Toronto Raptors will host the Philadelphia 76ers in the clash of the two division rivals on Thursday evening. The home side looks forward to boosting its confidence ahead of the playoffs. The visitors still challenge for the top spot in their division and will search for a positive result here.
Toronto continues the series of games on the home court, as this will be their third consecutive match in Scotiabank Arena. The hosts were successful in their latest encounter and want to build up on that performance. On the other hand, Philadelphia still has the chance to finish the regular season at the top of the Atlantic Division. The away side enjoys the winning streak, which they want to extend a bit longer.
Toronto Raptors – Can they celebrate on the home court?
The Raptors have already secured their playoffs ticket, and now, they want to enter the post-season full of confidence. They were pretty successful recently, losing just once on the previous seven occasions. Toronto is third in the Atlantic Division with a 46-33 record, being three wins behind their upcoming rivals. In their most recent match, the Raptors were better than the Atlanta Hawks in a 118-108 win. Despite being at only 43.6 field goal percentage, Toronto dominated the paint with 17 rebounds more than their opponents.
Pascal Siakam led them to victory with 31 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, one steal, and one block for 40 minutes on the court. He averages 22.5 pts, 8.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.2 steals per match, which makes him the Raptors’ most productive player. Fred VanVleet produces 20.3 points, 6.7 assists, 4.4 rebs, and 1.7 steals per contest, while Gary Trent Jr. contributes with 18.1 pts and tops the steals charts with 1.8. Two other players produce a double-digit number of points for Toronto on average. Regarding the availability issues, Yuta Watanabe is out of the selection, while OG Anunoby is listed as questionable.
Expected Line-Up: Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., Scottie Barnes, Chris Boucher, Pascal Siakam
with best odds
Philadelphia 76ers – Will they extend their successful streak?
The 76ers will fight for first place in the Atlantic Division since they are leveled with the Boston Celtics with a 49-30 record. Philadelphia celebrated three times in a row, and they continue their series of road games in Toronto. If they pick up where they left off, the 76ers might climb to the 2nd spot in the Eastern Conference, but that depends on other results as well. Philadelphia managed to beat the Indiana Pacers 131-122 in their latest match thanks to Joel Embiid’s 45 points, 13 rebounds, two assists, and one block for 39 minutes in the game.
Joel Embiid is also among the MVP contenders for this season, averaging 30.4 points, 11.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.5 blocks, and 1.1 steals per contest. James Harden is the 76ers’ second-most productive player with 21.4 pts, 10.1 assists, 7.4 rebs, and 1.4 steals, while Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey contribute with more than 17 points per game each. Philadelphia should have a clean bill of health ahead of this game, and all players can be considered.
Expected Line-Up: Tyrese Maxey, James Harden, Matisse Thybulle, Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid
Expert Pick #1 – Toronto Raptors to Win @-110
It will be an even match, and both teams have the chance to fight for better seeding. However, I trust the hosts more, as they have been confident on their court. Philadelphia has been running hot and cold on the road, and I’ll back the Raptors to win this one as my first pick.
Expert Pick #2 – Under 219 @-110
Toronto hasn’t been involved in many high-scoring matches recently since just six games of their last 19 went over the margin. I expect another tight encounter that shouldn’t go over a 219 margin. Therefore, I’ll go with the Under as my second bet.
Expert Pick #3 – Joel Embiid Under 32.5 @-125
Although Embiid is in the race for the MVP award, I don’t think he will produce more than 32 points in this one. He scored 28.5 pts on average against the Raptors, and since the hosts are decent in defense, I don’t see him going over the margin. That’s going to be my third pick and could be a good one for those searching for lower odds.