We are on to the set of one of the grisliest playoff choke jobs as the Philadelphia 76ers meet he Atlanta Hawks. Despite having lost their last two playoff games in epic fashion against them, the Sixers (3-2) enter Saturday evening as the online sports betting favorites.
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The 76ers’ star guard, Ben Simmons (suspension), will be absent and Joel Embiid (knee) is hobbled. Atlanta (3-2) is looking at this as a prime opportunity to continue their mastery over the embattled team and they could just do it as underdogs.
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Total||Team Total|
|Atlanta||+3 -110||+135||216½ -110o||107 -115o/-115u|
|Philadelphia||-3 -110||-155||216½ -110u||110 -115o/-115u|
Hawks: Mayors of Philadelphia
At some point in last season’s playoffs, Hawks star Trae Young was briefly voted as Philadelphia’s mayor per their Wikipedia page (as a prank). Young torched the Sixers in their own house, averaging 29 points and 9.5 assists. But he wasn’t the only one giving Philadelphia a headache.
— QuikTrip (@QuikTrip) June 17, 2021
Fellow guard Kevin Huerter dropped 27 points while shooting 10-of-18 in Game 7. Big men John Collins and Clint Capela averaged double-doubles in the series. And forward Danilo Gallinari averaged 14.7 points. The Hawks did not even have a full roster, which they do now.
Atlanta has one of the deepest rosters in the NBA and has been a top-three under coach Nate McMillan. Despite having a 2-3 spread record this season, Atlanta had a 53.3% cover rate as a road underdog last season. As far as road dogs go, the Hawks are worth a bet online.
76ers: No Defending it
Philadelphia will be without Simmons and will have a hurt Embiid going against a healthier Hawks and it is expected to win. This must be the post-Simmons effect as most fans pinned it all on him for the loss although coach Doc Rivers and forward Tobias Harris were just as culpable.
But despite their meltdowns in the playoffs, Philadelphia still has a positive cover rating at home: winning 56.8% of spreads (25-19-1). This only declines a little bit if they’re favorites: 53.8%, still a profitable home team per the NBA odds.
The Sixers were one of the NBA’s top defenses last season but they’ve transitioned into being more offensively oriented. Embiid’s injury and the loss of Simmons and center Dwight Howard are bringing this negative impact as the three were four of Philly’s top defenders.
Bet Atlanta or pass in this spot. The Hawks have a deeper roster and match up better with Philadelphia now that the Sixers are visibly smaller. Atlanta is only 3-2 but is better than their record indicates, ranking in the top ten in both offense and defense with a +6.1 net rating.
Atlanta has five players averaging double-digits in scoring with Huerter and Gallinari struggling right now. Young, despite the significant NBA rule change, has not slowed down even with fewer free throw attempts. He should be able to orchestrate the offense and lead Atlanta to an upset.
Pick: Atlanta Hawks +135
We’re going against the trend with our NBA free pick here. While we backed Atlanta to keep beating Philadelphia at home, the total will be a higher scoring one. The total has gone under if seven of this pair’s last ten games all in 2021. But with Philadelphia’s limited defense and plenty of firepower on both sides, this one could hit well over 220.