The Daily Sweat: 76ers' path to 2nd round got a lot easier vs. undermanned Raptors
The Toronto Raptors looked like a solid first-round upset pick against the Philadelphia 76ers. That changed fast.
Toronto's Scottie Barnes, one of the top three finalists for rookie of the year, suffered a sprained ankle in Game 1 and will likely miss Game 2. Thaddeus Young suffered a thumb injury and is also likely to miss Monday's game. Toronto coach Nick Nurse said Gary Trent Jr., who is dealing with a non-COVID illness, is also likely to be out.
Those are three key players for Toronto, and the 76ers are a 7.5-point favorite at BetMGM for Monday's Game 2.
There's also the matter of how Game 1 went. The 76ers looked fantastic, putting up 131 points in a 20-point win. The Raptors never really challenged in the game. Tyrese Maxey put up 38 points and if he's having his big breakout this postseason, the 76ers could be a very dangerous team.
The series isn't over yet but it's hard to see Toronto winning the second game with so many key players out. It seems hard to believe they'll cover the 7.5 points without them either. Perhaps Barnes, Young or Trent will be back this series but that doesn't seem like a guarantee.
The 76ers have the ability to make a deep run. Joel Embiid is an MVP finalist, James Harden is fantastic, and supporting players like Maxey looked great in Game 1. Even in a loaded Eastern Conference, the 76ers stand out. And suddenly they might have a pretty easy path to the second round due to some misfortune with the Raptors.
Here's a first look at the sports betting slate for Monday:
What other playoff games are on Monday?
The Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks continue their series with the Jazz up 1-0. The Mavericks battled without Luka Doncic and probably should have covered the 5.5-point spread, but some late free throws gave the Jazz a half-point cover. The Mavs are 5.5-point underdogs again for Game 2.
In another West series, the Denver Nuggets will try to shake off a bad Game 1 against the Golden State Warriors. The Nuggets lost 123-107 as Golden State's Jordan Poole went off for 30 points. Denver is a 6.5-point underdog and while they should play better in Game 2, Nikola Jokic is going to have to do it all in this series. And that still might not be enough.
It's the annual Patriots' Day Red Sox game, which starts a little after 11 a.m. Eastern time. That's great news for bettors who might want a distraction on Monday morning. The Red Sox face the Minnesota Twins and are -145 favorites. The pitching matchup is Dylan Bundy vs. Rich Hill, so maybe over 8.5 is the right play.
What else is on the schedule?
There are 11 games total on the MLB schedule, including the start of a fun Atlanta Braves-Los Angeles Dodgers series. The Dodgers are a huge -225 favorite for the first game with Clayton Kershaw, off his great first start, facing Huascar Ynoa.
There are also six games on the NHL schedule, highlighted by the Colorado Avalanche hosting the Washington Capitals. The Avalanche are in a battle with the Florida Panthers for the Presidents' Trophy, given to the best team in the regular season. The Avs have 116 points this season and the Panthers have 114. The Avs are -200 favorites against a good Caps team on Monday.
What's the best bet?
It seems too easy but I'll go with the 76ers. They played great in Game 1 and it's hard to figure how the Raptors will compete without Barnes, a fantastic all-around player, Trent and his 18.3 points per game and Young, a solid vet who averages about 18 minutes a game.