We’re through the first round of the NBA playoffs, and eight teams remain. One is Philadelphia, which advanced to the second round after defeating the Washington Wizards 4-1.
BetUS has their championship odds at +1000.
The biggest concern is the status of star center Joel Embiid, who left Game 4 early and missed Game 5 with a slight meniscus tear.
His status is to be determined, but as a team – what would it take for the Philadelphia 76ers to win it all?
It Starts with Embiid
There’s nowhere to begin other than with the aforementioned injury of Embiid. The big man has been the heart and soul of this Philadelphia team, averaging 28.5 points per game and 10.6 rebounds.
An extended absence would spell trouble for Philly. Tobias Harris has had a strong postseason, pouring in over 25 points per game, and Ben Simmons can still make an impact on the offensive end, but this team needs Embiid.
There has been no update on the MVP finalist’s health ahead of Game 1. Some reports suggest the team is optimistic he can return, but no one is certain.
Philly’s Path to the Finals
As the top seed in the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia will have a home-court advantage until the finals.
After taking down the eighth-seeded Washington Wizards, the Sixers’ next test is the fifth-seed Atlanta Hawks.
Atlanta looked strong in the first round, beating the Knicks in five games. Atlanta has a strong defense, but their offense showed its true colors, besting the top overall defense in the NBA.
If the Sixers beat the Hawks, they would face either the Milwaukee Bucks or Brooklyn Nets in the Conference Finals.
The Bucks and Nets both showed they have what it takes to win it all, easily getting by their first-round opponents.
Philadelphia’s most favorable path would likely be Brooklyn in the next round. Milwaukee had Philly’s number during the regular season, beating them all three times they played.
The Sixers beat the Nets twice, though Brooklyn is now at full strength with their Big Three.
Odds to Win Championship
BetUS sportsbook has odds for every remaining team in the NBA playoffs. As it stands, Philadelphia’s +1000 odds are sixth-best in the league and third in the East.
The odds are accurate, given the uncertainty of Embiid’s injury. If you’re banking on his return, this is a strong value.
Philadelphia was the best team in the East this season. They have one of the league’s best defenses and a balanced offensive attack.
They need their MVP candidate to make the machine run, but if he can return early in the semifinal series, Philadelphia’s odds would likely shoot up.
Of the four remaining teams in the East, there’s no team the Sixers would rather play first than Atlanta. The Hawks have the worst odds to win it all, and in that respect, Philly’s path is more favorable than either Milwaukee’s or Brooklyn’s.
With an Embiid return and the team continuing their strong play from Round 1, Philadelphia can win it all.