Professional athletes have been trained to let things go they cannot control. However, for every “that was last year and we’ve moved on” there is another player angry a decade later where they were drafted or how some team misused his skills.
Free NBA Basketball Preview, Odds and Pick for Philadelphia vs Toronto
Philadelphia lost their series to Toronto in the cruelest of ways, a Kawhi Leonard falling out of bounds corner jumper draped with two Sixers players on him; this has already turned into an iconic photo.
The 76ers are 29-16 SU, 21-21-3 ATS and like bananas, their play this season has come in bunches, both good and bad. Off their hard-fought win Monday at Brooklyn, Philly as won four in a row. Only twice all season have the Sixers won or lost just one time and not has the same result in the next contest.
What coach Brett Brown wants to see is more grit on the road. Having won the first two games on the road in this three-game away set, Brown’s team is still an unimpressive 9-14 SU (9-13-1 ATS). Winning without Joel Embiid does show character and that is what this squad needs, the ability to overcome itself as much as the opposing team at times.
Here’s a look at the latest NBA odds.
76ers +5.5 points -110
Raptors -5.5 points -110
Toronto has defended the championship banner far better than expected. While they might really miss Leonard come playoff time, they are going to fight to the end to defend their championship banner. Their record is 29-14 (23-19 ATS) and they went a month with several injured key players and endured. Now healthy, the Raptors could easily return to being the No. 2 seed again in the East.
Credit head coach Nick Nurse, who showed in the postseason he’s unafraid to change things up, trusts his players to be prepared and he expects them to excel when called upon.
Pascal Siakam was already a budding star, Kyle Lowry’s as dependable as the sun setting in the west and Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka anchoring the middle. However, Fred VanVleet is now an 18+ point scorer and Norman Powell is instant offense most nights, backed up by having a Top 6 defense in point allowed and shooting percentage defense, this group is for real.
It would be relatively easy to make a case for the 76ers for NBA picks, winners of four straight and 24-11 ATS after a division game. However, I cannot overlook Toronto is 19-5 ATS at home vs. division opponents, part of which the Raptors are 8-1 SU and 7-2 ATS against Philly. Plus, the Sixers besides having a poor road record, have lost five in a row as away underdogs and not covered the past four.
Doug Upstone’s Free Pick – Toronto -5.5 (Visit Doc’s Sports for more expert NBA Picks)
Doug Upstone is a top sports analyst for Doc's Sports and one of the sports industry's most respected handicappers. Find more from Doug and other top handicappers at DocSports.com