Yesterday’s Results: 2-2
All Time Results: 79-87-2, -3.9 Units
Denver Nuggets +155 @ Portland Trail Blazers – 1 Unit
NBA Road teams up 3-2 in a playoff series as a small underdog (4 points or less) are on a solid multi-year run of 21-12 SU & 22-11 ATS. The market seems to assume too much that when teams are close a Game-7 is inevitable. More often than not the road team in this scenario is able to cash in on their free roll and end the series.
Enes Kanter outstanding performances have tailed off in the past couple games, leaving the Blazers exposed in their frontcourt. Younger Blazers center Zach Collins might have the gumption to shout at “Back the **** off” during a scrum with Nikola Jokic last game – but he doesn’t exactly have the “Back the *** off” game to back it up. Nuggets outscored the Blazers by close to 30 for the rest of the game after that moment.
Excluding games with Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray resting, the Nuggets have won 9 of their last 11 meetings with the Blazers. They have also covered their last 5 games in Portland against the spread, as well.
Lillard has not had the electricity in his game that he did when called out in the Thunder series. I like Jokic and the Nuggets to continue their stellar play and get it done tonight.
Double: Kawhi Leonard 35+Pts/Toronto to Win +380 (FanDuel) – 1 Unit
While the rest of the Raptors were able to make up for a sub-par shooting performance in Game 4 from Kawhi, they will need their best player to step up in this potential elimination game on the road. If history is any indication, he will do just that. Kawhi is the all-time leader in playoff True Shooting percentage at 63%. And I would argue that at 27 he is better than he’s ever been – and more confident.
Kawhi has scored 35+ in 3 of their 7 wins in the postseason. In a few of the ones where he didn’t hit that total his scoring exploits weren’t at all needed, such as Game 5 vs. Orlando or in their 36 point blow out last game. The 76ers have the talent and the desperation to keep firing and the Raptors will not have the luxury of seeing this game out calmly. They will need to score and keep scoring -and I like Leonard to take on the bulk of the responsibility in that department.
Pascal Siakam looked fully recovered from his calf injury, which is all to the good for the road team getting the win and the cover.
Raptors are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road games.
Philadelphia 76ers Team Total Under 106.5 – 1 Unit
The Raptors have held their opponent at or under their team total in 8 of their 10 playoffs game so far this season. I expect this trend to continue especially as Ben Simmons has been mostly relieved of his on-ball duties. With Jimmy Butler running point the 76ers are more of a half-court, grind-it-out team.
Joel Embiid has been up and down, but mostly down these playoffs. Not sure how much his illnesses and knee problems have attributed to his poor play, but I don’t expect it to be righted immediately. When he’s off his game, the 76ers offense have struggled mightily.