Philadelphia at Toronto
Time: 4 PM CT (NBA LP)
Spread: TOR – 9
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Philadelphia 76ers have dropped its past four games and now travel to face the Toronto Raptors as 9-point underdogs in NBA action on NBA League Pass at 4 PM (CT) Saturday. The Sixers are 7-8 on the road this season and the Raptors are 11-1 at home.
The over/under for the game is set at 219.5 points according to NBA oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
Philly most recently has dropped games to Oklahoma City, Chicago, Sacramento, and today’s opponent, Toronto, over its skid. All of the losses were by six points or less, as Philly has stayed in games and continually fell short. Last game against Toronto, the Sixers got a near triple-double from Dario Saric (18 points, nine assists and 10 boards), and all starters scored in double-figures, but it was not enough as DeMar DeRozan torched the Sixers backcourt for 45 points. Philly was without Joel Embiid in the affair, which significantly weakens their starting lineup when it goes with the offense-deficient Amir Johnson at the 5-spot.
Philadelphia is a much different team with Embiid available. He leads the team in scoring at 24.1 points per game and he also averages 11 rebounds and nearly two blocks a game, while posting a team-high PER Of 24.1.
Ben Simmons has been sensational, as well, in his rookie season. The one-and-done from LSU is averaging 17 points, nine rebounds and 7.8 assists per game. Saric has stepped it up the most in recent games, as he is averaging 17.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and four assists over the Sixers past five. The No. 12 pick from 2014 is showing more of the consistency and all-around talent that he did towards the end of last season, which makes the Sixers a tougher (and deeper) team through and through. Robert Covington is quietly becoming one of the best “three and D” players on the wing, and the Sixers have a winning formula. It is now just about closing out games and playing tougher defense in the fourth quarter.
Toronto has won its last five games and 12 of its past 13 to improve to 22-8 on the season. However, it is difficult to read too much into Toronto’s regular season successes given their annual flop fest in the postseason. Will this year be any different?
DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry should both be All-Stars once again. DeRozan is averaging 24.7 points per game and Lowry is good for 16 points, six rebounds and seven assists per contest. Serge Ibaka, despite having declined defensively, is a serviceable 4-man and is good for 14 points and six rebounds a night. Jonas Valanciunas has declined some this season but is still averaging 10.6 points and 7.7 rebounds while coming up with just over a block/steal combined per game.
The Raptors average 111.6 points per game and have a deep rotation that can realistically go 12 players deep. Even at the bottom of its rotation is the serviceable big men Pascal Siakem and Jakob Poeltl. Toronto has depth aplenty, but we have seen this team look well composed only to receive mediocre performances from its top-two players in the playoffs. Expect Toronto to continue to defend its homecourt. The Raptors have only lost one game at the Air Canada Centre, and Philly is struggling—not to mention Toronto won the last meeting between these teams just days ago.
The Sixers are one of the most exciting teams in the league, and were without Joel Embiid last time, but Toronto is continually a tough out on its homecourt, and Philadelphia is young. This game could be lost by the Sixers in the closing minutes of the fourth, but NBA oddsmakers do set the line nearly at double-digits with the Raps favored by nine.