The Toronto Raptors will get back on their 2020-21 version of their home court on Friday, Feb. 26 when they take on the Houston Rockets. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. ET from Amalie Arena in downtown Tampa, Florida where the Raptors’ home games will be for the rest of the season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Toronto will enter Friday night’s game with a 16-17 record, which is third place in the Atlantic Division, fifth in the Eastern Conference and 14th across the entire NBA. The Raptors started the season off very slowly but appeared to regroup in a recent four-game winning streak, three of which came on the road. Unfortunately for Toronto, that streak has turned the other way as the Raptors lost each of their last two games.
In its last time out, Toronto lost a road matchup with the Miami Heat 116-108 on Wednesday night. The good news for the Raptors is that point guard Kyle Lowry returned the lineup for the first time since Feb. 16 with a thumb injury. He came back with a strong performance, going for 24 points on 9 of 13 shooting including 4 of 7 from the three-point line. He added eight assists and seven rebounds in the return. Fred VanVleet also scored 24 points, knocking down five 3-pointers on 11 attempts with seven assists. The Heat went on runs of 17-2 and 17-6, which was too much to overcome for the Raptors.
Houston will come into Friday with an 11-19 record in a difficult season trying to replace James Harden in the lineup. The Rockets are in last place in the Southwest Division, second-to-last in the Western Conference and have the fourth worst record in the league. Houston had been over .500 earlier this month but lost nine consecutive games.
In the Raptors’ last game, they were beaten 112-96 on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night. Houston brought back one of its best players as well as Victor Oladipo played his first game since Feb. 11 with foot injury. He came in and scored 17 points with six rebounds and five assists, though just 1 of 8 from the three-point line. John Wall led Houston with 20 points on 7 of 18 shooting from the floor in the loss.
The Rockets and Raptors have yet to play each other this season, but they will match up again on March 22 in Houston, Texas.
Toronto does not have anybody on its injury report, while Houston’s Dante Exum (calf) and Christian Wood (ankle) will be out for the Rockets.
Single-game wagers are not legal at this point in Canada, but there has been movement in that direction recently. It appears to only be a matter of time before fans and bettors can place a single-game wagers on on the Raptors and other Canadians sports teams inside the country’s borders.
Below is a look at the betting odds heading into Friday night’s game along with some of the recent betting trends for the Raptors and Rockets. All odds are via a popular United States sportsbook.
Oddsmakers expect the Raptors to win this game fairly easily with Toronto favored by 8.5 points, which is the largest point spread of Friday’s NBA slate.
Betting Trends: Houston is 1-8 against the spread in its last nine games but 6-3 against the number the last nine times the Rockets faced Toronto. The Raptors are 4-2 aainst the spread in their last six games.
The over/under is set at 221 with a slight edge toward the over. The over is getting -113 odds with the under at -108.
Betting Trends: The total went under in four of Toronto’s last five games, and the over hit in six of the last nine times these two played each other.
The Raptors are expected to come out with the victory, giving the Rockets their 10th straight loss. Toronto is -375 on the moneyline, and Houston comes in at +295.
Betting Trends: Houston is 0-9 on the moneyline in its last nine games, while Toronto is 4-2 straight up in its last six. The Rockets are 6-3 straight up in their last nine games against the Raptors.
After Friday night’s game, the Raptors will play the second of a three-game homestand when they host the Chicago Bulls on Sunday night.