Last-place Philadelphia 76ers paying off for punters
Daniel Coyle, American Sports Correspondent | January 26, 2016
Phoenix Suns @ Philadelphia 76ers (-2.5)
Philadelphia 76ers get the nod from the bookmakers for just the second time this season in their tilt with Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, pegged as 3.5-point favourites in NBA betting at Coral.
Straight up losers in their first 18 games this season, the Sixers sit dead last in the NBA standings, with a dismal 6-39 record, but have shown signs of life since Christmas, tallying five SU wins in their past 14 outings, including two of their past four.
The club has also started to reward loyal punters, going 9-5 against the spread during their recent stretch of respectability that started with a 111-104 Boxing Day win in Phoenix as 11.5-point underdogs.
Philly was last pegged as betting chalk back on December 1st, picking up their first SU win of the campaign against Los Angeles Lakers while favoured by 1, and have performed far better with the bookies this season than they have on the court, posting a 20-24-1 ATS record overall.
Just seven of those ATS wins have come on their home floor this season, including just one win in December, but the Sixers have proven more reliable in recent contests at Wells Fargo Center, covering in three of their last four home dates, including ATS wins against Eastern powerhouses Cleveland and Chicago.
This season looks to be going in the opposite direction for the Suns, who have eked out just two SU wins in their past 19 outings after opening their season on a 12-14 SU run that raised hopes of a return to playoff contention in the NBA’s Western Conference for the first time since 2010.
Phoenix have also done little to inspire confidence against the spread, covering in just 10 of their past 33 after going 7-3 ATS out of the gate.
The Suns are coming off a 98-95 victory at home to Atlanta on Saturday, winning outright as 10.5-point underdogs, and kick off their four-game road trip with eight ATS wins in their past 12 road contests, and are undefeated in their last two visits to Philadelphia, but winless SU in their last four visits as betting underdogs.
Washington Wizards @ Toronto Raptors (-8.5)
Toronto Raptors hit the hardwood at Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night as the hottest team in the NBA, riding an eight-game SU win streak into a clash with Washington Wizards as 8.5-point favourites.
The Raptors silenced critics, who suggested they have made their rapid climb up the Eastern Conference standings on the backs of weaker teams, by posting a 112-94 statement victory over LA Clippers on Sunday, easily covering as 2.5-point chalk.
Toronto are 7-1 ATS during their current hot streak, topping opponents by an average margin of 12.25 points, and are an impressive 11-2 SU in their past 13 at home.
The Wizards travel north of the border following a disappointing homestand in which they claimed just one SU win in four contests, dropping them to 10th place in the East, two games back of Indiana for the final playoff spot in the conference.
Washington has played well on the road, going 4-1 SU and undefeated ATS in their last five, claiming three outright wins as betting underdogs.
Tuesday’s matchup also marks the fourth meeting between these two clubs since the Wizards swept Toronto in their first-round playoff series last spring. But it is the Raptors who have held the upper hand this season, winning all three previous meetings, including a 97-88 win as 2-point road favourites earlier this month.
In other NBA betting action on Tuesday night, the Clippers visit the Pacers as 1.5-point favourites, and Milwaukee Bucks host Orlando Magic as 5.5-point chalk, while the Lakers take on Dallas Mavericks as 7.5-point home underdogs.