Raptors betting trends: Anunoby becoming one-dimensional
OG Anunoby has become more and more perimeter -focused in recent weeks. Photo by Frank Gunn/CP.

The Toronto Raptors have been treading water lately with five wins in their last 10 games, but holding the line isn't a good outcome when you sit 11th in the Eastern Conference standings.

If the Raptors are going to avoid a lost season they need to turn things around quickly, but the schedule makers have made it very difficult for them to build any momentum until February.

Here are the latest Raptors betting trends to know before Toronto heads out on a seven-game road trip.

OG Anunoby lacking assertiveness

One of the reasons Anunoby is such a coveted asset on the trade market is that he's a role-flexible player who can be everything from a pure 3-and-D specialist to a scorer who takes close to 20 shots per game.

The 25-year-old has been far more of the former lately as he's averaged 13.7 points per game since January 1 after putting up 18.7 through December. Some of that discrepancy can be explained by Pascal Siakam's health, but there's also a disturbing trend in the shape of Anunoby's offence.

Early in the season, the defensive ace was creating offence in a varied manner, attacking the basket and hitting 2-point shots at a solid clip to go along with his barrages from beyond the arc.

Recently, that hasn't been the case:

Split2-point FG%% of points in the paintFTA/game
Stats via NBA.com

Anunoby isn't threatening the rim, and the lack of diversification in his offence makes him a volatile scorer.

He's keeping his head above water by shooting 40.1% from 3-point land in January, but if his perimeter shooting falls off at all he could be headed for a nasty cold streak.

Fred VanVleet finding more consistency with his passing

Although VanVleet's 2022-23 scoring average (19.1 points per game) is similar to what we've seen from him in recent years, his output has been extremely unpredictable on a night-to-night basis.

For instance, on January 11 he produced just three points — his fourth start of the season with fewer than five points — but he followed that dud up with two 30-plus point outings. Every time he seems to take a step forward with his shooting consistency, there's another egg around the corner.

We haven't given up on betting VanVleet's points props entirely, but it's tough to know what you're going to get from a guy with almost as many games over 30 points (six) as under 10 (eight).

A better approach for backing the point guard may be targeting his assist totals, especially against weak defences.

Fred VanVleet has been more trustworthy as a playmaker than a scorer lately. Photo by Frank Gunn/CP.

Since setting a season-high with 12 assists on January 4, VanVleet has averaged 7.4 assists per game, and he's managed at least seven assists in eight of 10 games.

That's the kind of consistency that's been elusive with his point totals, and a slight downturn in Siakam's assists in recent weeks could indicate that VanVleet is taking on a greater playmaking responsibility.

In this space, we tend to highlight players who are doing well in recent games that might be worth tailing, but this time we're doing the opposite.

There's no doubt that Barnes is filling the bucket lately as he's averaged 18.7 points since the calendar turned to 2023 — a significant step up from the 14.5 he was producing beforehand.

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Unfortunately for those looking to put their money behind Barnes, this scoring surge is driven entirely by improved efficiency rather than an increased role. The sophomore's field-goal attempts per game in his last 12 games (13.3) almost exactly match what he did through December 13.2.

Barnes is a high-ceiling young player whose game is constantly evolving, which makes him an interesting player to target if his prop lines are slow to adjust to the changes he makes. In this case, though, it seems more likely that he's just on a garden-variety heater.

That could be worth tailing in the right matchups, but we'd be far more enthusiastic if there was evidence that the 21-year-old was adding something new to his bag or being entrusted with a bigger piece of the Raptors offence.

Parting shot

The Raptors either did something to offend the NBA's wrathful scheduling gods, or they are simply very unlucky.

Whatever the case may be, they have an absolute gauntlet ahead of them in the next couple of weeks.

On Wednesday, Toronto begins a seven-game road trip, all against Western Conference opponents. It will be a physically gruelling experience highlighted by visits to the second and third seeds in the West — the Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings.

Ja Morant and the Grizzlies are 20-3 in Memphis this season. Photo by Brandon Dill/AP.

It also includes battles with the Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz, a trio of teams with a combined 49-22 home record. Games against the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets will be easier, but this stretch is a grind.

Last season the Raptors were a remarkable 9-4 on the road against Western Conference foes, but they are 1-4 this year. By the time they return to Toronto on February 8, they will have either proven their mettle or dug themselves an even bigger hole in the quest for a play-in berth.

NorthStar Bets editorial Insiders have no influence, direct or otherwise, over the setting of odds advertised on our platforms.