Toronto Raptors vs. Utah Jazz Preview
The Toronto Raptors (27-11) would love to reclaim their top spot in the Eastern Conference, and the Utah Jazz (18-19) would love to get out from under the .500 mark and start a streak. Both teams need a win tonight, but only one will get their wish as they ring in the New Year in Toronto.
This will be Toronto and Utah’s second and final game of the regular season series. Toronto took the first game 124-111 led by big games from their point guards, as Fred VanVleet finished with 17 points, and Kyle Lowry added 17 points, 11 assists, and seven rebounds. Utah was led by Alec Burks’ 22 point night, and 14 and 12 from Rudy Gobert.
Utah has had to deal with a difficult schedule lately, especially playing quite a bit on the road, but things haven’t been easy for Toronto either. They looked like world beaters earlier in the season, but a few hairline foundational cracks have begun to show, and the team is really missing Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas.
Time: 7:30pm ET
Arena: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
Channel: NBA TV
Toronto Raptors Preview Starting Lineup
While Fred VanVleet has stepped in and done a great job with starter Kyle Lowry out, it’s become obvious that the Raptors are not the same team without Lowry – and having Jonas Valanciunas out also hasn’t helped matters.
Lowry had sacrificed his scoring a bit this season to become more of a high-volume distributor with the Raptors having several scorers this season as the result of the DeMar DeRozan trade and with Pascal Siakam taking some huge strides over the summer. Lowry’s absence has meant that the Raptors lose one of their most productive bench contributors in VanVleet, and the ball just doesn’t move around as well.
Toronto is 6-4 in their last 10 games, and with Milwaukee on a three-game win streak, they have lost the top spot in the Eastern Conference they held for a majority of the year.
Lowry is out again tonight against the Jazz and while Toronto looks like a heavy favorite on paper, they let the Chicago Bulls stick around all game on Sunday and just managed to escape with a win.
Utah Jazz Preview Starting Lineup
Utah has split their last 10 games, but they are coming off a big win over the lowly New York Knicks in a 129-97 drubbing. The best thing about the win over the Knicks was that all the weight wasn’t on Donovan Mitchell. Several Jazz players contributed. A total of six players scored in double figures, and with Ricky Rubio out, Dante Exum had a 13 point, 13 assist double-double.
While Lady Liberty may stand tall in New York, the Knicks had no answer for the “Stifle Tower” Rudy Gobert, who finished with 25 points and 16 rebounds.
The Jazz also got some much-needed contributions off the bench from Kyle Korver, who scored 15 points, and Thabo Sefolosha, who finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
It was an encouraging sign in a season that hasn’t been all too encouraging, and the Jazz will need that balanced effort again tonight against Toronto.
Toronto Raptors vs. Utah Jazz Betting Odds
The Raptors enter tonight’s game as the -3 favorite with the over/under at 210 points. There’s been minimal movement on the moneyline. Toronto opened at -160 and is live at -140 and the Jazz opened at +140 and are now +120.
The Jazz are 14-4 at home this season and have a win percentage of 74.7 percent. They are also 174-61 as the favorite. Utah is 73-83 on the road and 39-85 as the underdog.
DraftKings & FanDuel Fantasy Picks
Fantasy studs for the Raptors-Jazz matchup are Kawhi Leonard ($10k) and Rudy Gobert ($9.3k). Leonard led the Raptors in scoring once again in the game against Chicago, and he’ll likely be lined up against Joe Ingles. He is projected for a 52.2 point night on FanDuel. Gobert is looking to follow his big performance over the Knicks as he heads North tonight. He’s slated for a 36.79 point performance.
Pascal Siakam ($6.6k) remains a value for fantasy owners. Coming off of a bounce-back game, Siakam is projected for 32.35 points on FanDuel. The power forward he’ll be dueling with is the value on the Jazz roster. Derrick Favors ($6k) is expected to finish with 26.51 points against the Raptors.
Find all of our Fanduel and Draftkings projections here: https://www.lineups.com/nba/nba-fantasy-basketball-projections.