Raptors underdogs in Friday clash with road warrior Suns

The Toronto Raptors will be looking to win two games in a row for the first time in almost five weeks when they take on the Phoenix Suns on Friday night as 4.5-point home underdogs on the NBA odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Toronto is coming off a much-needed 135-111 victory over the visiting Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night which marked the team’s first straight-up (SU) victory in 10 outings going into Friday night’s matchup at Amalie Arena.

The Raptors have struggled to overcome a COVID-19 outbreak that decimated the lineup and forced the cancellation of two games as the calendar turned to March. Overall, the team has earned SU wins in just two of its past 13 outings, covering the spread on just five occasions during that stretch according to the OddsShark NBA Database.

And that Raptors’ nine-game SU slide also put their playoff chances in very real doubt. The team now finds itself mired in 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings, and 1.5 games back of Chicago in the race for 10th place and a spot in the play-in tournament that will determine the final two berths in the East.

The team kept busy ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline, however, parting ways with Norman Powell, Matt Thomas, and Terence Davis. Kyle Lowry remains a member of the Raptors.

The Suns will play for the third time in four nights after suffering a 112-111 loss in Orlando as 9.5-point chalk on Wednesday. However, a hectic schedule has failed to derail Phoenix from its recent torrid pace. Since overcoming a shaky start and their own battle with COVID-19, the Suns have been dominant. Phoenix has avoided consecutive defeats during a 21-6 SU run that has lifted the team into second place in the Western Conference standings.

Phoenix has been steady in the final date when playing three games in four nights, going 4-1 SU in its past five such outings. The Suns have also earned a reputation as road warriors while compiling an NBA-leading 14-6 SU away record. However, with Wednesday’s defeat, the Suns have now lost SU in three of their past seven outings, all as betting favourites.

And while they came away with a 123-115 win over Toronto as 3-point home chalk at sports betting sites earlier this season, the Suns are winless SU in their past three road dates with the Raptors, including a pair of defeats by double-digit margins.

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