Raptors return home as Thursday favourites hosting Hornets

Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball, left, drives to the basket past Toronto Raptors forward Stanley Johnson. (Chris Carlson/AP)

The Toronto Raptors will be looking to rebound from a disappointing four-game western road trip when they return to their home in Tampa Bay to battle the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday night as 8-point favourites on the NBA odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Toronto went just 1-3 straight up on its recent western junket to fall to an ugly 2-8 straight up on the season going into Thursday night's matchup with Charlotte at Amalie Arena.

The Raptors blew a golden opportunity to close out their road trip with a win on Monday in Portland. Toronto took a five-point lead into the dressing room at halftime but the Blazers outpaced them by double digits in the fourth quarter to eke out a 112-111 win. A lack of a full 48-minute effort also haunted the team a day earlier against Golden State -- Toronto has a 10-point lead over the Warriors at half, and saw a fourth-quarter rally fall short in a 106-105 loss.

Bettors, however, can find a ray of hope in the Raptors' 2-1 against the spread mark over their past three games, which has been a vast improvement after the team covered just once during a 1-6 SU start to the regular season. Now down at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the Raptors trail as a +5000 wager on the NBA championship odds.

The Hornets travel to Tampa Bay for Thursday's matchup after hosting the Dallas Mavericks as 3-point home underdogs at online betting sites on Wednesday night. Charlotte had extended a SU win streak to four games with a lopsided 109-88 home win over the New York Knicks on Monday night as 5-point betting favourites, posting ATS wins in each of those contests including strong victories in Atlanta and New Orleans as lengthy road underdogs.

The Charlotte defence has played a key role in the team's recent strong play, as the Hornets allowed an average of under 100 points per game during that four-game stretch. That has paid dividends for bettors taking the UNDER on the totals, which went 8-3 over their first 11 games. But while their strong play has lifted them in the Eastern Conference standings, the Hornets remain well off the pace as a distant +25000 wager on the NBA title futures.

However, the Hornets have consistently overachieved in recent dates with Toronto, posting wins in three of the past five meetings between the two teams. That includes a pair of outright victories while listed as underdogs of at least eight points at the sportsbooks.

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