Jordan’s NBA Picks: 68-51 (Playoffs 14-13)
Toronto (63-26 SU & 42-45 ATS) at Philadelphia (56-33 SU & 43-46 ATS)
Thursday, 8:00 PM EST, TNT
Free NBA Pick: Under
Best Line Offered: 5Dimes
Now that Philadelphia has swiped home court advantage from the Raptors, can Toronto gain it back on Thursday in what should be a close game?
No Need To Panic, Canada
Losing home court advantage in the days before Kawhi Leonard might have sent a shock to most Raptors fans. They are all too familiar with this team choking Game 1’s and just choking in general.
However, this is a new Raptors team with Leonard. Not only that, but Kyle Lowry is playing extremely well both this regular and postseason, while Pascal Siakam has been a revelation and a potential star in the making. Add in the steady veteran presence of Marc Gasol in the middle and this team is a force.
I am in no way changing my pick on them to win this series, even after losing Game 2. They looked out of sync offensively in Game 2 and they had some good looks that just didn’t go down. That meant they were fighting back all game and Philly never let them threaten them too much as they held onto the win.
However, if the Sixers defense is still locked in at home, this could not only be a tight one, but a low scoring game as well. Philly has a 104.7 defensive rating in the playoffs, while the Raptors have a playoff-best defense that is allowing just 96.6 points per 100 possessions.
The Sharp Pick
Since this is a somewhat desperate game for both teams, we could very well see a continuation of the tough defense from both teams. The Sixers have been very successful at home offensively this postseason, but that was against a Nets team with very little defensive presence. I don’t think we can take seriously the Sixers’ 117.1 home offensive rating in the postseason.
We will see a true representation of the Sixers’ depth and offense here in Game 3 though, and I think the Raptors’ defense is enough to keep them in the low 100s at best.
On the flip side, the Sixers’ defense is still very good and I expect the home crowd to help that some as well. It could be a sloppy one too, which would be a repeat of Game 2. Either way, the books have been way off on the pricing for totals in this series and under bettors have made out like bandits. While I do think they are closer in Game 3, the change in venue might keep both offenses down some in a very pivotal game.
Final Score Prediction: Raptors 108 – 76ers 107