The Denver Nuggets travel to the Sunshine State to take on the Toronto Raptors in Tampa. The Raptors are the only team that had to move their home base this season thanks to COVID-19. The Raptors don’t seem to be enjoying the warm weather and palm trees, as they’re having their worst season in recent history. They are riding a nine-game losing streak and seem to be preparing for a fire sale. The Nuggets are on an upward trend this month and are getting hot at the right time. These teams prepare to battle for the first time in 2021. It’s time to continue our NBA odds series and make a Nuggets-Raptors prediction and pick.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Nuggets-Raptors odds.
NBA Odds: Nuggets-Raptors Odds
Denver Nuggets -2.5 (-109)
Toronto Raptors +2.5 (-111)
Over 225.5 Points (-110)
Under 222.5 Points (-110)
Why The Nuggets Could Cover The Spread
The Denver Nuggets are scorching hot of late, going 9-2 SU in their last 11 games. They are on a 5-0 ATS stretch on the road and seem to be playing much better basketball away from the Mile High State. They enter a matchup with the reeling Raptors and have the clear advantage in all aspects of the game. Over the last four weeks, the Nuggets have returned to form as one of the top teams in the NBA. They have found great success thanks to the great play of MVP candidate Nikola Jokic and rising star Michael Porter Jr.
Nikola Jokic is a monster point center for Denver who is having the best season of his career. He is averaging an astonishing 27.1 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 8.6 assists per game. He just put up his 12th triple-double of the season in their last game and appears to be a walking triple-double at this point. He controls the game in the paint and has the ability to create shots for his supporting cast. Porter has certainly reaped the benefits. He is averaging 15.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game in 2021. He has shot a staggering 60% from the floor and 45.8% from 3 in March. Denver is playing phenomenal basketball and has the edge in this matchup, going 9-1 ATS in the last 10 against the Raptors.
Why The Raptors Could Cover The Spread
The Toronto Raptors have been struggling of late, losing nine straight contests. They are clearly not fans of the beach and are looking forward to their return to Toronto next season. They may return north of the border without their all-time leader in assists given they are actively shopping point guard Kyle Lowry. Lowry is questionable for Wednesday’s game with the trade deadline on Thursday. He has been good for the Raptors this season, averaging 17.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game in 2021. The lack of leadership when he is not on the floor shows.
Toronto will need big performances from Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam if it hopes to stick around with the Nuggets. VanVleet is the guy the Raptors are looking to build around. Despite poor shooting, FVV has managed to average 20.1 points and 6.5 assists per game. He is the facilitator that will make or break his team’s success down the stretch. He is capable of catching fire and devastating a team like the Nuggets. If the Raptors are going to cover, they will need big man Pascal Siakam to return to form and provide an added spark.
Final Nuggets-Raptors Prediction & Pick
I’m not typically a fan of road favorites, but the disparity in this matchup makes it easy to back the Denver Nuggets. The line for this game opened at one point and has moved a whole point and a half in favor of the Nuggets. They have been playing terrific of late and Toronto has been playing horribly. Hammer Denver and don’t look back!
FINAL PICK: Denver Nuggets -2.5 (-109)