2022 NBA playoffs: Betting tips for Thursday's Game 6 matchups

Pascal Siakam could be the Raptors' primary point guard in Game 6 with Fred VanVleet questionable to play. Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Jump ahead: Game of the night | Picks and props | Analytics edge

All odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook.

What you need to know for Thursday's playoff games

It's A Numbers Game: CJ McCollum is important to the Pelicans and capable of scoring in bunches. But the Suns have proven to be a difficult matchup for New Orleans, and that figures to continue in Game 6 tonight. When trying to project big scoring nights, pace and efficiency come into play and McCollum does not benefit from either. The pace of this series has been 4.7% below what the Pelicans have played at over the final month of the regular season. McCollum has shot under 39% from the field in four of his past five games. However, he did make six free throws in Game 5, but didn't get to the stripe a single time in 36 minutes the last time these two teams played in New Orleans.

Volume Over Everything: The best way to pay off in DFS or cash overs in the prop market is to be on the court, and the Raptors tend to ride with their core rotation. Four players logged at least 39 minutes in Game 5, consistent with how Toronto operated during the regular season. Given Fred VanVleet's status, there's no reason to think the Raptors will pivot from that strategy. Gary Trent Jr. was more involved in Game 5 with VanVleet sidelined. He led the Raptors with six shots in the first quarter, and it's reasonable to assume more of the same tonight. While Matisse Thybulle's role has declined this postseason, him being off the court only helps Toronto.

Close Out Chris: Chris Paul has shown a killer instinct as of late, and the Suns will count on Paul to help them close out the series with the Pelicans tonight. Paul has averaged 33.3 PPG on 61.3% shooting over the past three games to go along with 7.7 APG. Nothing CP3 does jumps off the screen, and he hasn't exactly been an analytics dream as of late, but his efficiency and experience makes his prop market interesting and makes him a strong DFS option tonight.

Point Pascal: Pascal Siakam paces the Raptors with 12.2 potential assists per game, and yet, his assist prop sits at a 5.5 for Game 6. It's worth considering the value that Siakam and Scottie Barnes will bring to the court in this must-win contest.

Doncic Dimes: It's rare to find Luka Doncic's assist prop at 7.5, but such is the case heading into a pivotal Game 6 in Utah this evening. Doncic led Dallas with 12 potential assists in Game 5 and should lead the team again in Game 6. Expect Doncic to play nearly 35 minutes with an opportunity to close out the series.

-- Jim McCormick & Kyle Soppe

Game of the night

Philadelphia 76ers at Toronto Raptors
7 p.m. ET, Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON, CA

Line: 76ers (-1.5)
Money line: 76ers (-125), Raptors (+105)
Total: 210.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 214.8 points
BPI Win%: 76ers (55.2%)

Key players ruled out: Matisse Thybulle

Questionable: Fred VanVleet (hip)

Notable: The Raptors failed to cover their first four games as home underdogs this season, but they've covered five of six since.

Best bet: Joel Embiid under 42.5 points + assists + rebounds. Embiid has struggled by his standards since suffering a thumb injury on his right hand. He has still averaged 20.5 PPG, 9.5 RPG and 3.5 APG over the past two games, but he has stated it's been more difficult for him to rebound, shoot and pass. While his numbers are way down, I expect him to have a relatively strong game as the 76ers look to close out the series with the Raptors. But hitting 42.5 PAR would require a pretty dramatic improvement across the board, and it's not clear he can physically reach that level right now. -- André Snellings

Best bet: Joel Embiid over 11.5 rebounds. Embiid's rebounds fluctuates depending on the Raptors' field goal percentage. Despite that, he has still averaged 11.6 RPG in this series and 13 RPG over the past 24 games. The 76ers will aim to keep the Raptors out of the paint, which will allow Embiid plenty of rebound opportunities. -- Eric Moody

Best bet: Pascal Siakam over 5.5 assists. Siakam gets into the zone when he is completely pass-first. If Barnes or OG Anunoby get going, they tend to drive-then-score. Siakam, on the other hand, has stretches like the fourth quarter of Game 4, where he drives to break down the defense and kicks it out to open teammates to set up the 3-pointer. If VanVleet sits, Siakam is the most natural point guard and will lead the team in assists on the night. -- Snellings

Best bet: James Harden over 20.5 points. In his postgame quotes, Embiid challenged Harden and Doc Rivers. Embiid wants Harden to be more aggressive on offense. I would be surprised if he doesn't deliver tonight. Harden averaged 13.6 FGA and 21 PPG over 14 regular season games in Philadelphia. Harden has been defended well by the Raptors in this series, but star players like him look to overcome those obstacles and not get stifled by them. -- Moody

Breaking down the rest of the slate

Phoenix Suns at New Orleans Pelicans
7:30 p.m. ET, Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

Line: Suns (-2.0)
Money line: Suns (-135), Pelicans (+115)
Total: 214 points
BPI Projected Total: 215.2 points
BPI Win%: Suns (64.9%)

Key players ruled out: none

Probable: Devin Booker

Notable: The Suns covered their final five games of January when they were road favorites, but since then, they are just 5-8 ATS in such spots.

Best bet: Chris Paul over 31.5 points + assists. Paul had his 31st playoff game with 20 points and 10 assists on Tuesday night, ranking third all-time behind Magic Johnson (60) and LeBron James (43). He could have his 32nd tonight. Paul understands how significant it is to close out a series, and he is ready to seize the moment. -- Moody

Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz
10 p.m ET, Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, UT

Line: (-1.5)
Money line: Mavericks (-110), Jazz (-110)
Total: 209.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 216.8
BPI Win%: Mavericks (54.9%)

Key players ruled out: none

Notable: Overs are 7-2 in Dallas' past nine road games (including four straight wins).

Best bet: Jalen Brunson over 28.5 points + assists + rebounds. Brunson continues to dominate the Jazz. He has scored 20 points or more in five consecutive games. He has averaged 28.6 PPG, 4.6 APG and 5.2 RPG in this series. That trend should continue in Game 6. -- Moody

Best bet: Mavericks (-1.5).The Mavericks annihilated the Jazz by 25 points in Game 5 despite shooting 43% from the field and 27.9% from deep. The Jazz have looked out of sorts this month, and to make matters worse, Donovan Mitchell is nowhere close to 100 percent, dealing hamstring and quad issues. With a long vacation on the horizon, I think Utah waves the white flag in the second half and Dallas brings down the curtain. -- Joe Fortenbaugh

Analytics edge

BPI highest projected totals

1. Phoenix Suns (109.7 points)
2. Dallas Mavericks (109.1 points)
3. Philadelphia 76ers (108.1 points)

BPI lowest projected totals

1. New Orleans Pelicans (105.5 points)
2. Toronto Raptors (106.7 points)
3. Utah Jazz (107.7 points)

BPI top probability to win (straight up)

1. Phoenix Suns (64.9%)
2. Philadelphia 76ers (55.2%)
3. Dallas Mavericks (54.9%)