Welcome to the Thursday, May 9 edition of the NBA Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one NBA bet for tonight’s 76ers-Raptors playoff matchup 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: 3-1 (.750)
Moneyline: 1-0 (.1000)
Over/Under: 2-4 (.333)
Semi-final round series results:
- April 27: Raptors 108, 76ers 95 (Scotiabank Arena)
- April 29: 76ers 94, Raptors 89 (Scotiabank Arena)
- May 2: 76ers 116, Raptors 95 (Wells Fargo Center)
- May 5: Raptors 101, 76ers 96 (Wells Fargo Center)
- May 7: Raptors 125, 76ers 89 (Scotiabank Arena)
5/9/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Philadelphia 76ers (51-31 reg. season, 6-4 postseason) vs. Toronto Raptors (58-24 reg. season, 7-3 postseason)
Back in Game 3 on the 76ers‘ home court of Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia notched the first true blowout of the series when they upended the Raptors by a 116-95 score to take a 2-1 series lead. Tuesday, the Raptors returned the favor. They generated a 36-point win at Scotiabank Arena.
That victory also gave Toronto a 3-2 lead in the series and left them just one game short of a conference finals date with the Milwaukee Bucks. However, in order to punch that ticket Thursday, Toronto faces a rather tall order — a desperate 76ers squad on its home floor.
Philadelphia’s Game 5 debacle was likely one of those playoff outliers that unfolds from time to time in a postseason series. The game got away from the Sixers in a second quarter during which they were outscored by a 37-17 margin.
Otherwise, Philly essentially matched Toronto bucket for bucket in the first and third quarters. They then posted only 19 points in a fourth quarter that was the embodiment of garbage time.
Ironically, the 76ers did their best job of the series on the Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard. The All-Star wing shot hadn’t shot under 54.2 percent in the series prior to Tuesday, when he went 7-for-16.
However, Pascal Siakam bounced back after playing Game 4 significantly limited with a calf injury. His 25-point effort paced the Raptors on the night. Strong contributions from Kyle Lowry (19 points) and Danny Green (17 points) were also integral.
The outlook was much bleaker on the 76ers’ side. Joel Embiid continued to look like a shadow of his normal self. He managed just 13 points and six rebounds among his contributions. And, he took a modest 10 shot attempts.
Then, while Tobias Harris did enjoy his best shooting effort of the series (6-for-12), Ben Simmons (seven points) and J.J. Redick (three points) came up woefully short. Jimmy Butler did continue to be the most reliable component of the Philly machine. He compiled 22 points, his fourth straight game eclipsing the 20-point mark.
Despite some of the troublesome trends exhibited by several members of the 76ers’ starting five, there’s reason to think Game 6 will be markedly different from Tuesday’s contest. Naturally, the main reason is the stakes at hand — this shapes up as an elimination game for the Sixers.
Additionally, Philly will be back home. They generated a 31-10 record at Wells Fargo Center during the regular season. Then, the 76ers are averaging 118.0 points per home game, including the postseason. That’s good for third in the NBA behind fellow postseason contenders Milwaukee and Portland.
Philadelphia did drop a five-point decision to Toronto at home in Game 4. However, Embiid played through an illness in that contest and unsurprisingly underwhelmed offensively to the tune of 11 points.
Moreover, Harris had a particularly poor shooting night. He drained just seven of 23 attempts. With the season on the line Thursday, much better performances from the two stalwarts are likely.
By The Numbers
The Raptors 21-23-1 (47.7 percent) against the spread in their away games this season and postseason, including 11-17-1 (39.3 percent) versus the number as an away favorite specifically. Toronto is also 30-33-1 (47.6 percent) against the spread in games following a win and 25-31-1 (44.6 percent) versus the number in games they’ve played with one day of rest.
Then, the 76ers are 6-4 (60.0 percent) in the 76ers’ playoff games this postseason. The 76ers are also 24-22 (52.2 percent) versus the number as a home team this regular season and postseason and 2-1 (66.7 percent) against the spread as a home underdog specifically. Philadelphia is also 21-13 (61.8 percent) versus the number in games following a loss this season and postseason and 27-22 (55.1 percent) against the spread in games they’ve played with one day of rest.
The Final Word
It’s officially do-or-die time for the 76ers, which should have no shortage of motivation for that reason alone. Additionally, Philadelphia should be heavily incentivized to make up for an embarrassing Game 5 showing, especially in front of its home crowd. Given the stakes at play and the Raptors’ own suspect track record against the spread as a road favorite, I see a 76ers’ cover at minimum Thursday night.
The Pick: 76ers +2