The Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors will meet for the second time in a week on Friday. Houston, which blasted Toronto 135-106 in the first meeting, will be looking to sweep the season series in the rematch. To repeat versus the Raptors, the Rockets will have to do it without their injured starting point guard Fred VanVleet.
The Raptors are still waiting for the availability of newly acquired players Kelly Olynyk and Ochai Agbaji so they could also be shorthanded. They will again count on Scottie Barnes, RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to carry them. A victory by Toronto will mark the team’s first back-to-back wins since early January and also tie the season series with the Rockets.
The Houston Rockets are 0-2 in a four-game road trip with their last win coming at the expense of the Raptors on Friday. They have been playing quite well but their lack of composure has been a key factor they have had trouble overcoming.
In the 132-129 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday, they had some unforced errors that led to their defeat. Houston will have to be better on that end to stay unbeaten versus Toronto.
Houston Rockets vs Toronto Raptors: Preview, prediction and betting tips
The Raptors will host the Rockets at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET. SN and Space City Home Network will cover the game live. Streaming is also available via the NBA League Pass.
Basketball fans can also tune in to SiriusXM, Sportsnet 590 and 790 AM / S: 93.3 FM to catch the action.
Moneyline: Rockets (+115) vs. Raptors (-135)
Spread: Rockets (+2.0) vs. Raptors (-2.0)
Total (O/U): Rockets (o232.5 -110) vs. Raptors (u232.5 -110)
Houston Rockets vs Toronto Raptors: Game preview
The Rockets have had instances where they give up a big deficit in a quarter and fail to overcome that home. It happened again versus the Indiana Pacers where a 38-24 advantage was all it needed to keep Houston at bay. Houston will need to be more deliberate with its offense, particularly with floor general Fred VanVleet out with an injury.
The Raptors’ rebuild and youth movement is officially in effect. Toronto is handing the reins of the franchise to Scottie Barnes, Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett. Ochai Agbaji is also in the mix after he was acquired from the Utah Jazz. Kelly Olynyk will serve as the veteran mentor for the team.
The Toronto Raptors will be hoping the changes will improve their defensive performance. Since the start of the year, they have ranked 29th in defensive rating. Regardless of who plays for Toronto, the team will struggle to get wins if they can’t start stopping opponents from scoring.
Houston Rockets vs Toronto Raptors: Starting lineups
Rookie Amen Thompson will likely stay in the starting rotation as Fred VanVleet’s replacement. Houston Rockets coach Ime Udoka is expected to have Jabari Smith Jr., Dillon Brooks, Alperen Sengun and Jalen Green line up for tip-off.
The Raptors are likely opening the game with Scottie Barnes, Jakob Poeltl, Gary Trent Jr., RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley.
Houston Rockets vs Toronto Raptors: Betting tips
Budding star Alperen Sengun has an over/under points prop of 24.5, which is higher than his season average of 21.6 PPG. Sengun’s scoring has been up and down over his last 10 games. He had 20 against the Pacers and might get past his points prop against Toronto’s inept defense.
Scottie Barnes, now the Toronto Raptors’ franchise cornerstone, has an over/under points prop of 20.5 which is his average this month. Houston’s defense has been quite solid and might stop him from getting past his points prop.
Houston Rockets vs Toronto Raptors: Prediction
The Toronto Raptors’ defense has been in disarray since the start of the year. It’s the biggest reason they have a 6-13 record since 2024 opened. They are also likely going to be shorthanded and will need time to adjust to their new players if they’re cleared to play.
The Houston Rockets could take advantage of that and sweep the season series even if they would be without former Raptor Fred VanVleet.