Tuesday’s Tip Sheet

ATS Rankings | Totals Report | Injuries

Game of the Night: Raptors at Magic – 7:05 PM EST

A pair of Eastern Conference division leaders meet up in Orlando tonight as one of these teams is not like the other. The expectations were high on the Raptors (13-4 SU, 9-8 ATS) coming into this season and Toronto is living up to them so far, but the Magic (9-8 SU, 9-8 ATS) were not predicted to be a factor in the mediocre Southeast division.

For the second consecutive season, Orlando has jumped out to a respectable start, and in Steve Clifford’s first season as head coach. The Magic have caught fire of late in spite of losing six of their first eight games as Orlando has rebounded with seven wins in their last nine trips to the court. There are several impressive victories by Orlando in this stretch, including wins over the Spurs, 76ers, and Lakers. In Sunday’s 131-117 rout of New York, Aaron Gordon paced the Magic with 31 points as Orlando started strong with a 44-point first quarter.

Toronto continues a four-game road trip after losing at Boston in overtime, followed by a 39-point blowout of the Bulls in Chicago on Saturday. The Raptors improved to 6-2 on the highway following the 122-83 rout at the United Center, as leading scorer Kawhi Leonard sat out and Kyle Lowry scored only eight points. The victory over the Bulls ended a three-game losing streak, while Toronto covered as a nine-point favorite or higher for the first time in six tries this season.

The Magic embark on a six-game road trip following tonight’s contest with the first three opponents being the Nuggets, Lakers, and Warriors. Toronto swept Orlando last season in the three-game set, including a pair of victories at Amway Center. The Magic seek their first win against the Raptors since February 2017 in a 102-94 triumph as five-point underdogs.

Clipping Away

One of the most underappreciated stories in the NBA through the first month is the play of the Clippers. Los Angeles (11-5 SU, 10-6 ATS) is tied for first place atop the Pacific Division with Golden State in spite of no real star power. The Clippers enter tonight’s action on a five-game winning streak, including a pair of comeback victories on the road at Brooklyn and Atlanta as favorites. In Monday’s 127-119 triumph over the Hawks, the Clippers outscored Atlanta, 38-23 in the fourth quarter as Montrezl Harrell provided a spark off the bench with 25 points.

The Clippers seek the season sweep of the Wizards as L.A. travels to Washington. In the first matchup at Staples Center on October 28, the Clippers ripped the Wizards, 136-104, highlighted by a 41-point second quarter. Nine Clippers scored in double-figures that night, as L.A. beat Washington at Staples Center for the 11th straight season.

Washington (5-11 SU, 5-11 ATS) seemed to have produced some momentum following a three-game winning streak, but have gone backwards again after losing at home to Brooklyn and Portland. Sunday’s 119-109 setback to the Blazers wasn’t pretty as the Wizards trailed by 21 points heading into the fourth quarter, while falling to 2-5 at home. To make matters worse, Washington slipped to 1-7 against the Western Conference with the lone victory coming in overtime at Portland last month.

Continuing on the Trail

Portland (11-5 SU, 11-5 ATS) dropped the first two games of its six-game swing at Los Angeles and Minnesota, but bounced back in a 119-109 victory at Washington on Sunday. Damian Lillard paced Portland with 40 points, the third time this season the All-Star guard has scored at least 40 in a road game. The pointspread has not mattered in Portland’s games this season, as the Blazers own an 8-2 SU/ATS mark in the role of a favorite.

The Blazers hit Madison Square Garden tonight to face a Knicks’ (4-13 SU, 7-9-1 ATS) squad that returns home following an 0-3 road trip. New York allowed 128, 129, and 131 points in all three contests, easily cashing the OVER in each defeat. The Knicks hit the highway again tomorrow to Boston, as New York last won at the Garden on October 29 against Brooklyn. The Blazers swept the Knicks last season, with both victories coming by double-digits, while each contest went UNDER the total.

And Finally…

Both the Heat and Nets own losing records as they hook up for the second time in less than a week. Miami (6-10 SU, 6-10 ATS) has lost five of its past six contests, but the only win in this stretch came last Wednesday at Barclays Center, 120-107 as two-point favorites. The Heat jumped out to a 16-point lead after one quarter and never looked back as Goran Dragic scored 21 points for Miami. However, the Heat will be without Dragic for the next several games with a sore knee.

The Nets (7-10 SU, 8-9 ATS) own a 1-4 record in the past five games with the lone victory at Washington last Friday. The Clippers trailed by 13 points at Brooklyn heading to the fourth quarter on Saturday, but the Nets fell apart in the final 12 minutes by getting outscored, 37-22. The Nets have put together a respectable 6-4 ATS mark on the road, while three of four away wins have come against teams sitting at .500 or below.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at rogers@vegasinsider.com

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.