Toronto dominated Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series and cruised to a 108-95 win over the 76ers at home. On Monday, the Raptors will look to go up 2-0 before the series shifts to Philadelphia. The Sixers, meanwhile, will try to figure out how to correct what went wrong in Game 1 and even the series while stealing home-court advantage with a win in Game 2. The Raptors won the regular-season series 3-1, as well, including both games in Toronto.
Can the Sixers pick up their first win north of the border or will the Raptors continue to roll? Here’s what I think will happen and how you can get a piece of the action in DraftKings single-game Showdown contests this Monday.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
FIVE BETTING TRENDS— The Raptors have won each of their past 32 home games against Atlantic Division opponents.
— The 76ers have failed to cover the spread in each of their past six road Conference Semifinals games.
— Kawhi Leonard has scored 31-plus points in four of his past five games vs. Philadelphia.
— J.J. Redick has scored the first basket in four of his past five games with the 76ers as underdogs.
— Nine of Toronto’s past 10 Monday night games have gone OVER the points line.
Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
Philadelphia 76ersPhiladelphia shot 39.3% from the field in Game 1 while allowing the Raptors to shoot a ridiculous 51.9%. The Sixers will have to step up on defense and get much better shooting themselves if they want to turn the tide. Tobias Harris ($9,400) was the best fantasy option in Game 1, finishing with 14 points, 15 rebounds, six assists and 43.75 DKFP in 38 minutes. He wasn’t extremely efficient but vastly out-paced Jimmy Butler ($6,800), who also played 38 minutes but only managed 20.25 DKFP while shooting 4-for-12 from the field. Butler specifically needs to have a much better game for Philadelphia to get a win. He did have a monster game against the Raptors in December before Harris joined the team.
Ben Simmons ($9,800) shot well in Game 1, going 7-for-8 from the field, but only managed three assists and 32.75 DKFP. He hasn’t had a huge game since exploding against Brooklyn in Games 2 and 3 of their first-round series. With Joel Embiid ($11,800) back in the three games since then, Simmons has taken a back seat on offense and doesn’t have the same space to attack the rim.
Embiid continues to battle through knee soreness and looks far from fully healthy. He had just 16 points, eight rebounds and 29.5 DKFP against the Raptors in Game 1 for his lowest production and first game without a double-double in the postseason. Toronto’s defensive focus was definitely to limit Embiid and force the Sixers to hit shots from outside. If the Sixers can start hitting more outside shots, things could open up down low, but this clearly is a tough matchup for Embiid since the Raptors have plenty of length and athleticism to match up with him on the block. He always has a high ceiling but I’m staying away at this price based on the matchup and his current health.
If you’re looking for value plays from the Sixers, you could take a look at Furkan Korkmaz ($1,600), who scored five points and had 15 DKFP in 12 minutes off the bench in Game 1. James Ennis III ($2,200) played more minutes in the second unit but didn’t have as well-rounded of a stat line and doesn’t offer the same shooting upside. Jonah Bolden ($1,000) played 13 minutes off the bench as the most active backup big man. He did take six shots but only made one and finished with 9.75 DKFP in 13 minutes.
If the 76ers are going to even the series, they’ll need big bounce-back games from Butler and Embiid. Either one can carry the team if they’re on, but Harris is actually the safest play of the group since he has been their most consistent playoff contributor.
Editor’s Note: Embiid (gastroenteritis) will play in tonight’s game.
RaptorsThe Raptors were carried in Game 1 by their frontcourt duo of Kawhi Leonard ($11,600) and Pascal Siakam ($9,600), who were the only Raptors in double figures scoring as they combined for 70 points while shooting a combined 28-for-38 (74%) from the field. Leonard looked unstoppable with 45 points, 11 rebounds and 69.75 DKFP and even filled in some defensive stats with a block and two steals. It was a career high in playoff scoring for Kawhi and matched his regular-season high as well. The Raptors have managed his workload all season to get this level of production in the playoffs, and right now, the plan seems to be working magnificently. In four games against Philadelphia this season, Leonard has averaged 34 points, 8.5 rebounds and 57.4 DKFP per contest. He’ll continue to carry the load in Game 2.
Siakam doesn’t have the name recognition of Kawhi, but he has definitely been one of the most improved players this season and emerged as a key piece of the Raptors’ starting unit. Siakam’s 29 points and 39.25 DKFP were overshadowed by Leonard’s big game, but his contributions have helped hide the continued struggles of Kyle Lowry ($9,000). I’m not as confident in Siakam matching his Game 1 output as I am about Leonard’s continued success, but he’s still a nice play given his current form.
Lowry and Marc Gasol ($6,600), were both relegated to smaller roles with Kawhi and Siakam carrying the scoring load, but Gasol’s contributions were key in slowing down Embiid. Gasol played 26 minutes and had 19.5 DKFP while Lowry had 28.25 DKFP in 38 minutes. If Siakam does slow down, Gasol or Lowry will need to pick up some scoring in Game 2, but both are a little over-priced based on recent form.
Danny Green ($4,800) played a ton of minutes in his Game 1 start but only took five shots and finished with 12.25 DKFP. If you’re looking for a play around $5K, Serge Ibaka ($5,000) is actually a better option even though he’s coming off the bench. He had success guarding Embiid and had seven points and six boards to finish with 18.5 DKFP. Fred VanVleet ($4,400) was the other player very involved off the Raptors bench, posting 12 DKFP in 23 minutes. VanVleet and Ibaka can offer a bit of salary relief, but there aren’t many bargain options from Toronto worth considering since they don’t really get enough run.
THE OUTCOMEThe 76ers haven’t shown they can slow down Leonard ($17,400 CP) at all this season, which makes him a good option as a Captain’s Pick even though you’ll have to manage your cap wisely after dropping so much on him. Harris ($14,100 CP) would be my favorite Sixers player as a CP and does allow more flexibility as well. If you think Butler ($13,200 CP) will turn things around, he also could end up being a good value Captain’s Pick. With Embiid not at 100% and Kawhi playing at such a high level, I think the Raptors should go up 2-0 with another win at home.
Final Score: Toronto 120, Philadelphia 105
Favorite Prop Bet
Tobias Harris to get a double-double (+300)Harris had 15 rebounds in Game 1 and tied for the team high with 38 minutes. It was his second double-double of his past four games while getting more work at PF in the absence of Mike Scott (heel) off the bench. Harris laid an egg in the first game of the postseason, but has averaged 19.6 points and 10.6 rebounds in his five games since. Aside from a blowout win in Game 5 against the Nets, Harris has played at least 35 minutes in each of those games. He has been just a rebound or two short when he hasn’t gotten a double-double, so I like his chances at these long odds to get there in Game 2.
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