The Phoenix Suns (20-16) visit the Toronto Raptors (15-20) on Friday night. Action tips off at 7:40 pm ET. Below we continue our NBA odds series with a Suns-Raptors prediction and pick.
Phoenix has lost four of their last five games and has since dropped to sixth place in the Western Conference. The Suns have covered 53% of their games while 51% of their games have gone over the projected point total. Toronto has won two of their last three games but still sits in 11th place in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors have covered 49% of their games while 54% of their games have gone over. This will be the first of two meetings between the two teams this season. Last year, they split the season series with each team taking a game on the road.
Here are the Suns-Raptors NBA odds, courtesy of FanDuel
NBA Odds: Suns-Raptors Odds
Phoenix Suns: +1 (-110)
Toronto Raptors: -1 (-110)
Over: 222.5 (-110)
Under: 222.5 (-110)
Why The Suns Could Cover The Spread
If the Suns are going to cover tonight as road underdogs, they’re going to need a big game from point guard Chris Paul. Phoenix announced a number of guards will be absent tonight, including Devin Booker, Cam Payne, and Landry Shamet. In their absence, the veteran Paul is due for a much larger role. Paul’s stat line this season is modest, but he’s had to pick it up in the last few weeks with all of Phoenix’s injuries. Over his last eight games, Paul has averaged 16.8 PPG and 8.9 APG. The 37-year-old is shooting 47% from the field during that time and 50% from three. That being said, Phoenix is desperate for production with their injuries and may need an even bigger night from the aging star.
Paul will do everything in his power to keep his team close, but the single biggest factor in Phoenix’s ability to cover the spread tonight is Deandre Ayton. Ayton has been stellar yet again this season, as he’s averaging 18.1 PPG and 9.7 RPG. The bruising center has essentially put together the same stat line in each of his five NBA seasons as he’s never scored less than 14 PPG or 9.5 RPG in a season. He’s shooting a stellar 62% from the floor and is coming off arguably his best offensive output of the season. Despite the team’s 25-point loss to Washington, Ayton scored 31 points while shooting 14/22 from the floor. For as good as Ayton was in the loss, he’ll need an even bigger performance tonight given his team’s lack of depth.
Forward Mikal Bridges will operate as Phoenix’s X-factor tonight. Normally more of a third or fourth option when everyone is healthy, Bridges will be forced to take on a much bigger role tonight. Bridges has put together a strong season, averaging 15.6 PPG while shooting 40% from beyond the arc. However, he has really struggled over their last five games – during which the team has gone 1-4. Bridges’ play will largely determine whether or not the Suns keep things close tonight.
Why The Raptors Could Cover The Spread
Toronto finds themselves in a rough spot hosting the Suns on the second night of a back-to-back. The Raptors are fresh off a tough 13-point home loss to the Grizzlies during which they couldn’t buy a basket, shooting 41% from the field. Offensive struggles are nothing new for a Toronto team who ranks 26th in scoring. Defensively, the Raptors have been a top-10 unit all season but their middling offense has held them back from seriously contending thus far.
For as bad as Toronto has been on offense, forward Pascal Siakam has been incredible on that end. The forward is in the midst of a breakout year, averaging 26.5 PPG, 8.6 RPG, and 6.7 APG. He’s shooting 48% from the floor while also averaging nearly 1.5 made threes per game. Siakam went for 25 points in their loss last night. While that is a solid showing, the team will likely need 30+ from him tonight if they want to cover as home favorites. The Suns did just give up 30 points to Washington forward Rui Hachimura – setting Siakam up for a big night.
If the Raptors are going to cover as home favorites, they’re going to need a hot shooting night from guard Gary Trent Jr. The 23-year-old quietly averages 16.8 PPG while shooting 36% from beyond the arc. He’s been red-hot as of late, having made multiple threes in seven of his last eight games. Coming off a five-three performance against the Grizzlies, look for Trent Jr. to find a lot of success against a sputtering Phoenix defense.
Final Suns-Raptors Prediction & Pick
Pay attention to the status of Toronto guard Fred VanVleet, but regardless of whether he plays or not I like the Raptors to bounce back against a Phoenix team free-falling down the standings.
Final Suns-Raptors Prediction & Pick: Toronto Raptors -1 (-110)