James Harden and the Houston Rockets will travel to Canada to face off against the Toronto Raptors on Thursday evening. Eric Gordon (knee) remains out for Houston but, aside from a few scattered injuries to supporting pieces, both teams are at near full strength for what should be an interesting showdown between playoff-caliber teams. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. ET at Air Canada Centre. Sportsbooks list the Raptors as two-point home favorites, holding steady from the opener, while the over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 231 in the latest Rockets vs. Raptors odds. Before you make any Rockets vs. Raptors picks or NBA predictions, see what SportsLine's advanced computer model has to say.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and last season it returned a whopping $4,280 on its top-rated NBA spread and money line picks. It's already returned over $1,400 in profit on all its top-rated NBA picks during the 2019-20 season and enters Week 7 on a blistering 15-3 run on all top-rated NBA against the spread picks. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns and consistently beaten NBA odds.
Now, the model has set its sights on Rockets vs. Raptors. We can tell you that the model is leaning under, and has generated a strong against the spread pick that is hitting in almost 70 percent of simulations. You can head to SportsLine to see it. Now, here are several NBA betting lines and trends for Rockets vs. Raptors.
- Rockets vs. Raptors spread: Raptors -2
- Rockets vs. Raptors over-under: 231 points
- Rockets vs. Raptors money line: Raptors -129, Rockets +109
- Rockets: Harden has scored 27 points or more in 19 straight games
- Raptors: Toronto has won 7 of 8 games
The model has considered that the Rockets are a formidable opponent under any circumstances, and the biggest piece of that is the play of Harden. The former MVP is averaging 39.5 points to lead the NBA, and Harden adds 7.8 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game to fill out his overall arsenal.
Houston is coming off a disappointing loss to San Antonio earlier in the week and, as such, the visitors should be properly motivated in this spot. While the Rockets do not have an elite defense, there is one area in which Houston has a clear advantage, with the visitors posting a top-10 defensive turnover rate. The Raptors turn the ball over at a slightly below-average rate for the season and Houston's transition game could be powered by an uptick in giveaways from Toronto.
Just because Houston has a few edges, doesn't mean it will cover the Rockets vs. Raptors spread on Thursday.
The model is also aware that Toronto has been devastatingly effective on the defensive end this season. Houston enters with an elite-level offense but the Raptors rank near the top of the NBA in almost every defensive category. Though Toronto is not good on the defensive glass, that isn't a strength of Houston's offensive game, and the Raptors have multiple options to deploy in attempting to stop Harden and Russell Westbrook.
On the other side of the court, the Raptors have been better than expected this season, with Pascal Siakam emerging as a legitimate superstar in averaging 25.1 points per game. Toronto weathered the storm in the absence of Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka and, with that duo back in action, the Raptors have additional firepower. Toronto's top-10 overall offense will be in an advantageous situation against a below-average defense from Houston. That is especially true when it comes to shooting, with the Rockets lagging below the league average in defensive effective field goal percentage and the Raptors making their shots consistently.
So who wins Raptors vs. Rockets? And which side of the spread hits in almost 70 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Raptors vs. Rockets spread you need to jump on Thursday, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks, and find out.