2018 NBA Playoffs
Eastern Conference First Round
#1 Toronto Raptors vs #8 Washington Wizards
Best of Seven Series Format: 2-2-1-1-1
Series Price: Raptors -700 / Wizards +500 (Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes Sportsbooks)
Game #1 – Saturday, April 14, 2018, 5:35 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Air Canada Centre – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Opening Line: Toronto -7 1/2
Current Line: Toronto -8
Opening Total: 210
Current Total: 211 1/2
Opening Money Line: Raptors -370 / Wizards +310
Current Money Line: Raptors -360 / Wizards +300
The city of Toronto is having an incredible sports renaissance right now. Last fall, teams from Toronto won the Major League Soccer Cup and the CFL’s Grey Cup. Now in the spring, both the Toronto Raptors and the NHL’s Maple Leafs are poised to make deep runs in the playoffs.
The Toronto Raptors are 59-23 and have the second best record in the league behind only the Houston Rockets. Toronto even has a better record than the mighty Golden State Warriors. The Raptors won the Atlantic Division by four games over the Boston Celtics and are the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, very few people outside of Canada are taking them seriously as contenders for the NBA title. Possibly, because they could face their nemesis the #4 Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round. The Raptors are in the playoffs for the fifth straight year.
But first things first, the Raptors will take on the #8 seed Washington Wizards in the first round. Game one is Saturday evening in Toronto. The Wizards went 43-39 and finished a game behind the Miami Heat in the Southeast Division. The Wizards are in the playoffs for the fourth time in the last five seasons.
Toronto won two of the three regular season meetings against Washington. The Raptors won at home November 19 100-91. The Wizards won at home 122-119 February 1. Toronto won the rubber match 102-95 in Washington March 2. This is the second playoff meeting between the Wizards and Raptors. Washington swept Toronto in the first round in 2015.
Toronto is 43-38-1 ATS and the total is 41-40-1. The Raptors are coached by Dwane Casey. Toronto lost in overtime Wednesday night 116-109 at the Miami Heat. The loss snapped a four game winning streak for the Raptors.
Washington is 37-44-1 ATS and the total is 36-44-2. The Wizards are coached by Scott Brooks. Washington limped into the playoffs losing five of the last six games including 101-92 at the Orlando Magic Wednesday night.
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Washington is outscoring teams 106.6-106 this season. The Wizards are #13 in scoring and #15 in points allowed in the NBA. Washington is shooting 46.7% from the field and 37.5% from 3 point range. The Wizards are #4 in three point shooting. Washington makes 77.2% from the free throw line. Opponents are shooting 46.2% from the field and 34.9% from 3 point range. Washington is #6 in three point defense. The Wizards average 43.1 rebounds per game and opponents average 42.5 per game. The Wizards average 25.2 assists, 14 turnovers, 7.9 steals and 4.3 blocks per game.
Guard Bradley Beal averages 22.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game. John Wall averages 19.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 9.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. Otto Porter, Jr. averages 14.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.5 steals per game. He is day to day with a calf injury. Kelly Oubre, Jr. averages 11. points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. Markieff Morris averages 11.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. Mike Scott averages 8.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. He is day to day with a concussion. Marcin Gortat averages 8.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. Tomas Satoransky, Jodie Meeks, Jason Smith and Ian Mahinmi will also get time in the rotation.
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Toronto is outscoring teams 112-104 this season. The Raptors are in the top seven in both categories this season. Toronto is shooting 47.2% from the field and 35.8% from three point range. The Raptors are #7 in field goal percentage. The Raptors make 79.4% of their free throws and are #4 in that category. Opponents are shooting 44.9% from the field and 35.7% from three point range. The Raptors are #5 in field goal defense. Toronto averages 44 rebounds per game and opponents average 42.4 per game. The Raptors are #7 in rebounds allowed. Toronto averages 24.3 assists, 12.7 turnovers, 7.6 steals and 6.1 blocks per game.
Guard DeMar DeRozan averages 23 points per game, 3.9 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Guard Kyle Lowry averages 16.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Center Jonas Valanciunas averages 12.7 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Forward Serge Ibaka averages 12.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. C.J. Miles averages 10 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. Fred VanVleet, Delon Wright, Pascal Siakam, Jakob Poeltl, O.G. Anunoby, and Norman Powell will also get some minutes in the rotation. VanVleet, Siakam and Lucas Nogueira are all questionable.
The road team is 6-2 ATS in this series. The Wizards are 5-2 ATS in Toronto recently. The under is 8-3 ATS in this series recently and 12-2 in Toronto between the teams.
Toronto has been one of the best teams in basketball all season, and should win this series relatively easily. Washington is a veteran team and will not be intimidated by the big stage of the playoffs. I think the Raptors win a close game at home in game one and win the series in five games.