NBA Picks: Raptors vs. 76ers

Joe Catalano

Friday, January 18, 2013 2:20 PM GMT

After two days of rest, the Philadelphia 76’ers (16-23) spring back into action as they host the Toronto Raptors (14-25), who have lost 3 consecutive games. Is there any betting value to be found for tonight's NBA picks? Let's see.

It’s a bit early to think about the playoffs, but the Sixers are currently the number 9 team in the Eastern Conference and Jrue Holiday has Philly believing.

Tip-off is scheduled for Friday, 7:00 pm ET at the Well Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Currently, the NBA odds makers at 5Dimes Sportsbook, lists the Sixers as a 4 point betting favorite and the total for the game is 190.

Philly has lost 8 out of its last 10 games, but this is certainly a winnable game. Can the Sixers build something before the All-Star break is the question? Find out which way we are leaning with our NBA picks tonight.

[gameodds]5/134347/43/us[/gameodds]

“Don’t Stop, Believing…”

Philadelphia’s journey in the 2012-2013 has been a bumpy one thus far, as injuries and inconsistent play have put this team behind the 8-ball. There’s a 4.5 game gap seperating the number 8 team in the East in the Boston Celtics and the Sixers. It’s still anybody’s race in the Eastern Conference, but the Sixers have been going backwards lately.

True Jrue

Point guard Jrue Holiday has drastically improved this season, as he is now a 2nd tier point guard. Evidence of this is the 29 point, 11 assist effort that Holiday provided against the New Orleans Hornets in his last outing. Holiday is almost at superstar status, as his 19 points, 8.8 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game can attest to, but he’s not there yet. He makes players around him better, but this still isn’t a winning team. Until that time, Holiday’s status will remain the same. A victory over the Raptors is certainly possible, and it would be a step in the right direction

A Loss Is a Victory?

Even though the Raptors were defeated in their most recent game, a 107-105 loss at home to the Chicago Bulls, they took a lot away from the game. Guards Kyle Lowry and Alan Anderson came off the bench to make huge contributions.

Anderson had 27 points and 5 rebounds on 10 of 18 shooting from the field, while Lowry had 26 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds. Toronto need’s both of these players to gain confidence coming off of their most recent performances.

Tinkering With the Offense

The Raptors have been dealing with injuries all season. Currently Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas are out of action, and Kyle Lowry is playing injured. Lowry can easily be a starter, but Jose Calderon has been starting due to his ability to stay healthy and get others involved. Calderon has an offensive game but rarely looks to shoot. Knicks castoff, Landry Fields, has also moved into a starting role and although inconsistent, he’s provided Toronto with some rebounding. Basically, the Raptors want to make him earn his contract and he’s been a presence on the court in return.

The one player that has really prospered due to injuries has been power forward, Ed Davis. Davis has an outside and inside game at 6 foot 10, 232 pounds. In his last 5 games, he’s averaging 14.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. These are just the type of numbers that he’s been giving the Raptors overall since becoming a starter. Toronto is looking for the best possible combination to start and it’s a work in progress.

Lack of consistency is what hurts the Raptors. They’re just as good as Philadelphia, but you don’t know which Raptor team will show up on any given night.

Outcome

This should be a close game. The 76’ers have really been playing poorly as of late and Toronto has the size and skill to match up with this team. Add the Raptors and the points to your sports picks tonight to help kick your weekend off on the right foot.

NBA Pick: Toronto +4