On Wednesday night, the Sixers cross the border (minus Matisse Thybulle) to face the Toronto Raptors in the third game of their first round NBA playoff series. The Sixers manhandled the Raptors on Monday night to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
Let’s get into our Sixers vs. Raptors betting pick with player prop predictions, odds, and analysis for this April 20, 2022 matchup.
Sixers vs. Raptors Betting Pick (April 20, 2022)
By now you have probably seen the clip of Joel Embiid telling Raptors head coach Nick Nurse that, in effect, the Raptors have no one who can do anything to stop Embiid, and Nurse (looking at the same time frazzled and resigned to his fate) nodding and saying “I know.”
Nurse has won an NBA title, so he’s consistently going to get the benefit of the doubt with anything he does. The Embiid/Nurse exchange was Embiid’s response to Nurse spending all day Monday and the entire game complaining to the referees about foul calls Embiid was getting. Baiting, cajoling and whining to referees is part of an NBA coach’s job. And what else was Nurse going to do? He truly does not have anyone on his active roster who can do anything to stop Embiid other than hacking him and hoping the whistle doesn’t sound.
Still, you kind of wonder what sort of effect that Embiid/Nurse exchange had (and will have) on the Raptors. If it went down as reported, Nurse effectively admitted to Embiid and to the world that the Raptors are playing this series constantly running uphill, knowing that whatever they do, Embiid is going to get his way. The Raptors’ only chance is to have two of James Harden, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris struggle on the same night. That has not happened in this series to this point.
The Raptors figure to be a “desperate” team tonight, and the Raptors (who draw really well) will have a motivated, spiteful, bitter home crowd behind them. But all of those fans saw what the Raptors players saw two nights ago: Nurse doesn’t have any real answer for Embiid. Imagine going to work knowing your boss had already publicly identified a weakness in your performance that cannot be papered over and cannot be overcome.
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Sixers vs. Raptors Odds
Here’s the line for the Sixers and Raptors at FanDuel Sportsbook:
- Point Spread: Sixers -2 (-114), Raptors +2 (-106)
- Moneyline: Sixers -134, Raptors +114
- Total: 217
Bets We Like With a Sixers Win
Sixers to Win and Over 217 Total Points (+223, FanDuel Sportsbook)
Mind you, we don’t think the Sixers are winning this one, but if they are going to win it will be because somehow the officials continue to put Embiid and Harden on the free throw line the way they did in Philadelphia. Seems unlikely.
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Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
Joel Embiid Under 32.5 Points (-115, Caesars Sportsbook)
The Raptors have not given up more than 31 points to Embiid (that’s what he had Monday) in four straight games. People are going to continue to hammer the over on this prop because they have fond memories of Embiid hanging 40 pieces on bad teams in the regular season. Up 2-0 in this playoff series, on the road, Nurse having aired the officials out…Embiid won’t get the calls he needs tonight.
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Fred VanVleet Under 21.5 Points (-125, DraftKings Sportsbook)
In the beginning of Monday night’s game, it looked like VanVleet was going to have one of those unconscious scoring nights where, despite being a 20-points-per-game scorer in the regular season, he’d go off for 30 or more. Here’s the thing, though. Those guys know when they’re running ahead of their scoring pace. By the second quarter, VanVleet’s jump shot cooled off, and he was largely ineffective in the second half. VanVleet is good for 18 tonight, but not 22.
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Pascal Siakam Double Double (-133, FOX Bet)
Siakam has posted a double double in three of his last four games against the Sixers, including a triple double on April 7. With Scottie Barnes doubtful, the Raptors will again be leaning heavily on Siakam to carry the scoring and rebounding load.
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Sixers vs. Raptors Prediction
This series isn’t over, but late in the third quarter (before a dead cat bounce surge that made the game score respectable) the Raptors looked like they wanted no further part of the Sixers. Professional athletes, more than most athletes, recognize when they are simply outgunned and outmanned. So the Sixers are very likely to win this series, but the NBA doesn’t make a lot of money off first round sweeps. The whistle is going to be very friendly for the Raptors tonight, and you can almost see the “we have a series!” pieces being written late tonight in advance of Saturday’s 30-point Sixers win to go up 3-1.
Pick: Raptors moneyline (+107, Barstool Sportsbook)
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