Raptors odds favourites in key Wednesday clash with the Wizards

Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, right, shoots over Washington Wizards centre Marcin Gortat. (Alex Brandon/AP)

Third place in the Eastern Conference standings will be on the line on Wednesday when the Toronto Raptors open a home-and-home series with the Washington Wizards as 4-point home betting favourites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Toronto has been shaken by the news that all-star point guard Kyle Lowry will likely miss the remainder of the regular season after undergoing wrist surgery this week. However, the loss of Lowry has not slowed down the club, which is undefeated straight up in its past four outings ahead of Wednesday night’s Wizards vs. Raptors betting matchup at Air Canada Centre.

The Raptors showed character by overcoming a 17-point halftime deficit in Monday’s 92-91 win over the New York Knicks as 3.5-point road chalk, pulling them to within two games of the second-place Boston Celtics in the Eastern standings.

It has been a tough start to 2017 for Toronto, which entered the New Year with a firm hold on second place in the East, but briefly tumbled to fifth place during a 4-11 SU run that started in mid-January and marks the club’s worst slump since a dismal 5-13 SU run in February and March of 2015.

The Raptors have regained ground in the standings during their current four-game surge, but have failed to gain any traction on the NBA Championship odds, improving slightly to +3300 after dipping to +4000.

However, the Raptors have enjoyed success against Washington since being swept by the Wizards in the first round of the 2015 NBA playoffs, posting five straight SU wins and covering in their past three meetings.

Toronto has also taken two straight from Washington at the Air Canada Centre, according to the OddsShark NBA Database, including a 106-89 rout as 8-point favourites in January 2016.

But the Wizards travel north of the border on a high after hanging on for a 112-108 win over the Golden State Warriors as 7-point home underdogs on Tuesday, halting a two-game SU and ATS slide and pulling them alongside the Raptors in the Eastern standings.

The Wizards have been red-hot since early January with 20 SU wins in 25 contests, but they are just 3-5 ATS in their past eight overall and have failed to score more than 93 points in five of their past six visits to Toronto.

The scene then shifts to the Verizon Center for the second half of this home-and-home series on Friday night. The Raptors are unbeaten SU in their past three visits to Washington, and 5-3 ATS in their past eight, including a 113-103 win in a November 2 contest pegged as a pick‘em at the sportsbooks.