The Toronto Raptors’ lengthy seven-game road is nearing the end with their second-to-last stop coming in Houston on Friday night.
The Raptors are sizeable favorites and need a win, but they’ll have even more motivation heading into this one. All-NBA forward Pascal Siakam was completely snubbed from last night’s All-Star game selection, so the Rockets might be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
What’s the best way for basketball bettors to take advantage of tonight's matchup? I break it all down and bring you my best bet in our free NBA picks and predictions Raptors vs. Rockets on February 3.
Raptors vs Rockets best odds
Raptors vs Rockets picks and predictions
In a season where not a lot has gone right for the Toronto Raptors, the play of Pascal Siakam has been a consistent bright spot, and it felt like he was a shoo-in for the NBA All-Star Game.
Well, “sucks to be you”, the NBA said, as Siakam didn’t get selected to participate in the showcase of the game’s top talent.
I expect to see a motivated version of Siakam on Friday against the Houston Rockets, and I already broke down why I like the Over on his made 3-pointers in my best NBA player props article. However, he’s not the only Raptor I’m betting has a big night.
Fred VanVleet is another guy who knows all about being overlooked. After a tough start to the season, Steady Freddy is starting to heat up and now gets a dream matchup against the Rockets.
The Raptors' point guard is now averaging 26.6 points and shooting 41% from 3-point range over his last nine games. He faces a Rockets team with arguably some of the worst perimeter defense in the NBA. No team in the league allows more 3-point attempts and makes per game than Houston, while also ranking 22nd in opponent 3-point shooting percentage.
VanVleet has hit four or more triples six times over this nine-game stretch, plus Houston had no answer for him. When these teams last met on November 9, VanVleet went 7-for-16 from downtown.
Take FVV to heat up from beyond the arc tonight.
My best bet: Fred VanVleet Over 3.5 made 3-pointers (+110 at PointsBet)
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Raptors vs Rockets spread analysis
The Raptors opened this matchup as 6-point road favorites, and it feels like people have since bought into the “Pascal Siakam got snubbed and is going to kick ass” narrative. The line jumped all the way up to Toronto -8, and as of Friday afternoon, has settled at Toronto -7.5.
I really want to buy into that narrative, and I'm fairly certain Siakam is going to have a big game. Unfortunately, the Raptors as a whole have been so inconsistent this season, and 7.5 points is a lot of chalk to cover on the road.
The Raptors' offense is looking better with both Siakam and VanVleet playing good basketball and they should each have some success shooting the ball against the Rockets. Toronto also still struggles in the halfcourt and ranks 28th in the NBA in effective field goal percentage.
Then there is the fact the Rockets are winning games right now. Houston comes into this game with back-to-back victories and wins in three of their last five overall. The Rockets have picked up their effort on the defensive end in that span, ranking 10th in efficiency rating.
Houston also has an edge on the glass. The Rockets somewhat surprisingly rank first in the NBA in rebounding rate, while the Raps sit in 18th in that category since the start of January.
All the while, Houston’s offense is still putrid, sitting next-to-last in offensive rating. The Rockets are also still without the services of both Jaylen Green and Kevin Porter Jr.
The Raptors are 0-7 against the spread this season as a road favorite this season, while the Rockets are 3-11 ATS in their last 14 overall. Suffice to say, I’m staying away from the spread in this one.
Raptors vs Rockets Over/Under analysis
The total for this matchup hit the board at 227 and the early money has hammered the Under, dropping the number to 223.5. This makes sense considering the Raptors' offense is inconsistent at best and a bad Rockets’ offense is missing two of its best players.
But that said, I think this number is now low enough to consider looking at the Over.
Thanks to Fred VanVleet heating up, the Raps have been scoring more reliably of late. They are putting up 118.7 points per contest over the last 10 games.
And while the Rockets' defense is playing better lately, they’ve mostly played bad teams and the Raps should be able to take advantage of their poor perimeter defense.
Meanwhile, Houston’s offense hasn’t looked completely lost, putting up at least 112 points in three of its last five games. The Rockets should be able to do just enough against a Raptors defense that has taken a step back this season, ranking 28th in opponent field goal percentage. They are also allowing 115 points per game during this west coast road trip.
This total is a touch too low.
Raptors vs Rockets betting trend to know
The Over is 7-1 in Toronto's last eight against a team with a losing record and is 9-2 in its last 11 road games. Find more NBA betting trends for Raptors vs. Rockets.
Raptors vs Rockets game info
|Location:||Toyota Center, Houston, TX|
|Date:||Friday, February 3, 2023|
|Tip-off:||8:00 p.m. ET|
|TV:||Sportsnet, AT&T SportsNet Southwest|