The Toronto Raptors were a dominant team in the Eastern Conference all season, while the Washington Wizards disappointed by just squeaking out a playoff berth with 43 wins. That has meant very little in their first-round playoff series, as the Wizards have given the Raptors a lot of trouble in taking two of the series’ first five games.
Toronto can finally close out the series in Washington today, but the Wizards haven’t lost at home yet this series (7 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN).
As Game 6 unfolds, there are several storylines that have affected the matchup to this point that you should be watching for. Among them are the turnover battle, the performances of the benches and the disappearance of Otto Porter.
How will these factors impact Game 6? Let’s discuss them a bit before making our Toronto Raptors vs Washington Wizards Game 6 predictions and picks for today’s NBA playoff contest.
Can Washington Get Back to Winning Turnover Battle?
The Wizards took advantage of some sloppy Toronto ball-handling in the first four games while being very careful with the ball themselves. Washington won the battle of miscues in Games 1, 2, 3 and 4 by a combined 22 turnovers.
In Game 5, though, Toronto flipped the script by turning the ball over a measly 10 times and forcing 15 turnovers from the Wizards. Six of Washington’s turnovers came in the fourth quarter in which Toronto extended its lead from one at the beginning of the frame to 10 by the end of the game.
The Wizards are a very good team scoring in transition but very ordinary in the half court. On their home floor, they need to get after the Raptors’ ball-handlers and passers so they can get easy looks on the fast break.
Can Raptors’ Bench Start to Impose Its Will?
The single biggest reason Toronto has had so much trouble dealing with the eighth-seeded Wizards in this series is the respective bench performances.
In the regular season, the Raptors led the NBA in bench net rating, at plus-8.3. Heading into the NBA playoffs, most people assumed Toronto would have an advantage over all of its opponents when both teams went to bench-heavy lineups. The Wizards, 18th in bench net rating (minus-2.6), weren’t supposed to be an exception.
The Wizards’ bench has actually outplayed the Raptors’, though. Averaging out all the minutes for bench players, Washington’s reserves have outscored Toronto by 5.9 points per 100 possessions when they’ve been on the floor.
On paper, the Raptors are way deeper and have many more two-way players on their bench, such as Fred VanVeleet, Pascal Siakam, C.J. Miles, Jakob Poeltl, Delon Wright. However, VanVleet suffered a shoulder injury and the other guys have been underwhelming as a whole. Can VanVleet return in Game 6 and will it ignite the team’s normally dominant bench?
Can Otto Porter Step Up As Wizards’ Third Scorer?
During the regular season, Porter fit the mold of a perfect third scorer next to John Wall and Bradley Beal. The 24-year-old forward was an excellent spot-up shooter who averaged 14.7 points per game who didn’t dominate the ball, but could still make the occasional play off the dribble.
In the playoffs, Porter hasn’t produced enough. Granted, he has played through a leg surgery, but his points on a per 36 minute basis have dropped from 16.8 to 11.4 compared to the regular season, though his efficiency hasn’t totally plummeted (56.2 true shooting percentage). The Wizards’ third-leading scorer in the postseason is Mike Scott (just 11.4 points per game).
Toronto is getting 13.4 and 12 points per contest out of its third- and fourth-leading scorers from its squad, Jonas Valanciunas and Delon Wright. Porter is questionable for Game 6, but if he plays, he needs to be more aggressive and score closer to his regular season rates to help out his All-Star teammates.
Our Preview’s Toronto Raptors at Washington Wizards Game 6 Betting Picks & Predictions
With Otto Porter’s health and production in question, as well as how surprising the bench difference has been, I think Toronto will finally finish off the pesky Wizards in this contest. The Raptors’ star power is at least as strong as that of the Wizards and their depth has been more valuable than Washington’s all year long.
- Almost all US-friendly betting outlets are giving the Wizards a 2-point edge in this matchup. You should feel good betting on the underdog Raptors in this contest. Put your money on the Raptors +2 @ -108 with Bovada, Intertops, Bookmaker or 5Dimes.
- With desperation setting in, I see both teams really locking in on defense to make this game more of a dogfight than an offensive showcase. The smart move should be betting the under 214.5pts @ -105 with Intertops, 5Dimes or Bookmaker. The spread is 214pts with Bovada.