Run and Gun Shootout: Toronto Raptors at Houston Rockets

Toronto Raptors AT Houston Rockets
December 31st, 2010 at 7:05 PM EST
Opening Line:  Houston -9
Current Line: Houston -9
Opening Total: 212
Current Total: 213.5
Opening Moneyline:  Houston -450 / Toronto +370
Current Moneyline:  Houston -500 / Toronto +350

Andrea Bargnani will be a game time decision as he is nursing a calf injury

Both these teams enter tonight’s game outside the top 8 in their conference and thus are not currently in position to make the playoffs.  Toronto currently sits 1.5 games behind the 13-19 Philadelphia 76ers for the 8th seed in the East, and Houston is a mere 1 game behind Portland for the 8th seed in the West, so it goes without saying that both teams still have a great shot at making the playoffs with 2/3rds of the season still to be played.

Houston just took Miami down to the wire on Wednesday, losing by a mere 6 points at the Toyota Center, their homecourt.  While Battier held LeBron in check, as I said he would, it was Wade who did the real damage, scoring 45 against the suspect defense of Houston’s leading scorer Kevin Martin.  Martin contributed 21 points of his own, but his +/- was -11, proving that when on the court it was Wade doing the dominating.  Scola had a good game for himself, too, going for 22 points on 10 of 20 shooting from the floor.

Toronto hung with Dallas for most of their last game, losing by only 8 points to the 24-6 Dallas Mavericks.  They had three players with more than 16 points (DeMar DeRozan, Linas Kleiza, and rookie Ed Davis) and Dallas was without star player Dirk Nowitzki, or it probably would not have been that close.  On a positive note for the Raptors, however, they did hold Dallas to 41.3% field goal shooting.

Despite their rotten record, Toronto is only -3.7 in the point differential for the season.  They play a fast paced game, scoring 100.7 and giving up 104.5.  Houston also plays a fast game, scoring 105.7 and giving up 104.4.  That is why NBA oddsmakers have set the total high for tonight at an opening total of 212.  Defense will not be the focal point for these two teams.

Some betting trends:

Toronto has lost 9 of their last 12 games and are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games. They have lost 11 of their past 15 on the road and are 15-7-1 ATS on the road in their past 23 road games.  The total has gone UNDER in 6 of their last 7 against Houston and it has also gone OVER in 17 of their last 25.  Toronto has lost 8 of their last 10 in Houston and are 3-9-1 ATS in the last 13 games in Houston.  The total has gone OVER in 9 of those 13 games.

The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Houston’s past 6 games and they have won 5 of their last 6 games, after learning they would be without the services of Yao Ming for the rest of the season, and possibly forever.  The total has gone UNDER in 15 of Houston’s last 22 games at home and UNDER in 6 of their last 7 against Toronto.  Houston is 5-10 ATS in their last 15 against Toronto.

Tonight’s matchup, as said, promises to be a run and gun game but NBA Pick Houston is favored by 9 and have been relatively hot of late so they do have an edge.  Look for Brooks and Calderon to both try to force the pace and neither team has any plans of slowing it down.

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