The Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors are set to do battle in the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs as the fourth and fifth seeds, respectively. A ticket to the second round is on the line.
The Sixers have the star power and high-level depth, while the Raptors are a well-balanced team with great size and length, buoyed by a youthful exuberance and one of the best coaches in the NBA in Nick Nurse.
This NBA Playoff series, which begins Saturday in Philadelphia, will be the first with legal and regulated Ontario sports betting.
The Ontario sports betting and iGaming markets launched on April 4, just in time for the end of the NBA season and the start of the playoffs.
According to BetRivers Canada, the two teams most wagered on during the first week were the Raptors and the Toronto Blue Jays. Among bettors on the BetRivers.ca app, the NBA was the most popular sport, receiving 36% of all handle.
Raptors vs. Sixers Series Schedule
- Game 1: Saturday, 6 p.m., in Philadelphia.
- Game 2: Monday, 7:30 p.m., in Philadelphia.
- Game 3: Wednesday, 8 p.m., in Toronto.
- Game 4: April 23, 2 p.m., in Toronto.
- Game 5: If necessary, April 25, TBD, in Philadelphia.
- Game 6: If necessary, April 28, TBD, in Toronto.
- Game 7: If necessary, April 30, TBD, in Philadelphia.
How They Fared Against Each Other This Season
The Sixers started this season without the services of Ben Simmons, who decided to sit out the basketball year and wait for a trade. That left Philadelphia without one of its best players, and its defense suffered as a result.
However, an MVP caliber season from Joel Embiid has kept the Sixers competitive, while the growth of Tyrese Maxey, Shake Milton, and Matisse Thybulle have helped steady the ship. Of course, at the Feb. 10 trade deadline, the Sixers added superstar scorer James Harden, while unloading Simmons, and that changed the trajectory of their season.
Still, we’re waiting for Philadelphia to find its top gear. And coming into a series against a Raptors team that won three of the four regular season meetings, it's going to be a mental hurdle Philadelphia will need to clear if it wants any chance of progressing to the next round.
The Raptors are an elite disruptive unit on the defensive end, and the growth of Pascal Siakam as a scorer and facilitator can’t be ignored as a major factor heading into this series.
Series Odds for Ontario Sports Betting
When it comes to a seven-game series, generally speaking, you have to favor the team with the most talented players — and that is the Philadelphia 76ers. Sure, Scottie Barnes and Siakam are going to be major factors for the Raptors, but neither are at the level of the Embiid and Harden duo — that type of talent is hard to stop, and usually wins out in post-season basketball.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook Ontario, the Sixers are odds-on favorites to win the series at -180, while the Raptors are considered the underdogs at +150. These odds are logical given the difference in talent between the two rosters. But it’s worth noting the Raptors have the regular-season superiority and the continuity within their roster, which means they will handle adversity better, and that can be the difference between winning or losing the series.
How the Sixers & Raptors Match Up
When you look at the two rosters, there are a lot of similarities. The Raptors and Sixers have great length, play a bruising style of basketball and rely on perimeter-based offense to generate their points.
But Embiid and Harden are the two clear-cut best players in this series, with Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey being close to Siakam and OG Anunoby’s level. With such a gap in top-level talent, the Sixers should be considered favorites to come through the series.
However, Thybulle’s absence in away games due to his vaccination status can’t be ignored considering his importance to the Sixers’ defensive schemes.
Prop Bets to Consider
FanDuel Sportsbook Ontario, which is up and running in the market, has some props available with some that provide solid value.
Series Points Leader
|⭐ Joel Embiid
|⭐ Pascal Siakam
|⭐ James Harden
|⭐ Fred VanVleet
|⭐ Tyrese Maxey
|⭐ Gary Trent Jr.
Series Total Games
|⭐ 4 Games
|⭐ 5 Games
|⭐ 6 Games
|⭐ 7 Games
Betting on the Sixers is a wise choice in this series, but a lot depends on how well Harden and Embiid mesh together. There’s no doubting the potential is there, but the Sixers will need that potential to come to the fore if they want to progress onto the second round in the coming weeks.