Raptors vs 76ers
Vegas Favorite – 76ers (-8.0), O/U – 219.0
This matchup features the top team in the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors, facing off with the number four ranked Philadelphia 76ers, who are 3.5 games behind the Raptors. The Raptors have handily beaten the 76ers twice already this season but will be playing tonight without their top scorer Kawhi Leonard, who put up 31 points in October’s win and 36 points when the teams met earlier this month. Serge Ibaka, Kyle Lowry and Danny Green are also questionable for the Raptors tonight, leaving the offense substantially weakened. The already strong 76ers, who are 3rd best in the league for offense and 18th best for defense since acquiring Jimmy Butler from the Timberwolves will definitely go all out to take full advantage of an injury plagued Raptors team but they will need to avoid turning the ball over. The 76ers had a major problem with turnovers in their losses to the Raptors, with 18 turnovers from Ben Simmons alone across those two matchups. This gave a major advantage to the Raptors, who used the plays resulting from those turnovers to outscore the 76ers 56-33 off them. If the 76ers can keep control of the ball and continue to use their offensive weapons they have a real chance of winning due to the some of Toronto’s key players being sidelined for this matchup.
Players to Watch
Fred VanFleet (TOR) – ($5,800/22.05 FPPG)
Season Averages : 9.9 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 4.5 APG
Ben Simmons (PHI) – ($9,300/41.94 FPPG)
Season Averages : 15.8 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 7.9 APG
Thunder vs Jazz
Vegas Favorite – Jazz (-1.5), O/U – 218.0
The Jazz have had played well in their last two games, beating the Warriors by five and completely dominating the Trailblazers in Portland by 30 points yesterday. They will look to continue this trend tonight as they play at home against the 20-10 Oklahoma City Thunder who are only 1.0 game behind the Western Conference leading Denver Nuggets. This will be one of the toughest stretches of the season for the Jazz with another game against Portland and then a meeting with the 76ers following tonight’s game. The Thunder have been on fire lately winning 7 of their last 10 games including an 11 point victory against the Jazz earlier in December. They also lead the NBA in defensive rating at the moment but their real strength lies in their offensive performers. Their aptly named Big Three, which consists of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Steven Adams have been averaging an astounding 71.8 points, 29.3 rebounds, 15.7 assists and 6.3 steals per game which not only makes them a killer force for the Thunder but also brings them to the top in every stat category for a set of any three players across the entire NBA. For the Jazz to have any hope of defeating the Thunder, they will have to limit as much performance from these three players as possible while also making sure they keep their own offensive performance in line with their past two games.
Players to Watch
Paul George (OKC) – ($9,800/47.19 FPPG)
Season Averages : 25.5 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 4.4 APG
Rudy Gobert (UTA) – ($8,700/39.47 FPPG)
Season Averages : 14.4 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 2.0 APG