Recovering Raptors underdogs hosting Jazz on Friday

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The Toronto Raptors will be looking to snap a six-game losing streak that has dumped them out of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference when they host the Utah Jazz on Friday night as 5.5-point underdogs on the NBA odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Ravaged by a COVID-19 outbreak, Toronto has been forced to play severely shorthanded during the current swoon that has dropped the team into 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings going into Friday night’s matchup at Amalie Arena.

Several key Raptors players have missed significant time while adhering to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, including Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and Pascal Siakam, and concerns linger over how the illness will impact affected players.

That is particularly true for VanVleet, who confirmed earlier this week that he had contracted the virus, and described his battle with COVID-19 as rough. VanVleet has played a pivotal role while leading the team with 19.9 points and 1.7 steals per game. The 27-year-old was averaging 21 points and 6.5 assists in eight outings before falling ill, but mustered just 12 points in his return as the Raptors fell 116-112 in Detroit on Wednesday night.

VanVleet is not the only Toronto player struggling to generate offence. The Raptors have averaged fewer than 104 points per game in their past three outings, covering the spread on just three occasions during a 1-8 straight-up run, according to the OddsShark NBA Database.

The Raptors have also surrendered big totals in recent matchups at Amalie Arena, allowing over 120 points per game over their past three contests. That trend has produced three straight wins for the OVER at betting sites. Overall, the team has compiled a dismal 4-7 SU and ATS record in its past 11 home dates. Not surprisingly, the Raptors’ slide has dumped them to a distant +8000 wager to repeat as Atlantic Division champions.

The Jazz, who sit atop the Western Conference standings, enter Friday’s action looking to reverse a poor recent track record against Toronto. Utah has lost outright in 12 of its last 14 dates with the Raptors, earning just one ATS win during that stretch. The two teams last met back in March 2020, with Toronto winning 101-92 as a 6-point road underdog in the contest. That was just the second UNDER result in the last six games between the two teams.

Despite its conference-leading record, Utah sits third behind the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers at +375 on the odds to win the Western Conference this season.