Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors Expert Betting Picks with Odds and Predictions
Odds to win series: Raptors-240, 76ers +190
The NBA Eastern Conference playoffs will continue this weekend at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto with the No. 2 seed Toronto Raptors facing the No. 3 seed Philadelphia 76ers. Both teams look a lot different this postseason as opposed to last year.
The Raptors took care of the Magic in five games, and the 76ers did the same to the Nets.
Toronto put all their chips to the center of the table to get Kawhi Leonard this offseason. Philadelphia went all-in before the trade deadline this year to get Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris.
The Raptors went 3-1 SU and ATS vs. the Sixers this year, and the total was split 2-2 O/U.
Interesting fact…this might be the only time we see these teams' versions of themselves…ever! Rumors are Kawhi could be a Clipper next year (with Kevin Durant), and who knows if the 76ers will retain Tobias Harris and the drama that is Jimmy Butler. We have two teams here that put their foreseeable future on the line to make a deep playoff run this year, and at the end of this series one team will come up short.
Facts about the 76ers
Philadelphia is a very young and talented team. Many experts say they arguably have the most talent of any team in the Eastern Conference. They rank fourth in points per game at 115.2 as well as hitting from downtown at a 36 percent rate. They protect the ball as well. They are suspect defensively, however, at 19th in the NBA, giving up 112.5 points per game, and 27th creating turnovers at 12.3 percent of possessions.
Ben Simmons is a stud, and if he can ever develop an outside shot he would be undefendable. He averaged 17.2 points, 7.6 assists and 6.8 rebounds per game. Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, and JJ Redick will all work the perimeter while Embiid and Simmons do their work inside. The 76ers can create problems for Toronto as they have much more talent than Orlando.
The Sixers were in this same spot last year when they lost to the Celtics in five games. They spent a lot of assets to get Butler and Harris, to get over the very mountain they are about to climb.
Philadelphia was 51-31 SU this year, 38-44 ATS, and 42-40 O/U.
Facts about the Raptors
The Raptors took a chance trading DeMar DeRozan, and Jakob Poeltl for Leonard, Danny Green and a projected 2019 first-round pick. I think it has worked out so far. They went 53-29 this year, and 32-9 at home.
Toronto has a good supporting cast for Kawhi. Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka, and Kyle Lowry all average around 15 points per game, and adding Marc Gasol was a great move adding 8.4 points per game and 5.6 rebounds.
Toronto went 37-44-1 ATS this year and 45-35-2 O/U. They are eighth in the league at 114.4 points scored per game, and sixth in the league from downtown at 37 percent. They give up 108.4 points per game on average and are 10th in the league at creating turnovers at 14.3 percent of possessions.
Mike Scott is listed as questionable for the Sixers after leaving the last game with a heel injury. Joel Embiid's knee also needs to hold up for Philadelphia to stand a chance.
Mark my words - if the 76ers lose this series, Brett Brown will be fired. He needs to improve on last year's effort. With all these new additions, he has no excuses.
How lucky is Nick Nurse? He takes over a job in which the last coach won NBA Coach of the Year (Dwane Casey) and was fired! And then you land Leonard! Unfortunately, if Kawhi does indeed move on, this will probably be Nurse's best chance at making the NBA Finals for the next few years.
Handicapping the series
Not much to go on as far as trends go. Yes, the Raptors went 3-1 ATS against the Sixers this year. However, not all those games had the full Philadelphia team we see now. I do think there is value in the total. I think early in the series teams will be determined to play good defense and at a slower pace. As the series goes on, Philadelphia will turn back to playing little "D" and just trying to outscore Toronto. I'd lean under in the early part of the series and over in the last few games.
Raptors in 6
Toronto plays as a team. Much more so than Philadelphia I believe. The Sixers are much more of a "me" team than an "us" team. Look for Kawhi to give Ben Simmons fits here. He dominated him defensively this year and will probably be the difference in the series. Sorry Philadelphia…the "Process" is still underway.
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