The Wizards have gotten off to a predictably poor start to the season, sitting 12th in the East at 6-13. Compare that to a Philly side that has looked the part all year, finding themselves in 4th at 15-6.
The Sixers opened as 6.5-point favourites in this one, getting the lion’s share of the early action. Especially with how terrible Washington have been defensively, I’m going to back Philly as road faves here.
Washington are probably even worse than their poor record would suggest. They’ve picked up wins against some of the dregs but struggled mightily against strong sides like the Clippers, Nuggets, and Lakers.
Philly are just a terrible matchup for them, primarily due to their ability on the interior with Horford and Embiid. Their perimeter defence is equally as bad, which could mean a big evening for Aussie Ben Simmons.
The strength of the Wizards is definitely their offence, although I don’t see smooth sailing against this elite Philly defence. They should struggle at the rim and will need to rely on abnormally strong outside shooting to compete here.
This is also a relatively good spot for Philly; playing their first game on the road after a few days off. The injury list is fairly light, with Josh Richardson the only rotation player expected to miss.
Overall, I’d expect Philly to dominate on both ends of the floor, with a particularly strong day from Embiid. Especially under the key number of 7, I like them to win and cover here.
Toronto have been as good as anyone expected this season, racing out to a 15-5 start. Houston are also going relatively strong out West, sitting nicely in 5th with a 13-7 record.
The Raptors are currently listed as 2-point favourites in this one and I like them to cover this relatively small line. They’ve been excellent while undermanned of late and the recent returns of Lowry and Ibaka should be very helpful.
Their defence has been outstanding recently and I think they match up quite well with the duo of Harden and Westbrook. They’ve got several solid wing defenders on the roster and will likely force Westbrook to shoot from deep here.
They also enter this clash relatively well rested, playing the third and final game of this homestand. An overtime loss to Miami last time out may actually help them here, as they’ve been 4-0 following a loss thus far.
Although Houston have a solid 13-7 record, most of their damage has come against some of the NBA’s dregs. They’ve struggled against better opponents, losing recently to the Nuggets, Clippers, and Mavericks.
It also isn’t a great spot for them, getting on the flight from Houston to Toronto after a gruelling Overtime loss. They enter this clash almost completely healthy, but we’ll see how Capela responds to getting 45 minutes in his first game back.
Ultimately, I think Toronto has a great home court, solid coaching edge, and several key matchup advantages here. Especially in such a high-profile game, I think they put on a show and get the win and cover.