Oddsmakers are calling the December 5th NBA betting free pick a close one, setting the Raptors as -1.5 favorites over the visiting Rockets. There’s definitely value on Toronto, who have won 9 of their first 10 at Scotiabank Arena this season. Houston is sure to draw some public love as well though as they have one of the best offenses in the league.
Houston in a Mini-Slump?
The December 5th NBA betting free pick is your classic matchup of offense vs. defense. The Rockets average 120.9 points per game, which is the 2nd highest total in the league. Toronto on the other hand is #4 in defensive efficiency.
The Rockets are just 3-3 over their last 6 despite scoring at least 117 points in 5 of those tilts. James Harden has been absolutely going off as of late, scoring 60 points (in 3 quarters) Saturday vs. the Hawks and following that up with 50 on Tuesday vs. the Spurs. The Rockets actually lost 135-133 in OT in that game against San Antonio though. It’s a microcosm of Houston’s struggling defense that also allowed 137 points two games prior vs. Dallas. Toronto has found some big offensive nights lately and is starting to get healthier in their back court.
So why isn’t Houston dominating (besides their defense) with all the offense that Harden is putting up lately? Russell Westbrook shot an unbelievable 7-30 from the field vs. San Antonio which doesn’t help things. Although they didn’t win, the Rockets still got a boost from the return of Clint Capela on Tuesday. He missed two games with an illness, but had 22 and 21 vs. the Spurs – the 7th straight game with at least 19 boards.
Raptors the Public Pick?
About 70% of the public bettors like the Raptors on Thursday night. Houston has been playing some very unstable defense as of late and Toronto has gone 9-1 at home on the year (Rockets 5-5 on the road).The Rockets did win both games in this series last year though, including 121-119 in Toronto.
Houston should have Ben McLemore (eye) and Danuel House, Jr. (illness) in the lineup for this one, but Toronto has also welcomed back Kyle Lowry in their last game. Lowry missed 11 games with a thumb injury and showed rust in Toronto’s 11 point loss to the Heat going 2-18 from the field. Miami does have a much better defense than Houston however and Lowry should be better after getting a game under his belt.
Toronto did put together 7 straight victories prior to their loss to Miami however. They had four games with 119+ scoring over that span and even got into the 130s twice. The total for Thursday is up there at 230. The Raptors defense will likely take a hit tonight, but they are giving up just 105 points per game on the season.
December 5th NBA Betting Free Pick
The big question for Thursday night’s game is if Toronto’s defense can clamp down -because we know Houston’s cannot. When the Rockets are hitting, they can put up 130+ any given night no matter who the opponent – but that’s hard to do up North.
Pick: Toronto Raptors -1.5