Toronto Raptors (31-32) at Washington Wizards (29-32)
Game Info: Thursday, March 2, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. EST (Capital One Arena)
Betting Odds: Raptors (-1) / Over/Under (TBD)
Pick: Raptors (-1)
As the Playoff hunt heats up, Thursday night gives us a key Eastern Conference clash between two squads holding the last two Play-In spots when the Toronto Raptors head into The Capital to take on the Wizards in Capital One Arena.
It has taken a large part of the season to come to fruition, but Toronto is finally starting to play up to its full potential. Now boasting a fully healthy squad heading into the last quarter of the season, they will look to make some noise as we head into Playoff basketball. That is quite a bit away though, and the Raptors will have to take care of their business down the stretch if they want to take part. After President Masai Ujiri stayed put at the deadline on OG Anunoby and went out and acquired Jakob Poeltl from the San Antonio Spurs, he made a clear message to his team. This was that he believes in them to turn it around and make a late-season push. So far, they have done that and beyond by winning 8 out of their last 10 games (5-5 ATS in that stretch), helping them come within 1 game of the vital .500 mark with a 31-32 record. As they head into D.C. playing against a pesky opponent in the Wizards, Toronto's stars will need to play at full capacity if they want to leave with a crucial win.
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Washington is in a similar situation as Toronto. Each game is a do-or-die game for them, as they hold the 10th spot in the East by 1.5 games from the Chicago Bulls. With Kristaps Porzingis doubtful heading into Thursday's inter-Conference clash with the Raptors, the burden will fall on Bradley Beal to steer his team toward a win. Last time out, he played that role excellently, putting in 37 points with 7 helpers as well. As we have seen over large parts of his tenure with the Wizards, their success starts with Beal and how well he is playing on that given night. With only 5 wins in their last 11 games (5-6 ATS in that span), they have played inconsistent ball on both sides of the floor. If they want to impose their home-court advantage on the Raptors with 2 games against them in their home arena in the next 3 days, they will need to clean it up in a significant manner.
Betting trends to consider in this matchup:
- The Wizards have only covered in 11 out of 27 games that they have played at home
- Washington is 14-19-2 ATS in Conference games
- The over has hit in 7 out of 10 games that the Raptors have played as a road favorite
With Porzingis' health up in the air, I question whether the scoring is going to come when Beal is not on the floor. Toronto should hound him in every chance they get to cause turnovers and get easy buckets on the opposing end. With the Raptors getting healthy at the right time and adding Poeltl and Will Barton to the mix, they have as well-rounded of a roster as they have had all season coming into this one. Give me Toronto to win a tough battle on the road and reach the .500 mark on the year.
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