Philadelphia 76ers @ Toronto Raptors | NBA Playoffs Predictions and Betting
After winning two in a row, it appeared that the Philadelphia 76ers were ready to take over this series. All they had to do was take Game Four at home to go up 3-1 in the series. But Kawhi Leonard and Toronto’s defence had a different outcome in mind. Can Philadelphia take the advantage back in Toronto or will the Raptors push the 76ers to the brink of elimination?
Spread: Raptors by 6.5
Money Line: 76ers +210; Raptors -250
*Odds via BetOnline.ag
To take Game Four, the Raptors needed two things—a little more offence, preferably from someone other than Kawhi Leonard, and to get back to playing strong defence on Joel Embiid. Leonard had another strong game with 39 points but did get a little more help from the test of the starting lineup with Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry, and Danny Green all scoring in double digits. Whether it was Toronto’s defence or the stomach bug he was battling, Joel Embiid had a lousy game scoring just 11 points and going 2-7 from the floor. To win Game Five, the Raptors will need to keep Joel Embiid from heating up once again. They are better off letting Jimmy Butler try to be the hero for the 76ers. But they could really use a better offensive effort from the team as a whole once again. In Game Four, they had five players score in double digits for the first time in the series (four starters). If Philadelphia’s defence has to start being concerned about someone other than Kawhi Leonard scoring, they are going to have to relax the pressure on him if they are going to defend the rest of the team—which will, of course, give Leonard better looks at the basket when he does have the ball.
The 76ers have done an impressive job throughout the series of spreading the ball around and getting more guys involved. As a result, in three of the four games played so far, all five starters scored in double digits. In the one game where that didn’t happen, two bench players did so they still had five guys do it. But what has been missing from the 76ers lineup has been the truly dominant performance. When they got one from Jimmy Butler in Game Two (30 points and ten rebounds) and Joel Embiid in Game Three (33 points, ten rebounds, and five blocks) they won. No one scored more than 17 in Game One. While Butler had 29 points and 11 rebounds in Game Four, his performance was negated by that of the Raptors offence (five games scoring in double digits and Leonard’s 39-point night). The 76ers are not going to play better defence than the Raptors. Their best bet to win Game Five will be to keep Toronto from getting into a rhythm on offence by not letting them play how they want to play. How do they accomplish that? Joel Embid and Jimmy Butler need to get on track early and not get derailed.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Toronto Raptors Head-to-Head
The 76ers and Raptors played four times this season; Toronto won three while Philadelphia won just one. From a historical perspective, the Raptors lead the all-time series with 54 regular season 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. The current series is tied 2-2.
Odds and Predictions
This is a game that could really go either way; it all depends on which star players are going to stand up and play like star players. With Pascal Siakam hobbled, the Raptors will need Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, and Danny Green to contribute on offence again—along with another solid outing by Kawhi Leonard. Philadelphia needs Jimmy Butler to continue to put up 20+ points a night. But will also need either Joel Embiid to wake up or for JJ Reddick and Tobias Harris to make a few more three-pointers (they were 6-20 in Game Four). While both teams could get what they need, it is easier to see Toronto’s role players and stars coming through over Philadelphia’s. Take Toronto to win (-250) but for Philadelphia to win against the spread (+6.5). As for the over/under (211.5), the offensive production in this series has been a little unpredictable.
Expert Betting Tip
Stay away from the over/under, but you can count on Toronto to win this game.