Halfway to halfway home
NBA BETTING ALERT – 21 games in, or roughly 25% of the season, and the 76ers are 15-6. On Monday night, they dominated a tired-but-feisty Jazz squad, 103-94. Philly led 60-42 at halftime, a night after Utah trailed Toronto by 40 at the same point. But the Jazz outscored the Sixers 28-18 in the fourth quarter, and were within seven with 57 seconds left. Regardless, Philly pulled out the win, thanks to a strong balanced attack led by Tobias Harris’ 27 points. Meanwhile, Ben Simmons led the team with a +19, finishing with 14 points and nine assists.
On the defensive side, starters Joel Embiid and Al Horford combined for 19 rebounds, three blocks, two steals, and just three turnovers. Off the bench, rookie Matisse Thybulle snagged three steals, while hitting three three-pointers. Next up, a road trip to the nation’s capital to face a beat-up opponent. Here is our NBA betting preview for this Eastern Conference game.
NBA Betting Preview – 76ers @ Wizards
Thu. 12/5 at 7:00 PM
Everyone already knows the 6-13 Wizards are missing superstar point guard John Wall for the season. But additional injuries have begun to pile up for Washington, sinking hopes for a respectable 2019-20 season. Most recently, center Thomas Bryant (13.9 points, 8.5 rebounds) went down for three weeks with a foot injury. This was followed by forward C.J. Miles (6.4 points, 1.2 rebounds) having ligament surgery. The Wizards still have Bradley Beal pouring in 28.7 points and 7.2 assists per game. But they have dropped 5-of-6, and are coming off a 127-120 home loss to Orlando.
The Sixers are dealing with Josh Richardson’s hamstring injury, which will keep him out of this one. In his place, Furkan Korkmuz and Thybulle will continue to split time at shooting guard.
When Richardson has been healthy and part of the Sixers starting unit, the team has been special. The Philly Voice recently assessed the Sixers at the quarter mark of the season. Among their looks at everything good (Joel Embiid’s improvement versus double teams) and bad (a team-wide problem with turnovers), they noted Philly’s healthy starting five has been “absolutely elite” — second-best in the NBA to only Milwaukee. As of Monday, the Simmons-Richardson-Harris-Horford-Embiid lineup had an 88.7 Defensive Rating. Of that number, the Voice writes:
“The defensive mark is not just the best rating within that select group, it is the best defensive mark for any five-man lineup that has played 100 or more minutes together this season. Bring the number down to 50 minutes, inviting more variance, and the Sixers are still the top defensive dog on the block. It is a great harbinger for the postseason when rotations will shrink and the success of the starting group will matter more than ever.”
Despite their 10-0 mark at home this season, Philly is only 5-6 on the road. However, they have won 8-of-9, and four straight. The demoralized Wizards are actually putting up the NBA’s third-most points per game with 118.9. But they will likely finish with far less tonight, against a Sixers defense averaging an NBA-third-best 103.7 points allowed per game. Moreover, the Wizards will be missing their best two big men, in Bryant and Moritz Wagner (ankle sprain). I’m taking the Sixers to win as 7.5 point favorites tonight.
Where to bet this:
Top Player Props: 76ers vs. Wizards
With Bryant and Wagner out for the Wizards, a large opportunity is on tap for the Sixers big men. Al Horford is coming off scoring 17 against the Jazz and 15 against Indiana. So, I’m heading over to PointsBet, which is offering a +100 payout on Horford scoring more than 15.5 points tonight.
However, you may feel like riding with the Sixers scoring focal point. Joel Embiid is coming off a relatively quiet 16 points against Utah, and will look to bounce back against Washington’s weak front court. PBNJ is offering a -105 payout if he scores more than 26.5 points.
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