Toronto -5 at Detroit O/U 212.5Recommendation: Toronto
The call the Pistons the biggest disappointment in the East since the Blake Griffin trade would not be an overstatement. And yes, that includes the ‘pointspread freefaller’ Cleveland Cavaliers; a team that just annihilated the Pistons by 20 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score might indicate – a complete blowout after halftime.
The results do not lie. Detroit is now 2-9 SU in their last 11 ballgames, including three SU and ATS losses – all by double digit margins -- right here at Little Caesars Arena. They’ve dropped 4.5 games out of the playoff picture in the East. They’re also in the midst of a brutal scheduling run, playing their eighth game in 14 days with a pair of back-2-backs in the mix. This is a tired team, lacking in confidence and lacking much of a home court edge these days. Until starting point guard Reggie Jackson returns or head coach Stan Van Gundy gets fired, there’s absolutely no reason to expect any switch to get flipped on in Detroit.
At least Van Gundy is being honest about what’s going on: "I think the biggest thing is right now, we're not giving ourselves much of a chance to play well because we're playing so frustrated right now. Frustrated with the referees, frustrated even more by the ball not going into the basket. We're a very frustrated group right now, it's very hard to play like that…. We can never find more than one or two guys that are making shots. I mean you look at (Monday), not to single them out, but our bench is just struggling. I mean, really struggling. The ball didn't go in at all."
Bench struggles are a nightmare for any team playing the very deep Raptors these days, as Toronto’s second unit continues to dominate on a nightly basis. Toronto’s HUGE bench edge was on full display last week at the Air Canada Centre; a 123-94 blowout in which the Raptors bench was +22 vs. the Pistons bench. The Raptors depth is elite, plain and simple – that’s how they have a winning mark(both SU and ATS) on the second night of back-2-backs this year.
I want the veteran Raptors on the road: 5-1 SU and ATS in their last six tries, cashing at nearly a 60% clip on the highway for the full season. And I want them against a Pistons team they have owned: 8-2 ATS on their last ten trips to Detroit; 4-0 SU & 3-1 ATS in their last four tries against Stan Van Gundy. Chalk worth laying!