Game three and the rubber match between the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers takes place Tuesday. The BetUS online sportsbook has this as a close game again with the Sixers being slight favorites despite losing the last meeting.
In their last three meetings, the Sixers have covered twice but the Raptors have won twice. All three were decided by seven or fewer points. Online sports betting odds have been right with these two playing it close despite the difference in their records.
Despite Toronto’s hot streak, I slightly lean on the Sixers here as I trust Doc Rivers to make adjustments from Sunday’s loss. Let’s break down these NBA odds.
76ers vs Raptors Betting Preview
76ers: Elite Status Still Pending
Philadelphia sits atop the Eastern Conference with a 20-11 record but is only 5-5 in its last 10 and has only covered on three of these occasions. Four of its five wins came against the Charlotte Hornets, Sacramento Kings, Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets. And its five losses came against Toronto, the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, and Portland Trail Blazers (twice). Seeing a trend?
There’s a reason why the public is not willing to crown Philadelphia despite having the best record in the East. Philly is 6-8 against teams with a .500 record or better. The 76ers’ recent win against Brooklyn was also without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
Joel Embiid is performing like an MVP and should be a lock as a finalist barring injury. His 30.3 points per game are the most a center has averaged since Shaquille O’Neal in his MVP season at the start of the millennium.
The Sixers will have to prove they’re “elite” by beating better teams more consistently. Outside of Ben Simmons, they were shut down by the Raptors on Sunday. They’ll need to find ways to score more effectively against a top-tier defense to emphasize their status.
Raptors: Back to Contender Status
As Raptors color commentator Jack Armstrong said, “shame on all of you who hopped off the bandwagon!” The Raptors are back with a vengeance and riding a four-game winning streak, their longest since sweeping the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA bubble last year.
Toronto has won seven of its last ten (covering on all seven) and is now above .500 for the first time this year. They’ve put up the eighth-best rated offense and the eleventh-best rated defense in this 10-game span and have the fifth-best net rating.
What’s more impressive is how Toronto is doing this with F OG Anunoby and G Kyle Lowry missing intermittent games. Fred VanVleet is making a strong push to make the All-Star team with career-highs in points (20.1), assists (6.6), and three-pointers made per game (3.3).
But outside VanVleet, it has been a team effort. The Raptors are finding ways to lock down opponents. Even when they’re getting outrebounded or losing the turnover battle, like they did against Philadelphia, they’re limiting their opponent’s scoring efficiency. That’s translated to wins for the East’s forgotten contender.
It’s hard to bet against Toronto during this streak, but the Sixers are still the better team. They just need to prove it. Philadelphia outrebounded Toronto and abused them inside. They got double the free throw attempts and yet couldn’t get their shooting going.
Toronto clamped down on the Sixers’ perimeter offense limiting the likes of F Tobias Harris, G Seth Curry, and Embiid to under 35 percent shooting. The Sixers shot 38.8 percent as a whole and under 30 percent from deep – one of their worst performances.
Embiid typically struggles against Toronto scoring just 19.8 points on 42.1 percent shooting. But don’t expect Philadelphia to shoot poorly again as Embiid and the team breaks through and edges this game. The Sixers are my NBA betting pick.