Toronto Raptors v Charlotte Hornets

The NBA season has been spread out a bit more in the 2017/18 season to ensure teams and players are given enough rest between games in the regular season. The decision to reduce the number of back to back games has been important for teams, and the Charlotte Hornets will underline that having been blown out by the San Antonio Spurs the day after coming within a point of breaking the Cleveland Cavaliers winning run.

Tiredness and fatigue was an issue for the Hornets that day, but they have had three full days of rest between the last games with the Spurs and this one in Toronto.
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Charlotte will be hoping that has given Kemba Walker enough time to get over a shoulder issue and the expectation is that he will suit up for this one. Walker is a key for the Hornets against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, especially as the Toronto Raptors have also been given three full days of rest between games and should have DeMar DeRozan available.

The Raptors are off a blow out win over the Atlanta Hawks which has given them the opportunity to rest their starters. The additional three days between that game and this one should mean Toronto are ready to go as they begin their latest homestand, and I do understand why the Raptors are favoured to win this one.

Defensively they have been performing at a high level and this Hornets team have been a little inconsistent shooting the ball. Walker and Dwight Howard are big weapons, but the Raptors will feel they can play the Defense to limit the damage, although it does have to be said that Charlotte’s Defensive play is a little under-rated.

I do expect the Hornets to get the better of the rebounding numbers and that can help them keep this close as long as they don’t allow Toronto to make a really quick start. Battling them on the boards should provide Charlotte the chance for extra possessions and they should be able to make those count.

Charlotte is 13-4 against the spread in the last seventeen games in Toronto although my concern in recent weeks is their poor record on the road at the betting window. However, the Hornets haven’t been given this many points in too many games and they were only 5 point underdogs when they visited Cleveland last week which makes me feel this is an inflated number.

Jeremy Lamb likely missing this game has contributed to the number of points the Hornets are getting, but it still feels like too many and I will back Charlotte here.

Handicap Betting Recommendation: Charlotte Hornets + 8 Points at 1.95

San Antonio Spurs v Memphis Grizzlies

David Fizdale has made some big decisions as the Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach with the team moving away from their traditional strengths into a more free-flowing basketball team. For the most part Fizdale had been well supported, but the fall out with Marc Gasol, one of the best players on the Memphis Grizzlies, ended his tenure as Head Coach.

Fizdale decided to sit Gasol through the last eighteen minutes of the loss to the Brooklyn Nets and it was a decision that did not go down well with the All-Star Spaniard. The front office clearly got the message from Gasol and Fizdale was fired a day later.

No one can deny it has been a difficult period for the Memphis Grizzlies who have lost their last eight games in a row and a visit to the San Antonio Spurs can’t come at a much worse time. It is actually a home and home series with the Spurs coming up and this is a team who are getting healthier with Tony Parker back in the rotation.

San Antonio has been shooting the ball efficiently enough without Parker, but the veteran Point Guard may just make things a little easier for the Spurs. The absence of Rudy Gay could be a blow, but San Antonio look like they should have their way from the field and could be very effective from the three-point range.

That is a big problem for the Memphis Grizzlies who have been struggling with their own offense and averaging under 90 points per game in their last five games. Inefficient shooting and struggles on the glass are not going to be eased with a game against the Spurs and I think the home team are going to be able to dominate this one.

The Spurs have been very good against the spread as the home team this season while they are 5-2 against the spread in the last seven against Memphis at home. San Antonio is also 8-2 against the spread in their last ten games against a team with a losing record on the road.

There are also some really poor trends going against the Memphis Grizzlies including being 3-13 against the spread in their last sixteen games and going 7-18-1 against the spread in their last twenty-six following a double-digit loss at home. The firing of Fizdale may just extract a big performance from the players, but it looks a big task for them and I think the San Antonio Spurs can get the better of a big spread.

Handicap Betting Recommendation: San Antonio Spurs – 8 Points at 1.95

By @DavAulak

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