Philadelphia 76ers @ Toronto Raptors | NBA Playoffs Predictions and Betting Tips
Expectations were high for both the Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors entering the 2018-19 NBA season. Both were seen as legitimate championship contenders and considered among the best in the Eastern Conference. So, in a way, it is only fitting that they compete for a right to move on to the conference finals.
Spread: Raptors by 5.5
Money Line: 76ers +215; Raptors -255
*Odds via BetOnline.ag
After going on a 15-game winning streak to end the regular season last year, a lot of eyes were going to be on the 76ers this season. While they got off to a slow start (4-4 in October), they got their act together and began to live up to expectations. They did lose four of their last six at the end of the regular season, but with the No. 3 seed locked up and no chance at moving up or down, they were not too concerned about winning down the stretch. While that attitude could have led to their upset loss in Game One against Brooklyn, it is safe to say they got their edge back by the end of the series. Philadelphia has one of the most talented starting fives in the NBA starting with center Joel Embiid, a player many think deserves MVP consideration. Ben Simmons is often criticized for being a poor shooter but is still viewed as one of the best point guards in the game. JJ Reddick, Jimmy Butler, and Tobias Harris are a treat to score every time they touch the ball. During the regular season, they averaged 115.2 points/game (fourth best in the league). However, defensively, they were closer to the middle of the pack (108.9 defensive rating; 14th in the league).
While a lot of eyes wanted to see how the youth project in Philadelphia would play out, many more wanted to see how the revamped Raptors would do. After losing to LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the postseason again last year, Toronto let go of their head coach and shipped a fan favorite (DeMar DeRozan) out of town. Nick Nurse was elevated to head coach, and Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green were added to the lineup. Together, could they change Toronto’s postseason fate? They are scoring a few more points per game this year relative to last. But their defensive rating got a little worse, and they won one less game during the regular season. Does that mean the trade was a waste? That question will not be answered until their postseason journey ends. With their ability to score points and defend, there is a very good chance their journey will not end in the conference semifinals.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Toronto Raptors Head-to-Head
The 76ers and Raptors played four times this season; Toronto won three while Philadelphia won just one. All three of Toronto’s wins were fairly convincing (by 17, 11, and 12 points). But the 76ers had the most significant margin of victory at 25 points (126-101). From a historical perspective, the Raptors lead the all-time series with 54 wins to 38 for the 76ers. They have also met in the playoffs once before, for the 2001 Eastern Conference Semifinals; Philadelphia won the series, 4-3. Toronto has won 21 of the last 24 meetings between the two.
Odds and Predictions
Offensively, Toronto and Philadelphia are not too different. The 76ers averaged almost a point more a game in the regular season. However, Toronto made a slightly higher percentage of their shots from the floor (47.4 to 47.1) and from three-point range (36.6 to 35.9). But while there isn’t much of an advantage to be gained on the offensive end, that is not the case on the defensive end. Toronto is easily the better defensive team of the two. They were able to hold the 76ers under their regular season average in three of the four games they played. There is no reason to think this series will be different. Take Toronto to win the series in five games starting with Game One (-255). They will win straight up and against the spread (-5.5). Expect Toronto to score a little more than they did against Orlando and for Philadelphia to score a little less.
Expert Betting Tip
But look for them to cover the over (212.5).