There are a few intriguing matchups in the NBA Friday including a couple of rematches from the first round of last year’s postseason.
Stick around to read why the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers‘ spreads are my best bets in NBA’s Friday slate.
This is the 2nd of a 76ers-Raptors back-to-back and Toronto beat Philly in their 1st meeting Wednesday 119-109. The Raptors outperformed the Sixers in three of the “four factors”.
Generally, I’d be betting on the team that just lost based on the Zig-Zag Theory but the Raptors match up well with the Sixers. Toronto will gas Philly in transition and the 76ers’ offense is too predictable.
Toronto likes to push the pace off of turnovers and live rebounds. The Raptors lead the NBA in transition frequency and fastbreak points per game (PPG).The Toronto Raptors getting out in transition with Philadelphia 76ers big Joel Embiid in pursuit at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada. (Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
The Sixers have the worst defensive efficiency in transition and allow the most fastbreak PPG. Also, Philly’s Big 3: Joel Embiid, James Harden, and Tyrese Maxey are all offensively-minded players.
A lack of two-way players for the Sixers gives Toronto head coach Nick Nurse a schematic edge over Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers …Philly plays too much 1-on-1 ball
The Sixers defending the Raptors in transition takes away from their offense. Embiid gets tired and doesn’t try to dominate Toronto in the paint.
Also, Philadelphia runs the 2nd-highest volume of isolation offense mostly through Harden and Embiid. But, the Raptors have the length and defensive tenacity to give Harden and Embiid issues when they try to create off the dribble.Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid trying to create for himself against Toronto Raptors forwards Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada. (Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
Philly struggles to match up with Toronto’s small-ball lineup. Pascal Siakam is the Raptors’ starting center but he is more of a wing. Siakam’s offensive versatility reduces Embiid’s effectiveness on both ends of the floor.
Nurse’s ability to scheme different defenses will hamper Philadelphia’s basic offense and create easier possessions for Toronto.
The defending Eastern Conference champion Celtics host the Cavs at the TD Garden Friday for a 7:30 p.m. ET tip-off. Boston won two of three regular-season meetings with Cleveland in 2021-22 and covered in all three.
Cavs newly acquired All-Star Donovan Mitchell is one of the best PnR players in the NBA and the Celtics struggle to defend ball handlers in PnR action.
Cleveland runs the 5th-highest volume of PnR through ball handlers and has 4th-best offensive efficiency in those play types.Cleveland Cavaliers Donovan Mitchell orchestrating the offense against the Washington Wizards at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland. (Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
Boston has the 6th-worst PnR defensive efficiency vs. ball handlers and Mitchell lit the Celtics up last season while playing for the Utah Jazz.
Mitchell averaged 35.5 PPG on 69.2% true shooting (.543/.346/1.000) and a +7 net rating in two meetings with the Celtics last season.Cavs are taking ‘sharp’ money
This is a Pros vs. Joe’s game in the betting market. Per VSIN, a slight majority of the cash is on Cleveland and nearly 55% of the bets placed are on Boston.
Typically, it’s wise to follow the money when it’s counter to the public because professional bettors wager a lot more money than your average Joe.
Also, the Cavs are 27-14-2 ATS vs. teams with a winning record and a +4.2 ATS margin since the beginning of last season. The Celtics are 10-15 ATS over that span vs. winning teams.
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