Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#575 Philadelphia 76ers -1.5 vs.
#576 Toronto Raptors 224.5
Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 7:35pm EST
Scotiabank Arena, Toronto
Written by Jordy

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The slumping Philadelphia 76ers are hoping for better luck on the road in Tuesday’s Eastern Conference showdown with the Toronto Raptors. Philly kicked off the first part of the doubleheader by dropping their fourth consecutive road loss to the Raptors on Sunday. It marked Toronto’s fourth-straight victory in a run where they’ve also defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves and swept the Milwaukee Bucks in a previous doubleheader on the road.

Road woes continue for Philly

If the Raptors would let Philly paint the Sixers logo in the middle of the floor on Tuesday night, it would drastically increase the Sixers chances of winning.

No, I’m not kidding.

The Sixers have the best home record in the Eastern Conference (13-2), while surprisingly falling to 7-9 on the road in Sunday’s loss to the Raptors.

Even in a game where Ben Simmons dropped a team-high 28 points, the Sixers still couldn’t win on the road. It marked their fourth-straight loss within a six-game span.

They’ll need more help from their bench if they have any hope of turning things around in the second part of the doubleheader. Unless Joel Embiid can add another otherworldly performance to his resume, the Sixers aren’t beating this red-hot Raptors team with the bench only contributing 16 points. But such has been the case throughout the season for a Philly team averaging only 110.6 points per game on the road.

It’s a real problem that doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon.

Toronto’s defense is also a problem that isn’t going away. They have held their last three opponents to an average 39.1 percent shooting. So yes, they’re locking everyone up.

The Sixers know a thing or two about great defense when they’re at home. However, let’s see if it can finally translate on the road against a Raptors team growing more confident after every outing.

Raptors looking a fifth-straight win

The Raptors have been one of the biggest teases all season.

There are times when they spring to life and actually look like a team on the rise more so than a roster in rapid decline. They have clearly looked exceptional in their recent four-game stretch by sweeping the Bucks in a previous doubleheader, handling business at Minnesota and knocking off the Sixers on Sunday.

Can they keep their foot on the gas?

That all depends on the resurging Pascal Siakam. Yes, Fred VanVleet is amazing, and Chris Boucher has been an exceptional contributor, along with Norman Powell and OG Anunoby. And we all know what Kyle Lowry (out) brings to the table when he’s healthy and on the floor.

But success for the Raptors is dependent on Siakam developing into a star. He was the reason why the Raptors passed on the idea of bringing Paul George to Toronto and potentially setting up the Kawhi Leonard-led super duo.

He dropped 23 points and helped the Raptors lock things down on defense in Sunday’s outing against the Sixers. The team will need another two-way effort to keep Philly down in the second half of the doubleheader.

They aren’t scoring a ton of points, but they’re holding opponents to an average 106.9 points per game. That defensive effort has carried them to four straight wins, and it’s the only thing capable of carrying them to a fifth against a Sixers team that looks shook on the road.

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The Raptors are giving Joel Embiid the Giannis Antetokounmpo treatment.

They are swarming the star center as soon as he has the ball in his hands to force him to trust someone else to make plays. It’s a smart strategy when facing an opponent averaging 44.7 percent shooting in their last three outings. Not to mention the Sixers have struggled in general when playing away from their home building.

This is nothing like the team that shows up to play at the Wells Fargo Center.

The problem for the Sixers is the difficulty in trusting the other guys to show up. Tobias Harris can clearly do better than the 13 points he contributed against the Raptors on Sunday, but that 28-point performance from Ben Simmons wasn’t the norm. He could just as easily revert back to an offensive disappointment on Tuesday. Seth Curry is probable to play in this game, but he’s currently dealing with an ankle injury.

There are too many things to worry about for a Sixers team that has lost their last four road games. The Raptors have all of the momentum heading into this one.

I’m laying the points and sticking with Toronto.

Prediction: Toronto Raptors (+1.5)

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The Raptors aren’t blowing anyone away on the offensive end of the floor, and they don’t need to as long as they continue to play great defense. They have quietly climbed back into the top-10 defensive teams in the league, and they’re currently on a run where they’ve held their last three opponents to an average 93.3 points. Philly isn’t the same team on the road, and the Raptors are hell-bent on not allowing Joel Embiid to beat them. So this game will come down to Ben Simmons and company knocking down shots. I love Simmons’ defense, but I’m not putting money on his offense. Give me the under in this one.

Prediction: Under (224.5)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast, and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY, and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys, and all the Sun Drop you can drink.