Raptors vs. 76ers Game 1 Odds & Pick
When: Saturday, April 16th, 6PM ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
TV: ESPN (DirecTV Channel 206)
Opening Line: Phi -4
Point Spread: Tor +4.5/Phi -4.5
Money Line Raps +160/Sixers -185
Total: 216 (Opened at 217.5)
(Betting Lines provided by MyBookie)
Series Price Phi -185/Tor +150 (You can get it at +164 at MyBookie!)
When the Philadelphia 76ers acquired James Harden on February 11th, novice NBA fans and bettors were screaming that Philly was a lock to win the 2022 NBA Championship on the basis of two of the NBA’s biggest superstars joining together would be unstoppable. That’s not quite the way it works though. Just ask the Los Angeles Lakers Brass.
Meanwhile, NBA sharp bettors viewed Harden’s acquisition as a fade opportunity (bet against) for multiple reasons, with the main two being a mid-season shakeup disrupts chemistry (players not being used to playing with each other) and the theory that both big-names need their shots and there’s only one ball to go around.
While the second theory doesn’t hold as much weight as the first because Harden is a willing passer, as evidenced by his assist total, it’s still a variable that can’t be ignored.
James Harden would eventually play his first game with the 76ers on February 25th. Since then, the team would go on to win fourteen games, versus only seven losses, which amounts to a .667 winning percentage since the acquisition of Harden. That figure would be good enough to be the third-best team in the NBA, assuming a full season of results.
In summary, the Sixers trading for James Harden was a success. That doesn’t mean they’re going to be able to get past the Toronto Raptors though.
This May Surprise You
As with anything in life, we generally only hear about the good-looking man/woman, the big money, the popular entity (in this case the BIG cities), and the shock type news. What we don’t hear enough about is the good, the righteous, and teams that lack star power, but win games. This may surprise you, but the Toronto Raptors are 14-4 in their last 18 games and you can throw out their last loss because they didn’t care about the game. During that span, they covered the spread to the tune of 12-6, for a sparkling 67%, a figure that any sports bettor would give their left nut for. But you probably didn’t know that, because Toronto lacks star power. They’re located outside of the United States and don’t get proper media coverage on ESPN. But I’m sure you’ve heard a ton about Joel Embiid and James Harden, who you would have lost your tail betting on this season, as they went 37-44-1! (A $100 bettor would have lost $1,140 betting every Sixer game this season).
Putting Things in Perspective
If you and I got into a fistfight, and I whooped your ass three out of four times, how confident would you be in our fifth fight? You probably wouldn’t be looking to battle me a fifth time! Right??? This is the situation we’re presented with Saturday. Toronto has beaten up Philadelphia three out of the last four times (3-1 straight up, 4-0 against the spread).
This is how smart the oddsmakers/bookies are, and how dumb the general public is! They’ve made the Sixers a -4.5 favorite and the general betting public are still betting them to the tune of 57%! The Raptors have proven to be the better team here and they’re still getting +4.5 points! Truth be told, the wrong team is favored here. I wish I was a bit more aggressive, as it’s probably not a bad move to take a shot on the money line here.
The best way to leverage a situation like this is to bet three-quarters of your wager on the spread, then the other 25% on the money line. That way you can get a taste of the good stuff, should the Raps pull off another straight-up win.
“But the game is at Philadelphia!” What about the home-court advantage? Don’t sweat it… The Raptors are 3-1 straight up at Philly, dating back to August 12th, 2020.
An Unlikely Key to Game 1
Something to keep an eye on in Game 1 and something that may very well end up being the determining factor in which team wins or loses is Toronto’s massive advantage on the offensive boards. This team hustles and gets a ton of second-chance points. Philadelphia does not. I’m projecting the Raptors to get 5-6 more offensive boards than Philly. This is HUGE!
Outside of the offensive rebound advantage, these teams have very similar stats.
A Filthy Variable That Can’t Be Ignored!
The Toronto Raptors are VERY competitive versus good teams. They went 29-16 straight up against teams with winning records this season. The Philadelphia 76ers only went 23-20. This tells us a lot!
How the Public is Raptors vs. Sixers Game 1
The squares are betting Philadelphia to the tune of 57%. The general betting public are favoring the over to the tune of 60%, despite the line dropping down from 217.5 to 216.
As noted above, the Raptors have had good success against the 76ers
These teams play close. Here are the final score margins over the last handful of games. (This will make you feel good about betting Toronto). 5, 5, 5, 6,. The Raptors were on the wrong end of those margins only once. The last two times the Raptors have played at Wells Fargo Center, they’ve won both games straight up by five and six points. There’s nothing about anything in their recent play that says the Sixers are any better than Toronto. In fact, it stats just the opposite! And we’re getting points!
Probable Starting Lineups
Raptors: PG Fred VanVleet, SG Gary Trent Jr, SF Scottie Barnes, PF OG Anunoby, C Pascal Siakam
76ers: PG Tyrese Maxey, SG Danny Green, SF James Harden, PF Tobias Harris, C Joel Embiid (ALWAYS check lineups before tip-off)
Both teams are perfectly healthy going into Game 1 of the series.
Betting Trends Worth Nothing
Many will tell you “the trend is your friend” and “got a hunch, bet a bunch!” Either of those myths will get you broke QUICK! But they’re still worth looking at, as some do have merit, but NEVER enough to be the reason you bet on a game. Here are some interesting things worth reading:
- The Raptors are 7-4 ATS vs. Philly over the past 3 seasons
- Toronto is 67-42 ATS vs. the Sixers since 1996
- The Raptors have covered four straight games vs. Phi
- Tor went 25-16 ATS on the road this season
- The Raps are 6-1 ATS in their last seven conference quarterfinals games
- The Raptors are 5-1 ATS in their last six road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Toronto is 7-2-1 in their last 10 games as a playoff underdog
- The Raptors are 26-9 ATS in their last 35 games vs. a team with a winning record.
- The Sixers are 1-4 ATS in their last five games vs. a team with a winning record.
Kevin West’s Pick to Cover the Spread
I’ve got a high confidence play on the Toronto Raptors at +4.5. In games where I think the underdog has a good shot of winning the game straight up, I’ll place 10% of my bet on the money line. In this case, I’m increasing my money line get to 25%, with the other 75% being placed on the point spread. I’m also taking a small position on the Raptors to win the series at +164. If your book doesn’t offer this wager, you can find it at Good luck! Bet your NBA playoffs picks for FREE by scoring a 100% REAL CASH BONUS on your first deposit up to $500 at Betnow Sportsbook when you use bonus code PREDICTEM.
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