Teams at the pack of the top squads in a competitive Eastern Conference will go head-to-head on Monday night as the current No. 5 Philadelphia 76ers face the defending the champions Toronto Raptors at the Scotiabank Arena in Ontario.
Philly and Toronto each share 11 wins as of the moment with Nick Nurse and the Raptors just half a game above losing only four times compared to five by the Sixers.
Brett Brown led the Sixers to a 113-86 drubbing of the Miami Heat last Saturday, also an East contender. The points allowed in the said game is their lowest of the season. The Sixers banner a rock-solid core with the combination of size, strength, athleticism and outside shooting, and it proved wonders as they suffocated Jimmy Butler and the Heat.
One interesting storyline in this game is how the pain of the last Eastern Conference Semifinals loss would drive the Sixers on getting back at the Raptors, albeit now without Kawhi Leonard who served the dagger that broke their title chances.
Pascal Siakam now holds the steering wheel of the Raptors, and despite losing a chunk portion of their championship cast, they remain as one intimidating force especially on the defensive end. After 15 games, Nurse and the Raps are holding their opponents to only 41.3 percent shooting on the floor which is the best in the NBA.
Serge Ibaka remains doubtful and could miss his eighth straight game. Kyle Lowry is expected to remain in street clothes as well for the Raptors.
Furkan Korkmaz is listed as questionable due to a left ankle injury, but it would hardly matter as Josh Richardson has already reported back to work for the Sixers.
The Toronto Raptors are just a point favorites in this game while the line is offered at 214 pick em. The Philadelphia 76ers are not rattled by any win-streaking team as of late, prevailing against the spread over the last five games they faced an above .600 team.
Home-Road records of the respective teams are worth looking at. The Raptors are still unblemished at home with a 6-0 record, while the Sixers are holding a losing road tally with 4-5.
In total trends, the Raptors are 4-0 in the OVER selection when they play at home. The Sixers’ trend is also going OVER as their games’ total went over the line five times over their last seven games on the road.
The defending champs will stay flawless at home. Back them straight up. The game would go down to the wire but expect the Raptors to still win against the spread. Go against the O/U trend. The Sixers’ defensive battle troop is back in full force; the Raptors will not put their guard down, too. The total will go UNDER the line this time.