Saturday, December 21

Toronto Raptors vs Washington Wizards, 11:30 am
Wizards +6.5

The 8-18 Wizards travel to face the 19-8 Raptors, getting 6.5 points as underdogs. Given the brutal injuries Toronto are facing, I’m going to take the points with the Wiz here.

Toronto was already a relatively thin side, but these injuries appear to have decimated them. Star Forward Pascal Siakam is out indefinitely with a groin injury, while Marc Gasol is slated to miss several weeks with a hamstring injury.

Their guard depth will also be tested, with injuries to both Powell and VanVleet that could keep them out here. Compare that to a Washington side that is essentially fully healthy and I think they’re undervalued getting 6.5 points.

This will be Toronto’s first full game without both Siakam and Gasol, which will really test their frontcourt. Washington have looked much better on the interior of late and I can see them having real success against backup options.

With Siakam out, Washington’s Brad Beal edges Kyle Lowry as the best player on the floor here. He also has a real favourable matchup, likely spending plenty of time against 3x Champion Pat McCaw.

As the injury news keeps coming out, I only see this number going in Washington’s favour. Get in now at +6.5 and you’re essentially getting a freeroll.

Philadelphia 76ers vs Dallas Mavericks, 12 pm
76ers -8

The 20-9 Sixers host the 18-9 Mavericks here, laying 8 points. Philly are the healthier and more talented team here and I expect them to both win and cover in this one.

They’re a very impressive 14-1 at home this season, that lone loss coming last time out to Miami. As such, I expect them to be very motivated here to put in a complete performance and come out with the win.

Dallas just aren’t the same team without star Forward Luka Doncic, who is very likely to miss this clash. They don’t have an offensive focal point without him, which should prove costly against an elite Philly defence.

On the flipside, Dallas aren’t much of a defensive juggernaut either. They’re particularly weak on the interior, and I love how the duo of Embiid and Horford match up here. Philly also have a strong advantage on the wing, with both Simmons and Harris having strong offensive advantages.

I also like the contrarian angle for Philly, with only 28% of punters backing them here. While the Mavs looked great with Luka, they’re definitely a below average side with him out.

Laying just 8 points, I’d expect a relatively comfortable Sixers win here.