The Toronto Raptors aren’t feeling too happy lately. They’ve played well the last two games but a few mistakes and questionable calls have resulted in two losses and Fred VanVleet being a little lighter in the wallet.
Toronto will have to put those games behind them as they play in Los Angeles for the second time in as many games. Despite no LeBron James available for the Lakers, they've still managed to win six of their last eight.
Can the Raptors get back in the win column, or will their frustrating West Coast road trip continue? I break down this matchup and bring you my best bet in our NBA picks and predictions for Raptors vs. Lakers on March 10.
Raptors vs Lakers best odds
Raptors vs Lakers picks and predictions
The Toronto Raptors are coming off back-to-back losses, but it felt like they deserved a better fate. They dropped a 118-113 decision to the Nuggets which featured the latest Scott Foster performance piece, and followed that up with a 108-100 loss to the Clippers on Wednesday night.
That game against the Clippers was interesting to me for a few reasons, including Jakob Poeltl’s point total. Heading into that matchup, Poeltl had put up 13 or more points in five consecutive games and in seven of his last eight.
Oddsmakers were finally realizing that Poeltl is more than a defender and set his point total at 14.5 for Toronto's last game. However, after just one performance of going 4-for-8 from the field, the number is back down to 12.5 for tonight’s matchup against the Lakers.
You know what that means...we're jumping back on the Jake Puddle Over points train!
Poeltl has been a perfect fit for this Raptors' offense. He’s been great in the pick-and-roll with Fred VanVleet or Pascal Siakam and has been a fantastic presence down low. In 10 games as a starter with the Raps, the big man is averaging 15.6 points per game on 72.3% shooting.
Tonight, he goes against a Los Angeles Lakers team that has been getting beat up down low. That’s in part because Anthony Davis has to focus his efforts on the offensive end with no LeBron James on the floor.
Additionally, the Lakers have little depth behind Davis. As a result, L.A. ranks 23rd in the NBA when it comes to opponent scoring in the paint this season.
Poeltl has put up 13 or more points in seven of his last nine games, and I love him to get back on track and make it eight of 10 tonight in the City of Angels.
My best bet: Jakob Poeltl Over 12.5 points (-115 at PointsBet)
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Raptors vs Lakers spread analysis
This is a really interesting matchup considering there isn’t a lot separating these teams at the moment. The Raptors and Lakers have similar mediocre records, but both sides are playing better basketball since the trade deadline.
The Raps are 6-4 with Poeltl as a starter and the Lakers are 6-2 against the spread in their last eight overall. Over the last 10 games, both teams boast a Top 10 defensive rating while also ranking in the bottom third of offensive rating.
Oddsmakers opened with Los Angeles as a one-point favorite, but the line has since jumped the fence and now it’s Toronto laying two points on the road.
In what should be a close matchup, I would lean toward the Raps. The Lakers rank 24th in turnovers per game without LeBron running their offense over the last five games, which falls right into the favor of a Toronto team that currently leads the league in steals.
Raptors vs Lakers Over/Under analysis
The total hit the board at 224.5 and that is where it remains as of Friday afternoon. However, I would consider looking at the Under before the line moves.
As noted, both teams play great defense. The Raptors are ninth and the Lakers rank first in defensive rating over the last 10 games. Both teams are also giving up more than 110 points per game over that stretch.
Offensively, the Raptors still struggle in the half-court, and the Lakers continue to be a subpar shooting team. The Lakers rank 19th in effective field goal percentage while the Raptors come in at 29th.
The Lakers play at a high pace, but the Raptors usually do a great job controlling game tempo. They’ll slow this game down and make the Lakers play at their pace.
The Under looks like a solid play here.
Raptors vs Lakers betting trend to know
The Under is 5-3 in the Raptors' last eight games overall and 6-0 in the Lakers' last six games at home. Find more NBA betting trends for Raptors vs. Lakers.
Raptors vs Lakers game info
|Location:||Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA|
|Date:||Friday, March 10, 2023|
|Tip-off:||10:30 p.m. ET|
|TV:||TSN, Spectrum SportsNet|