Raptors Ready to Cover Against 76ers -- Embiid or Not

Jordan Sharp

Thursday, December 21, 2017 6:29 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017 6:29 PM UTC

It’s a smaller night of NBA action, but it’s a big night for road favorites. Rumors are swirling about Joel Embiid's possible return to Philadelphia's lineup, but could that just help a play on visiting Toronto?

NBA Thursday: Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers

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Free NBA Pick: Raptors -2½
Best Line Offered: Heritage

Toronto is a very good team. I’m not sure if they are finally to elite status, but their numbers look pretty damn good. On the flip side of this one, there is only one name that matters -- Joel Embiid.

The 76ers' big man reportedly was going to miss two more games, but he was spotted at the shootaround Thursday morning so it’s possible he suits up after being upgraded to questionable However, even if Embiid comes back tonight, I doubt it’s for 40 minutes, and the Sixers have been scuffling lately anyway, losing seven of their last eight games. Philly is 8-7 ATS this season at home, compared to 10-7 ATS for the Raptors on the road.

The Raptors are historically an average team when playing as road favorites, but they have been consistent money-makers against the East over the years and that has continued this season at 8-6 ATS. Of all the road favorites tonight, this is the one that isn’t a trap. I could be wrong, but the Raptors are head and shoulders above most of the East not named Boston and Cleveland, and I don’t think the books or the betting public have caught on to that yet.

With the line teetering because of the Embiid questionmark, I’m going to embrace it and lay the points with the road team. The Raptors are one of only three teams -- including the Warriors and Rockets -- who are top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. That will play tonight regardless of Embiid’s status

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