The first NBA playoff game on Saturday features the Philadelphia 76ers going for the four-game Eastern Conference series sweep at the Toronto Raptors and favored by NBA oddsmakers to do so.

How to Bet Sixers at Raptors NBA Odds & TV Info

  • When: Saturday, 2 PM ET
  • Where: Scotiabank Arena
  • TV: TNT
  • Stream: TNT app
  • Radio: Tunein.com
  • NBA Odds: Sixers -3 (total 213.5)

Why Bet on Philadelphia?

NBA MVP finalist Joel Embiid made one of the biggest shots of his NBA career in Wednesday’s 104-101 overtime win in Toronto. The ball was inbounded to Embiid just beyond the 3-point line with less than a second remaining on the shot clock, and the 7-footer corralled the pass, turned and launched a fadeaway shot over Raptors guard Fred VanVleet that swished. It was Embiid’s first career game winner to give the Sixers a 3-0 series lead.

No team in league history has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven series.  The shot had to be especially deflating for the Raptors after they had played their best game of the series, by far.

Embiid barely missed a fadeaway 3-pointer at the buzzer in regulation, followed by Tobias Harris missing the putback shot that sent the game to overtime. The Sixers got their first lead of the game in overtime and then Embiid put it away after Doc Rivers called a clutch timeout with just 0.9 seconds left on the shot clock and just 2.6 seconds left in OT. Embiid scored 18 of his 33 points in the third quarter and finished with 13 rebounds, two assists, a block and three 3-pointers on 12-of-20 shooting.

Embiid’s shot was the first overtime last-second game-winner in 76ers postseason history. The win was only the 76ers’ 13th playoff overtime win ever, and only the seventh decided by three or fewer points (or two or fewer points before the inception of the 3-point shot in 1979). The 76ers had lost four straight postseason overtime games, and this was their first road overtime postseason win since the 107-101 win over the Lakers in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals at the Staples Center.

Embiid was wearing a soft cast on his right wrist after the win but added that there is “no chance” he’ll miss time moving forward due to his recent minor setback.

James Harden hit 7-of-13 shots and 3-of-5 free throws for 19 points, six rebounds and 10 assists before fouling out late in regulation. Harden got back on track after a modest Game 2 performance. The 10-time All-Star is up to 18.3 points, 10.0 assists, 5.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks per contest through the first three games of the series.

Harris finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds, cooling off a bit after putting up 26 and 20 points in the first two games of the series. The veteran forward still notched his 11th double-double of the season and second in the series.

Philly played without reserve guard Matisse Thybulle because he’s not vaccinated for COVID so he can’t travel to Canada. Thus, he’s out Game 4 as well.

Why Bet on Toronto?

The Raptors really should have won Game 3. The Sixers did not hold their first lead in the contest until a Tyrese Maxey basket started the scoring in overtime (97-95). The 76ers were 1-21 when trailing by 10 points after the first quarter on the road. They trailed 29-19 after the first quarter and then trailed by as many as 17 points (at 38-21) 2½ minutes into the second quarter before outscoring the Raptors 83-63 the rest of the game.

The only other time the 76ers won a road playoff game when they trailed by double digits going into the second quarter was May 29, 1983, when they beat the Lakers 111-94 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

Toronto scored 27 points off 24 Sixers turnovers, in addition to 16 points off nine offensive rebounds, before ultimately falling short. Had Precious Achiuwa not missed two free throws with about 27 seconds left, the Raptors probably would have won.

OG Anunoby hit 8-of-18 shots and four 3-pointers for a team-high 26 points, five rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block in the loss. He hit a big 3-pointer with 2:45 left in regulation, followed by a Achiuwa putback that gave the Raptors a late five-point lead. He also appeared to cleanly block a late James Harden layup but it was ruled a goal tend, which might have been the call of the game.

Gary Trent Jr. hit 9-of-19 shots and four 3-pointers for 24 points. Trent has been battling a serious illness for about a week but said he felt much better. He also said he’s lost eight pounds in that timeframe and was “just trying to push through it.”

Stellar Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes hasn’t played since injuring his ankle late in Game 1 but is trending toward a return Saturday.

This season, Barnes started all 74 of the games he played in, averaging 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game on 49.2 percent shooting. Barnes was the only rookie to rank in the top-five in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and minutes. He scored 20+ points in 17 games – the most by a Raptors rookie since Vince Carter (23) in 1998-99. Barnes led the Raptors with a franchise rookie record 195 offensive rebounds (15th in the NBA).

Game Trends

  • 76ers are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
  • 76ers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games as a road favorite.
  • 76ers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 road games.
  • Raptors are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as an underdog.
  • Raptors are 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 playoff games as an underdog.
  • Raptors are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.

Expert Prediction

 


 

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