On Saturday night, the Sixers will open their first round NBA playoff series against the Toronto Raptors at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers finished the regular season 51-31 and are the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors posted a 48-34 record to earn the fifth seed. The Sixers open the series as a -180 favorite to advance to the second round. Toronto is +150 to move on past this series.

Let’s get into our Sixers vs. Raptors betting pick with player prop predictions, odds, and analysis for this April 16, 2022 matchup.

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Sixers vs. Raptors Betting Pick (April 16, 2022)

They did it! The Sixers did it! They managed to avoid the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs! Well done everyone.

Except, to do that, they had to fall all the way to fourth in the conference, which means: A) they will probably only have home court for one playoff round (assuming they get past the Raptors), and B) they weren’t lucky enough to be able to pick on one of the weaker teams in the first round (here’s looking at you, Chicago Bulls).

The Sixers’ reward for winning 51 games is the equivalent of an inexpensive birthday gift purchased in a hurry on the donor’s way to the party. The Raptors won the season series 3-1. They eliminated the Sixers from the playoffs just three short years ago, when The Process still felt like it was on the ascendancy.

A lot can happen in three years, though. The trust behind The Process was to accumulate enough assets and lose enough games to be awarded high draft picks with the end result being a young, star-laden roster. After all of that losing, the 2021-2022 Sixers ended the season with two stars. One is James Harden, who will turn 33 this summer and whose best basketball is almost certainly behind him. The other is Joel Embiid, who is 28 and who plays about 60 games every season.

Also, head coach Doc Rivers has three years left on his contract.

Maybe it’s just us, but the current state of the Sixers has the feel of one of those movies where the protagonist senses real trouble ahead but is ultimately powerless to do anything about it.

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Sixers vs. Raptors Odds

Here’s the line for the Sixers and Raptors at FanDuel Sportsbook:

  • Point Spread: Sixers -4 (-110), Raptors +4 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Sixers -178, Raptors +150
  • Total: 216

Bets We Like With a Sixers Win

Sixers to Win and Under 216 Total Points (+181, FanDuel Sportsbook)

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The Raptors finished the season seventh in the NBA in defense as measured by opponents points per game (107.1). At the same time, they did not bowl anyone over offensively, finishing 20th in the league (109.4 points per game). Matisse Thybulle is ineligible to play in any of the games in Toronto, and so you’d have to think he will be as active as he can be in the first two games of this series. Under.

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Bets We Like Independent of Outcome

Joel Embiid Under 33.5 Points (-130, Caesars Sportsbook)

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Embiid’s season was worthy of the Most Valuable Player award. The Raptors know this, and will do everything up to and including occasionally triple-teaming Embiid to get the ball out of his hands. Embiid was held to 30 or fewer points in two of the three games he played against the Raptors this season. Not coincidentally, one of those games was in late March and the other was a week and a half ago.

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James Harden Over 10.5 Assists (-125, DraftKings Sportsbook)

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This prop selection is basically a backhanded compliment. The Raptors are going to spend a lot of the night forcing the ball out of Embiid’s hands. Conversely, given Harden’s pretty spotty playoff record, Harden is going to spend a lot of the night finding ways to get the ball out of his own hands. In so doing, he will rack up some assists. We will see if they are nutritious for the Sixers, or merely empty calories.

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Fred VanVleet Under 18.5 Points (-125, FOX Bet)

The Raptors are an underwhelming group on paper because they don’t have a superstar, and they haven’t since Kawhi Leonard left. What the Raptors have is five guys who score at least 15 points per game. They’re a classic “whole greater than the sum of the parts” team. The Raptors are unlikely to want this game to be all that high-scoring, and they aren’t going to mess with the formula of sharing the scoring load nearly equally in the first game of the series.

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Sixers vs. Raptors Prediction

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After Larry Holmes knocked out Muhammad Ali, who should never have been allowed to fight Holmes in the first place given Ali’s advanced age, Holmes said (paraphrasing) that Ali wasn’t better than Holmes just because Ali talked better. Well, the Sixers aren’t better than the Raptors just because they have Joel Embiid and James Harden. The Raptors’ moneyline is tempting, but home court might be just enough to get the Sixers by in this game. Just.

Pick: Raptors +4.5 (+114, Barstool Sportsbook)

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