Welcome to the Monday, April 29 edition of the NBA Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one NBA bet for today’s first-round playoff matchups I feel has profit potential at DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, 888 Sportsbook, and BetStars Sportsbook.
Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.
ATS Leans/Picks: 1-1 (.500)
Over/Under: 1-3 (.250)
Semi-final round series results:
- April 27: Raptors 108, 76ers 95 (Scotiabank Arena)
4/29/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Philadelphia 76ers (51-31 reg. season, 4-2 postseason) vs. Toronto Raptors (58-24 reg. season, 5-1 postseason)
Coming into Toronto riding high off four straight first-round wins over the Brooklyn Nets, the 76ers got a rude awakening Saturday night. The Raptors extended their trend of getting the best of Philadelphia into the postseason, defeating them for the fourth time in five meetings this season/postseason overall. The 76ers had no answer for Kawhi Leonard specifically. That mirrored a regular-season trend. After allowing Leonard an average of 30.3 points during three regular-season meetings, the All-Star wing trampled them to the tune of a career-playoff-high 45 points.
Combined with Pascal Siakam‘s latest brush with stardom — a 29-point, seven-rebound “complementary” effort — Toronto didn’t need much else to notch a Game 1 victory. Kyle Lowry (nine points) and Marc Gasol (eight points) were almost afterthoughts. The Raptors bench contributed just 10 points overall. Scoring slowed to an absolute crawl for both squads in the fourth quarter as well. The two teams combined for just 30 points in the final 12 minutes after putting up 173 during the first three periods.
For the 76ers, it wasn’t that there were any total clunkers by key players. But Philly’s shooting was far from efficient. And it was that lack of accuracy that produced a scoring vacuum the 76ers simply couldn’t overcome. The Sixers shot just 39.3 percent overall. Key pieces Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris all turned in sub-40-percent success rates from the floor. Still, all five members of the Philadelphia starting five did hit double digits in the scoring column. And J.J. Redick, perhaps the 76ers’ streakiest shooter, encouragingly drained 46.2 percent of his attempts.
Therefore, despite the disappointing double-digit series-opening defeat, Philadelphia did have some positives to take away. Even a slight uptick in shooting would push them over the century mark. Embiid, for one, is a good candidate to bounce back from an atypical 5-for-18 performance from the field in Game 1. Embiid shot 49.3 percent in the regular season against the Raptors (although all of those games came before Toronto’s acquisition of Gasol). Thus, the possibility is certainly there for a bounce-back effort. It’s also worth noting that after a similar Game 1 clunker in the quarterfinal round against the Nets (33.3 percent shooting), Embiid promptly drained 66.7 percent of his 12 attempts in Game 2.
On that subject, Philadelphia turned it around dramatically on a team-wide level in that second installment of the first-round series. The Sixers shot 56.1 percent in Game 2 against the Nets after posting just a 40.7 percent success rate in Game 1. That’s eerily similar to their mediocre figure against the Raptors on Saturday night. Then, there naturally should be no shortage of urgency for the 76ers on Monday night. They’ll be trying to avoid a 2-0 series hole heading back to Philadelphia against a Raptors team that finished with a 26-15 road record during the regular season.
By The Numbers
The 76ers are 4-2 (66.7 percent) against the spread overall this postseason and 9-7 (56.2 percent) over the last two postseasons overall. Philadelphia is 20-12 (62.5 percent) versus the number after a loss this season and postseason, and 12-4 (75.0 percent) specifically after losses of 10 or more points. The 76ers are also 26-21 (55.3 percent) against the spread in games they’ve played with one day of rest this season.
Then, the Raptors are 41-46-1 (47.1 percent) against the spread overall this season and postseason. That includes a 21-24 (46.7 percent) mark in their games as home favorites. Toronto is also 29-32-1 (47.5 percent) versus the number after a win and 24-30-1 (44.4 percent) against the spread in games they’ve played with one day of rest.
The Final Word
The 76ers got an early wake-up call in the series Saturday night. Naturally, the Raptors are a more formidable opponent than Brooklyn, but Philadelphia certainly has the talent to play better than they did in Game 1. Embiid, in particular, can raise his game, and even modest improvement in his shooting should lead to a better overall performance by the 76ers. With the prospect of a 2-0 series deficit staring them in the face, I see Philadelphia at least playing well enough to slide in under a number that’s actually grown over the last 24 hours.
The Pick: 76ers +7