Before the Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors began their playoff series, Toronto was a trendy pick for an upset in Ontario sports betting.
The Sixers didn’t project as a roster capable of playing as a team, and James Harden’s commitment to playmaking had people fooled about his ability to consistently score. Factor in the Raptors’ impressive length and athleticism across their roster, and you can understand why people could see an upset in making.
However, the Sixers are proving everybody wrong right now, as they lead the Raptors 2-0 and are demonstrating their championship credentials.
Game 3 on Wednesday will be the first NBA Playoff game in Toronto since the province launched the fully regulated iGaming market on April 4.
Raptors vs. Sixers Series Schedule
- Game 1, April 16 in Philadelphia: Sixers 131, Raptors 111
- Game 2, April 18 in Philadelphia: Sixers 112, Raptors 97
- 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.
What Happened in First Two Games
Toronto has struggled mightily to control any aspect of the first two games. The Sixers’ Joel Embiid has embraced his role as the dominant force in the series and ended Game 2 with 31 points and 11 rebounds. He had a 19-point, 15-rebound performance in the first game.
Tyrese Maxey is also coming up big in the clutch for the Sixers and has been one of the best players in the first two games. With how the Sixers have been performing, they currently boast the best three talents in the series, which has put the Raptors at a huge disadvantage.
Pascal Siakam is unquestionably the Raptors’ best player right now, but has struggled to impact the game as dramatically as his counterparts thus far.
Of course, Fred VanVleet was always going to play a huge role for the Raptors, but his 30.4% shooting in Game 2 killed any chance of the Raptors evening up the series. Luckily, Philadelphia heads to the Scotiabank Arena for the next two games, where Toronto will have home court advantage and will look to even the series.
We won’t be seeing Matisse Thybulle over the next two games due to his ineligibility to play in Canada because of COVID vaccination rules, which will be another helping hand as the Raptors try to come back from a tough deficit.
NBA Championship Odds
|⭐ Phoenix Suns||+300|
|⭐ Golden State Warriors||+350|
|⭐ Milwaukee Bucks||+440|
|⭐ Miami Heat||+700|
|⭐ Boston Celtics||+750|
|⭐ Brooklyn Nets||+1400|
|⭐ Memphis Grizzlies||+1500|
|⭐ Philadelphia 76ers||+1600|
|⭐ Utah Jazz||+3500|
|⭐ Dallas Mavericks||+4900|
|⭐ Minnesota Timberwolves||+11000|
|⭐ Denver Nuggets||+12000|
|⭐ New Orleans Pelicans||+13000|
|⭐ Toronto Raptors||+13000|
|⭐ Chicago Bulls||+24000|
|⭐ Atlanta Hawks||+37000|
How the Odds are Shaping Up
According to DraftKings Sportsbook Ontario, the Sixers were odds-on favorites to win the series at -180, while the Raptors were +150 heading into this series. FanDuel Sportsbook Ontario had +600 odds on the first-round meeting between these two ending in four games.
However, with the Sixers now holding a commanding two-game lead, the odds look vastly different. According to DraftKings Sportsbook Ontario, the Sixers are now heavily favored to take care of business with odds of -2000, while the Raptors uphill battle is portrayed by their +1000 odds.
There is still a slight chance the Raptors can come back in this series and claim a victory, but one loss out of their next two home games, and their fate is all but sealed.
Some Prop Bets to Keep an Eye On
Embiid is well-known to perform at a higher level when playing in front of a home crowd, and while he’s still an exceptional talent when playing on the road, his scoring numbers do tend to slightly dip.
However, Embiid will find ways to be dominant beyond scoring, and we should expect him to continue beating up the Raptors’ defense on their home court. He’s made a career out of being a physically dominating player, after all. Embiid is -115 to combine for more than 48.5 total points, assists and rebounds at DraftKings Sportsbook (The under is -120). He's -105 for under 31.5 points.
One bet that makes sense is backing the Raptors to score over 107.5 points during the upcoming game. The Raptors dropped 111 points in Game 1 and should have no problem doing so again Wednesday, especially as Thybulle — one of Philadelphia’s best perimeter defenders, won’t be taking the floor. You can get odds of -115 from DraftKings on this eventuality becoming a reality.
While the Raptors are technically a good matchup for the Sixers, Philadelphia is out to prove it’s a championship-level team, and the best way to do that is by sweeping an opponent many thought could cause an upset. Ideally, in playoff scenarios, the away team looks to split its games, so, if the Sixers can garner a win in one of the next two games, we will be looking at a gentleman’s sweep.
Of course, there’s always the likelihood of Philadelphia asserting its dominance and winning the next two straight games, but the Raptors are too talented and too proud for them to just roll over and accept their fate.