The Sixers have played their final regular-season game, closing out their 2021-22 campaign with a win over the Detroit Pistons. All eyes are now on a playoff series against the Toronto Raptors. Here is all you need to know from a betting perspective.
This isn’t the first time that these two teams have clashed in the postseason. The most notable occasion was back in 2019 when the Sixers suffered a game 7 heartbreak at the hands of Kawhi Leonard. Toronto would go on to eventually win it all, much to the disappointment of those in Philadelphia. However, the Raptors lost to the Sixers back in the 2001 conference semifinals in a remarkable seven-game series that saw Allen Iverson and Vince Carter at their very best.
The Raptors are coming in hot
Toronto comes into this series with a 48-34 record, while Philadelphia maintans 51 wins and 31 losses. The Raptors clinched their eighth playoff berth in nine years on Tuesday in a win over Atlanta before securing the fifth-seed on Friday in a game where stars were rested.
They’ve won 14 of their last 18 games, holding the NBA’s most successful record in that span. Included in those victories was a 119-114 win over the Sixers themselves. Philadelphia was without Matisse Thybulle, who is also going to be ineligible to play in Toronto for games 3 and 4 due to his vaccination status conflicting with the fact that players must be fully vaccinated to play in games across the border.
The Sixers are a disappointing 1-3 in games against the Raptors this year.
As for the Sixers
The Sixers have endured a bumpy road up to this point. While the James Harden trade was thought to solidify the roster and give Doc Rivers that missing piece to make a real Championship push, it’s been the Head Coach himself that’s drawn much of the criticism since.
Joel Embiid is at the epicenter of the team and is one of the league’s most dominant forces. He’ll be leaned on early and often against a Toronto team that has learned to preserve its energy for the moments Embiid has to rest. The MVP candidate can’t do it all by himself, and the Raptors know that more than most. Philadelphia was outscored 61-36 across the two most recent meetings against the Raptors in the windows when Embiid was catching his breath.
However, the new dynamic to keep an eye on is what James Harden brings to the court. The Sixers are among the most potent offenses in the league when both Harden and Embiid share the floor, but its what happens when both are off of it that draws the concern.
Without Matisse Thybulle in the road matchups
Shake Milton has cemented himself as the guard off the bench in the playoffs, which should bring some sense of confidence after his previous playoff outing against the Hawks. As for the rest of the bench lineup, it will be down to Doc Rivers to use it properly…
We’re still nearly a week away from the opening tip-off, but as things stand, the Sixers are series favorites at -210. You can get the 76ers -1.5 games at +100 over at DraftKings Sportsbook if you’re feeling really confident.
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