San Antonio Spurs @ Toronto Raptors – Air Canada Center at 00:00

Playing on a back to back is a difficult task for every team in the NBA, but the San Antonio Spurs didn’t exactly tax themselves in beating the Brooklyn Nets on Monday. They also gave Kahwi Leonard a rest and expect him back in the line-up when they visit the Toronto Raptors who have lost three in a row and have had some questions being asked of them.

The main one is whether the Raptors will dip into the trade market to get a little closer to the Cleveland Cavaliers who remain the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. That question will be answered in the coming weeks, but the Raptors are just focused on trying to snap their recent losing run which includes a really poor home loss to the Phoenix Suns.

While their visitors are likely to have their best player back in the rotation after missing out on Monday, the Toronto Raptors are missing DeMar DeRozan which is a big blow for their team. Finding the quality to replace his scoring power is tough and heaps more pressure on Kyle Lowry who struggled the last time he faced the San Antonio Spurs.

Finding that scoring could be key against a Spurs team who have scored at least 112 points in their last four games, all wins, and who have been shooting the ball efficiently. Tony Parker and Pau Gasol are out, but San Antonio seem to plug their holes better than most teams and they can snap a poor recent run in Canada where they are 1-3-1 against the spread in their last five visits.

San Antonio have a solid 4-2 record against the spread when favoured by fewer than 4 points and I think they will just have a little too much for the Raptors in this one.

Handicap Betting Pick: San Antonio Spurs -3 Points at 1.91


Boston Celtics @ Washington Wizards – Verizon Center at 00:30

I have already mentioned how difficult it can be to play the second of a back to back series for teams in the NBA, but it has been particularly tough for Washington who are just 2-7 in this spot this season. Both wins have come against the New York Knicks so suffice to say the challenge of hosting the Boston Celtics is considerably more difficult.

The Wizards have been one of the form teams in the Eastern Conference over the last few weeks though and they won a big game at the Charlotte Hornets on Monday. That means they continue to close in on a top four place in the Eastern Conference Play Off picture, while Washington are also protecting a thirteen game winning run at home.

These teams don’t like one another so it could be another chippy game with enough motivation for the Wizards to not be affected by the back to back spot. Washington have been shooting the ball effectively and they have been strong on the boards which will give them a chance to upset the Boston Celtics.

Boston are well rested having not played since Saturday, but they have lost two in a row as a big favourite with some issues on the Defensive side of the court. Missing Avery Bradley is not helping matters and now they face a back court of John Wall and Bradley Beal who are both capable of getting going and producing plenty of points.

It is difficult to set aside how well Boston have played as a small favourite this season – they are now 7-1 against the spread when favoured by less than 3 points and that is the spot for them here. They are also 5-1 against the spread in their last six against Washington, but the Wizards should be pumped for revenge having lost at the TD Garden last week and their home run means I will take the points with the underdog in this one.

Handicap Betting Pick:  Washington Wizards +2 Points at 1.88


Chicago Bulls @ Orlando Magic – Amway Center at 00:00

Neither the Chicago Bulls nor the Orlando Magic look amongst the best teams in the NBA, but there are times when the Bulls can put it together and look better than their record indicates. The Bulls have won three of their last five games to get back into the top eight of the Eastern Conference, but the Orlando Magic will still feel they can get back into that mix if they can start stringing some wins together.

Stringing wins together looks a long short for the Magic who have lost four of their last five games and were blown out by the Golden State Warriors two days ago. However that loss to the Warriors is one that many teams will take over the course of the season and Orlando will feel they can bounce back here.

They are facing a team with the bigger names for the casual fans, but Orlando have been shooting well enough to have success against a Bulls Defensive unit which has not been consistent enough all season. In four of the last six games Orlando have played they have managed to get to 112 points or more and that makes them a dangerous team for Chicago to face.

Chicago should have a definite edge on the rebounding statistics which should mean they have every chance of winning and covering on Tuesday. They are 3-1 against the spread when favoured by less than 3 points this season and the Magic are 3-5 against the spread when given between 1-2 points.

However, I think the Magic could be catching Chicago in a look-ahead spot as the Bulls are hosting the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday. Orlando also have a 7-1 record against the spread in their last eight against Chicago and they have covered in five straight at home. Add in the fact that Chicago are 1-6 against the spread in their last seven games against a team with a losing record and I will take the points with the home underdog.

Handicap Betting Pick: Orlando Magic +2.5 Points at 1.99

Prices correct at the time of writing.

By @DavAulak

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