Jason’s 2018-19 NBA picks record through May 6: 29-29-1 ATS, 0-6 ML (minus-12.63 units), 37-25-1 Totals
Philadelphia (6-3 SU and ATS) at Toronto (6-3 SU, 5-4 ATS)
Tuesday, 8:00 p.m. ET, TNT
Free NBA Pick: Over
Recommended Sportsbook: 5 Dimes
At what point do we say “To heck with it’ and put the ‘under’ in our NBA picks for this series? The Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers were at it again last Sunday, destroying the poor rims at the WFC and making us look silly once again here at the home office. Final score: Toronto 101, Philadelphia 96 (Under 216). I might cry.
Obviously, we’re sticking with the ‘over’ for Tuesday’s Game 5 back in the T-Dot. It’s very important not to be results-oriented with these picks; eventually, some of those open misses from both teams will turn into buckets, and this time, there’s an even lower total of 211.5 points waiting for us on the NBA odds board as we go to press. It’s a moral imperative.
Brick Up Your Ears
We can’t blame you if you feel otherwise. All four games in this series have gone ‘under’ by a considerable amount; Sunday was another difficult day of 3-point shooting for the Raptors (10-of-31, 32.3 percent), and this time, Philadelphia also struggled from downtown (12-of-38, 31.6 percent). Some of that was good defense, of course. But only some of that.
You could try the spread instead, but there doesn’t appear to be quite enough profit margin to bother with. The Raptors are 6-point home faves at press time, down from –6.5 at the open, with 88 percent of early bettors loading up on the Sixers. Over at The USA Today, Jeff Sagarin’s projections have Toronto at just a shade below –5, while Nate Silver and the crew at FiveThirtyEight have the Raps at –6.5. No sale.
How Sick Are You?
Sagarin also has a combined score of 226.07 points lined up for Game 5, so if you care about money, the ‘over‘ is still the right play here – for a small sum. We can’t completely ignore how poorly both teams have been shooting thus far, especially with Joel Embiid (plus-3.5 OBPM, minus-5.3 DBPM in eight playoff games) reportedly needing an IV before Game 4. He shot 2-for-7 and didn’t care to flash his stretch-5 skills much.
We also have to watch out for Pascal Siakam (plus-3.3 OBPM, plus-0.2 DBPM in nine games). He was a game-time decision for Sunday after suffering a right calf contusion in Game 3; Siakam got the start and missed his first eight shots before wrapping up the day at 2-for-10, including 0-4 from beyond the arc. He’s only getting one day off to rest and recover. Maybe some of Serge Ibaka’s home cooking will help Siakam get back in the groove; in the meantime, we’ll stick with the ‘over’ for Game 5, and may the sphere be with you.