On Thursday night, the Sixers will be back in Toronto for Game 6 of their first round NBA playoff series with the Raptors. After winning the first three games of the series, the Sixers have almost completely fallen apart in the past two games to bring the Raptors back into it. The energy around the Sixers, so positive when they were up 3-0, is anything but positive right now.
Let’s get into our Sixers vs. Raptors betting pick with player prop predictions, odds, and analysis for this April 28, 2022 matchup.
Sixers vs. Raptors Betting Pick (April 28, 2022)
It’s time to have the conversation about the difference between being hurt and being injured.
Joel Embiid sustained a torn ligament in his right thumb in the first half of Game 3 of this series. The injury is significant enough to require surgical repair once the season is over. Embiid is playing through the injury for, we have to speculate, several reasons.
Pretty clearly, the Sixers would struggle to win a playoff game (much less any series) without Embiid. From a personal standpoint, Embiid probably feels like ending what was an MVP-caliber season with a first round playoff exit would tarnish the whole campaign. Also, professional athletes have pain tolerance that normal people don’t fully comprehend. A torn ligament in a thumb would reduce most bloggers to voice-to-text.
The trouble is, Embiid is playing, but he’s not playing as well as he is capable of, and the change in his game is noticeable. Multiple entry passes to Embiid on Monday night led to him holding the ball, not liking the shot he had, and kicking it back out. Every time that happened, the shot clock depleted quickly and the Sixers were left taking rushed and/or contested shots from distance. Embiid still had a double double, but it wasn’t very impactful. In a potential elimination game at home, Embiid only got to the free throw line six times.
So is he hurt, where he can play? Or is he injured, where he really ought to sit? There is a thrum around this series now. Only three teams have ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in the NBA playoffs to even force Game 7, and none of them won. If the Raptors win the next two games, it won’t be James Harden or Tobias Harris or Doc Rivers who wears this. It will be Embiid.
Sadly, if Embiid plays through pain in Game 6 (and Game 7 if necessary) and the Sixers don’t get out of this series, the label will be “choker,” not “team leader who played through injury.” That’s just the difference between winning and losing throughout history.
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Sixers vs. Raptors Odds
Here’s the line for the Sixers and Raptors at FanDuel Sportsbook:
- Point Spread: Sixers -1.5 (-110), Raptors +1.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: Sixers -120, Raptors +102
- Total: 209.5
Bets We Like With a Sixers Win
Sixers to Win and Over 209.5 Total Points (+231, FanDuel Sportsbook)
The totals in the last four games of this series were 209, 205, 212 and 191. The under has been very profitable, which explains why the over/under keeps going lower. Monday night was a low point for the Sixers, as they shot 38% from the field. Ultimately, if the Sixers are going to win this game and avoid a legitimately terrifying Game 7, they’ll probably do it by hitting a lot of shots and taking the Raptors’ crowd out of the game.
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Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
James Harden Double Double (-135, Caesars Sportsbook)
Recency bias does strange things to betting lines. Prior to the past two games of this series, Harden had posted double doubles in seven of his prior eight games. That means he has posted a double double in seven of his past ten games, which is still pretty reliable. Harden has had two poor games in a row. This is a “back of the bubblegum card” pick. Harden is better than he has shown lately.
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Joel Embiid Under 27.5 Points (-110, DraftKings Sportsbook)
There is no argument, none, for taking the over here. Embiid hasn’t scored more than 21 points in each of the last two games since sustaining his injury, and he’s still hurt. Overall, he’s scored 21 points or fewer in three of the five games in this series. Additionally, while it’s disappointing to think about, if the Sixers get down big in this game, Embiid will be the first guy Rivers takes off the floor in an attempt to save him for Game 7.
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Pascal Siakam Over 24.5 Points (-110, FOX Bet)
Siakam missed his over by one or two points on Monday night (depending on where you had it). That doesn’t keep him from being great value in this spot. In Siakam’s past five home games, Siakam has averaged 28.6 points per game.
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Sixers vs. Raptors Prediction
This looks so obvious. There is blood in the water around the Sixers, and much of that blood is flowing from self-inflicted wounds. The Raptors very obviously think that they are in this series, and they’re right. If this series had just gone with the home teams holding serve to this point, the narrative would be “this is a great series” instead of “wow, look at this gag job the Sixers are doing.” What all of this leads to is that the Sixers — despite everything we’ve talked about here — are still not only favored to win the series, they’re favored in this game. We’re not laying points, but we’re not going to run with the prevailing narrative, either.
Pick: Sixers moneylne (-121, Barstool Sportsbook)
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