Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors play host to LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, and tipoff from Scotiabank Arena is set for 8 p.m. ET. Standing seven games out of the playoffs, Los Angeles appears to have given up on this season. The Lakers have shut down Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball for the season, while veterans like James and Reggie Bullock are having their minutes monitored. The Raptors, meanwhile, are three games behind the Bucks for the top seed in the East. They’re hoping for an easy win in this spot after they blew what should have been an easy win in Cleveland. Toronto is listed as a 10-point home favorite for this game, while the over-under for total points is 231 in the latest Lakers vs Raptors odds. Before you make any Lakers vs. Raptors picks or NBA predictions, you’ll want to see what SportsLine’s advanced computer model has to say.
This model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, is crushing its NBA picks. It entered Week 21 of the 2018-19 NBA season with a sterling 240-187 record on all top-rated picks, returning more than $4,000 to anybody following them. And it has been particularly red-hot on its A-rated NBA picks against the spread, entering Week 22 on a strong 54-42 run. Anybody who has followed it is way up.
Now it has locked in on Lakers vs. Raptors. We can tell you it’s leaning under, and it also says one side of the spread hits in 60 percent of simulations. You can only see that selection at SportsLine.
The model is well aware of what a mismatch this is on paper. The Raptors rank ahead of the Lakers in every meaningful metric and are one of just three teams to rank inside the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. They boast one of the NBA’s best home records (27-7) and have won six of their eight home games since the start of February. They’ve already beaten this Lakers team by double digits once this season, and that was when L.A. had Ball and Ingram healthy.
In addition to boasting one of the league’s best team defenses, Toronto also has one of the few individual defenders with the length and athleticism to match up with James in Leonard. Leonard has been in excellent form lately, coming into this one averaging 30 points on 59 percent shooting in the month of March. He didn’t even suit up for Toronto’s 14-point win in L.A. earlier in the year, and his presence should be plenty to help Toronto secure a victory tonight.
Just because Toronto is the better team on paper, doesn’t mean it will cover the Lakers vs. Raptors spread Thursday, however.
The model is also well aware that Toronto has been one of the NBA’s absolute worst teams against the spread. Their 41.8 percent cover rate against the spread is the NBA’s third-worst mark, and that drops to just 37 percent when playing as a favorite.
The Raptors have covered just three of their past 12 games entering Thursday’s action, making it clear that Vegas has been overvaluing them. While Toronto is coming off of an embarrassing loss at the hands of the Cavaliers, the Lakers are coming off of a 16-point road victory over the Chicago Bulls. Can they carry that momentum into this matchup with the Raptors?
So who wins Raptors vs. Lakers? And which side of the spread can you bank on in 60 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Raptors vs. Lakers spread you need to jump on, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks, and find out.