The Eastern Conference play-in race takes center stage tonight as the Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards collide with seeding on the line.
The Raptors are looking to move up from the No. 9 seed. They bounced back from a lackluster loss to the Indiana Pacers in midweek with a comfortable 118-97 win over the lowly Detroit Pistons on Friday.
Before an ill-timed slump, the Wizards were very much in the play-in mix, but it’ll take a flawless finish to the season to get in now. Washington is 2.5 games back from the No. 10 spot, and a 136-124 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday may have been too little, too late.
Get ready for tonight’s matchup with our free NBA picks and predictions for Wizards vs Raptors on Sunday, March 26.
Wizards vs Raptors best odds
Wizards vs Raptors picks and predictions
Among the reasons for the Raptors to reflect on this season with major frustration is how they’ve wasted an outstanding year from Pascal Siakam. It’s a real head-scratcher as to how Toronto can be a sub-.500 team when Siakam is putting up the most well-rounded season of his career.
Siakam dragged the Raptors past the Pistons for a routine win on Friday night, pouring in 32 points to go with nine assists. He also led Toronto with 31 points on Wednesday against the Pacers. Siakam is in a groove offensively, and I’m counting on that to continue tonight.
The efficiency of his numbers in the Raptors’ wins this week jumps off the screen, with 23-for-36 shooting and 21 free-throw attempts. If the hosts survive the play-in gauntlet, it’ll be because Siakam stays hot over the next two weeks.
While he can expect more resistance from the Wizards than he got from the Pistons last time out, Washington is no defensive juggernaut. The visitors have allowed more than 120 points in three of their last four games, and with Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma (both questionable) on the injury report, they could be light on wing depth.
The Raptors’ depth has been challenged over the past two games with Scottie Barnes, Gary Trent Jr. and Precious Achiuwa all injured, though that health situation may improve for tonight’s game. Even so, I still see Siakam shouldering a heavy load and cashing in the Over on this points + assists prop.
My best bet: Siakam Over 29.5 Points + Assists (-110 at PointsBet)
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Wizards vs Raptors spread analysis
If the Raptors are going to claw their way into the No. 7 vs No. 8 play-in game, tonight feels like a must-win matchup to put pressure on the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks above them. Toronto has been a solid home team all year (24-14), and they’re a 9.5-point favorite here, though some of that stems from Beal and Kuzma being questionable.
The numbers certainly favor the hosts. The Raptors are 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall, 7-1 ATS in their last eight outings at Scotiabank Arena, and they’ve won four of the past five head-to-head meetings with Washington.
As you might expect for a Wizards team coming off a rough patch, they’ve failed to cover the spread in their last four road games, losing the last three outright. The schedule hasn’t helped their record over the past few weeks either — Washington has faced the Denver Nuggets, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Sacramento Kings over the past 10 days.
Corey Kispert and Delon Wright stepped up against the Spurs on Friday, combining for 50 points. The visitors will need bench scoring to keep tonight’s game close.
Wizards vs Raptors Over/Under analysis
With both teams sweating on the health of key players, the total points line has been bumped down to around 220. It’s not just the injury concerns either. Even at closer to full strength, the Raptors and Wizards barely cleared that number with the help of overtime in an early March matchup, as Toronto won 116-109.
The Under is 5-1 in Washington’s last six road games against teams with a winning home record, and the visitors’ offensive punch takes a big hit when Beal (averaging 23 points and five dimes) is out.
The Raptors’ offense has received a much-needed jolt since the trade for Jakob Poeltl. His passing, screen-setting and high IQ have made life easier for Fred VanVleet in the halfcourt, and Poeltl’s rebounding will be critical here against Kristaps Porzingis and the other Washington big men.
But Toronto’s 3-point numbers continue to make for ugly reading — including a 7-for-34 night from deep on Wednesday.
Wizards vs Raptors betting trend to know
Toronto is 4-0 ATS in its last four games after an SU win. Find more NBA betting trends for Wizards vs. Raptors.
Wizards vs Raptors game info
|Location:||Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON|
|Date:||Sunday, March 26, 2023|
|Tip-off:||6:00 p.m. ET|