First to 15 NBA Odds & Picks: Target Raptors vs. Jazz, Hawks vs. Suns

Action Network Senior NBA Editor Malik Smith previews how to bet the Race to 15 market for two games: Raptors vs. Jazz and Hawks vs. Suns.

There are so many ways to bet an NBA game, but for those bettors who can’t bear to sweat the full 48 minutes, there are other markets that offer more instant satisfaction. One of those markets is the Race to 15 Points. It’s as simple as the name suggests: The first team to hit 15 points cashes the bet.

Tonight there are eight games on the schedule, including the usual ESPN doubleheader, which is among the games we’re looking to bet. Here are Wednesday’s First to 15 NBA odds and picks.

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Toronto Raptors vs. Utah Jazz

First to 15 Odds Raptors: +102 | Jazz: -130
Time | TV 9 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
SportsBook FanDuel

The Raptors are in the midst of a seven-game road trip against Western Conference teams and tonight they’ll make a stop in Utah to face the Jazz.

Neither the Raptors nor the Jazz have been particularly strong to open games. Overall, the Raptors (17th) and Jazz (22nd) are closer to the bottom of the Race to 15 standings. The Raptors have been surging of late (7-3 in their past 10 games) while the Jazz are average over that same stretch.

Interestingly, the Jazz aren’t particularly strong at home in the first quarter despite having the advantage of playing at elevation. They are 14-12 in the Race to 15 standings at home, but that ranks 19th among all teams.

In in 16 January games, the Raptors ranked fourth in first quarter scoring (30.8 points) and fifth in 3-point percentage (44.1%). Over that same span, the Jazz ranked 24th in first quarter scoring (28 points) and 26th in overall opponent 3-point percentage (38.8%). I think the Raptors have value in this spot at plus-money.

Atlanta Hawks vs. Phoenix Suns

First to 15 Odds Hawks: -110 | Suns: -115
Time | TV 10 p.m. ET | ESPN
SportsBook DraftKings

The Suns have been the first to 15 in their past five games and they continue to be dominant at home to open games. Only the Denver Nuggets have a better cover rate in home games than the Suns this season (74.1%) in the Race to 15 standings.

The Suns have been decimated by injuries all year, but they are slowly getting back on the horse. Their current streak coincides with Chris Paul’s return to the lineup and the Suns are averaging the second-most (32.8) first quarter points in the NBA since he’s returned. The Hawks have failed to cover a Race to 15 bet in their past three games, but they had a seven-game streak prior, which explains why the odds are fairly close.

Trae Young sat out the Hawks’ most recent game Monday but he’s expected to play. Regardless, I like the Suns here. They are playing extremely well to open games beyond the five-game sample with CP3 back in the lineup and I think their resurgence is real.