Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors.
Philadelphia. Wells Fargo Center Arena.
Philadelphia started the series very confidently against Toronto, and already before the 2nd game, the odds on the 76ers' victory began to fall. Will the home team be able to double their lead in the 1st round of the playoffs?Get Your Welcome Bonus!
The 76ers have six wins in their last seven games. Philadelphia came into the playoffs from 4th place, but the gap to those ahead was minimal. Now the team has everything they need to showcase their vibrant offensive basketball. Joel Embiid has become the best mid-range scorer in the NBA, Tyrese Maxey is very fast and shoots above 40 percent from beyond the arc, and together with Harden, they move the ball well. Tobias Harris can still be effective, and Harden helps out more than just the point guard at the right time. There are only questions about the bench, but overall Milton, Niang, and Thybulle don't spend much time together, and they can be built into the game mechanism with 4 good attacking options at once. The good news is that all the strongest are healthy: only Charles Bassey and Jaden Springer, who are already out of the rotation, are on the sideline.
Doc Rivers' men secured a comfortable 131-111 win in Game 1 against Toronto. Just about everything went in from beyond the arc for Philadelphia, and Harden with Maxey and Harris did their best. Tyrese was especially good, scoring 38 points: not only did he make 5 three-pointers, but he also pummeled the opposition with his steals. Embiid made only 5 of his 15 field-goal attempts - not the best matchup for the MVP contender. Another important factor was that the 76ers committed just 3 turnovers in 48 minutes and also won the opponent's backboard battle.
The Raptors had a solid 2nd half of the season and finished the regular season 5th in the East. Nevertheless, the club has problems, and it is still very difficult to expect to reach the 2nd round. At the trade deadline, Toronto tried to add some size. They lacked a classic center. It turned out so-so, and the same Khem Birch, Precious Achiuwa, and Chris Boucher are all out at the center-back position. Pascal Siakam has improved greatly in the current league, and right now he's hardly the Raptors' main scorer. Possible losses in the lineup are troubling. Scottie Barnes was injured last game, Thaddeus Young is also on injured reserve and Gary Trent Jr. may not make the floor due to illness. The participation of all three in Game 2 is highly questionable.
In Game 1, Nick Nurse's men played surprisingly sluggish defense at the arc, and their opponents were constantly getting open looks. All in all, the team played effectively on offense, and it was a failure in their half that frustrated their efforts. Nor was there enough help from the bench, and in the end, only four Toronto players scored more than 10 points. Siakam was once again the Raptors' highest scorer with 24 points.
Expert Betting Tips
News of the absence of three Toronto basketball players could turn out to be tactical, and the same Trent could very well return to the floor. The Raptors need to improve defensively and learn from Game 1. Philadelphia's defense hasn't been very solid, so once again we can expect to see some productive basketball. The 76ers may not have a shot from beyond the arc, but Embiid could add and score at least 30 points. I suggest we bet on the following outcomes:
- Total Over 217.5 points for 1.90;
- Toronto Handicap (+7.5) for 1.90;
- Joel Embiid: Total Over 32.5 points for 1.87.
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