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Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid reacts to his dunk during the second half of Game 3 of the team’s second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Toronto Raptors on May 2, 2019.
Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid reacts to his dunk during the second half of Game 3 of the team’s second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Toronto Raptors on May 2, 2019.|Chris Szagola | Associated Press
NBA

NBA Playoffs: With Pascal Siakam’s status in doubt, Frank has ideas on how to bet Raptors v Sixers - he also picks Nuggets v Trail Blazers

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

Raptors (+2.5) @ Sixers (214.5)
Pick: Under 214.5
I cannot pick a side in this game with Pascal Siakam’s status up in the air for Toronto. The Raptors released an injury report yesterday listing the Cameroonian as doubtful with a right calf contusion, but it wouldn’t shock me if that was some gamesmanship from Nick Nurse and company. Had Siakam been completely healthy, I’d probably be on Toronto to even this series, so now it’s a slight lean to the Sixers, but, ultimately, passing on the side is the smartest move here. For context, here’s how important Pascal Siakam is to the Raptors.

Toronto scoring after three games against the Sixers:
Kawhi Leonard: 113 points
Pascal Siakam: 70 points
Rest of team: 109 points

With Siakam either out, or very limited, I do think that creates good value on going under 214.5 in this one. Every game in the series so far has landed under the closing total and if Toronto is to even this series, the Raptors will have to muck it up today and win a game in similar fashion to the Sixers 94-89 Game 2 win in Canada. I also think there’s going to be some minor regression from Philly from beyond the arc in this one as the Sixers shot 10/23 from the three-point line on Thursday. I don’t even think there’s going to be much sweat on this under. I like a close game in the high 90s or low 100s today.

Nuggets (+3) @ Trail Blazers (210.5)
Pick: Trail Blazers -3
Pick: Under 210.5
I find it kind of suspect that this series has had just one day off after each of the previous three games, yet every other series had at least one gap of two straight off days so far and Golden State and Houston played Game 3 last night on three days of rest. Throw in the fact that these two teams played the first ever 4OT playoff game on Friday night and that makes for an interesting gambling angle to the second game on tonight’s NBA card. These two teams are playing less than 48 hours after the marathon in Game 3. It’s going to be hard enough to Denver to get back up from that kind of loss anyway, let alone on short rest. The zig-zag theory applies here too. With Houston’s cover last night, teams that fail to cover in their previous game in the second round are now 6-2 ATS in the ensuing game. Two of those covers were in this series as Portland won outright on the road in Game 2 and Denver covered in Friday’s shootout. This would suggest a Trail Blazers cover tonight and I’m down to follow the trend again. The Trail Blazers have not lost a game at home in the playoffs and Denver is now just 1-3 straight up on the road in the postseason. Portland has however failed to cover in its last two playoff home games. However, as just three-point chalk, I’m willing to take my chances that a Trail Blazers victory also covers the number. It’d be pretty hard to win three straight home playoff games with spreads no larger than -4.5 and not cover any of the three. With the quick turnaround, I love the under as well.