 9-2 record. They enter this game on a five-game winning streak and a six-game cover streak. They are playing as well as any team in basketball, and lesser opposition doesn’t stand a chance.

Not that their foe here is a pushover. The Pelicans have been downright respectable since a horrid start to the season, and are coming off a win against the Warriors at home. That said, they are not a team who prospers on the road. Here are the results in their last six road contests:

·  A 10-point loss to the Rockets

·  A 15-point defeat at the hands of the Spurs

·  A 3-point win against Oklahoma City

·  A 6-point win in Orlando

·  A 5-point loss in the OKC rematch

·  A 23-point loss in Milwaukee

In short, this is too good a spread not to take advantage of on Toronto’s behalf. Give the points at home.

Toronto Raptors vs New Orleans Pelicans Pick

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Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers

Warriors vs Cavs Odds

All eyes across the NBA will be in Golden State on Sunday night for the return of Klay Thompson. It has been a long time coming, as the last time he played basketball, Darius Garland wasn’t even in the league yet. Now, he’ll be continuing his All-Star campaign across the court from Thompson on Sunday night.

It’s a great story, but that doesn’t make this a great game to bet. For starters, the Warriors have been a below-.500 team against the spread for more than a month. Steph Curry has (for him) been struggling from the field, and as a result, the offense has sputtered. Golden State comes in having lost two in a row to the Mavs and Pelicans in which they’ve scored just 82 and 96 points. Will Klay instantly inject new life into a struggling unit? We have no idea.

Adding to the uncertainty is the current state of the Cavs, who seem to really be missing Ricky Rubio, lost to a torn ACL, and out for the year. They’re coming off a 13-point win in Portland against the non-competitive Blazers, but before that had dropped six of seven against the spread and five of seven outright.

Even with their recent issues, this line feels a few points higher than it should be due to the surge of public support Golden State is sure to get with Klay’s return. Cleveland is probably the bet, but this feels like one to watch for enjoyment only and re-assess afterwards.

Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers

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Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.

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