The Toronto Raptors and Atlanta Hawks square off on Saturday night with both teams looking for their first win after the All-Star break. Both teams sit in third place in their respective Eastern Conference divisions, and both want to get some momentum started with a victory. Let’s take a closer look at how to bet online on this contest.
Raptors Need Better Play from All-Star
The Toronto Raptors had a first-time All-Star in guard Fred VanVleet, but he looked anything but a star in Friday’s loss to the Charlotte Hornets. VanVleet finished with just eight points and four assists while turning the ball over two times in his first game since playing in the All-Star Game. Of course, none of the Raptors looked particularly good in a 125-93 loss against the Hornets.
“The only thing we can say is to hopefully get a little conditioning and get a little rust off from the break, and we can bounce back tomorrow and get our guys going here,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said after Friday’s loss. “I know we will play better (against Atlanta).”
VanVleet has been the lead man for Nurse this season, averaging 21.3 points, 6.9 assists and 1.6 steals. He’ll likely do much better in this one, especially with another All-Star in the opposing backcourt.
Forward Pascal Siakam will also be a key to a Toronto victory, as he leads the team with 21.6 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Siakam is also dishing out 5.1 assists per contest.
Rookie Scottie Barnes had a big game on Friday, finishing with 28 points after scoring in single-digits in three of the last four games before the All-Star break. Barnes can be an important factor for the Raptors if they’re going to reach their full potential in this game and beyond.
Hawks Come Up Short
The Atlanta Hawks played the Chicago Bulls tough on Thursday night but couldn’t shut down DeMar DeRozan late, falling by four on the road. The Hawks want to be contenders for the Eastern Conference crown again this season, but they have yet to find some consistency in the regular season.
Guard Trae Young has been doing his best, ranking fifth in the NBA in scoring at 27.6 points per game and fourth in the league with 9.3 assists per contest. But he can’t do it alone, and the Hawks are a little short-handed currently.
Forward John Collins, the team’s second-leading scorer and rebounder at 16.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, is still out with a foot injury that has sidelined him since Feb. 11. Atlanta doesn’t have a versatile player like Collins to make up for that production, so it will have some trouble keeping up with the Raptors in this one.
One thing that could sway things in Atlanta’s favor is the play of center Clint Capela on the defensive end. Capela is averaging just 1.4 blocks per game – down from his usual production – but he’s third in the league with 12.2 rebounds per contest. If he can control the boards and limit the Raptors to just one shot on most trips, Atlanta can get out on the break and get some easy scores.
Toronto Raptors at Atlanta Hawks Head-to-Head
The Toronto Raptors won the first two matchups between these teams, winning on the road by six in the first meeting. The Raptors are 16-13 on the road, but the Atlanta Hawks haven’t exactly been dominant on its home floor, entering this one at 17-13.
Siakam had 33 points and VanVleet 26 in a home victory over the Hawks earlier this month. Look for this to be a high-scoring affair again, with the over definitely in play when you’re doing your online sports betting.
Toronto Raptors at Atlanta Hawks Game Information
Game: Toronto Raptors (32-26) at Atlanta Hawks (28-31)
Location: State Farm Arena
Day/Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Toronto Raptors at Atlanta Hawks Betting Lines
Toronto Raptors at Atlanta Hawks Prediction
The Atlanta Hawks are a slight favorite, though it’s a little uncertain why. The Toronto Raptors have won the first two meetings and Atlanta is without its second-best player.
Toronto has shown it can play well against the Hawks, and we like it to do it again in this one. Look for VanVleet to have a big performance as he tries to make up for Friday night’s rough outing, and SIakam should be able to feast in the post without Collins in the lineup.
When making your NBA picks, take the Raptors to not just cover but win on the road.