Josh Widman explains why the Philadelphia 76ers should be ignored by Futures bettors after a poor start to life in the NBA Bubble
The Philadelphia 76ers are an enigmatic team that will be a tough out in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia has a pair of budding superstars in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid as well as a smattering of talent in the backcourt and frontcourt. That being said, the 76ers will only go as far as Simmons and Embiid can take them.
Since play resumed in the bubble, Philadelphia is 1-1 after losing to Indiana and beating San Antonio. They have given up a combined 257 points to the Pacers and Spurs. While the lack of defense is alarming, there is good news for 76ers fans. These two games have shown that Joel Embiid is healthy and appears ready to go for the playoffs. Embiid dropped 41 points and grabbed 21 rebounds against Indiana and had a +/- of +21. He followed that with 27 points and 9 rebounds against San Antonio. Another positive about Philadelphia is that it doesn’t have to depend on the efforts of one player. Philadelphia is at its best when Simmons and Embiid are playing well but Tobias Harris is capable of having a monster game, Al Horford has significant postseason experience and Josh Richardson is a solid 5th option on offense.
According to Draft Kings Sports Book, the 76ers currently have the seventh-best odds to win the NBA title at +2500. Ahead of them are the Lakers, Bucks, Clippers, Rockets, Raptors and Celtics. The 76ers have the fourth-best odds to win the Eastern Conference at +800. Philadelphia fell just one win short of reaching the Conference Finals in 2019. The 76ers occupy the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference at the moment. If present seeding holds, they would face off with the 3-seed Boston Celtics. Philadelphia won three out of four in the season series including two wins by double digits. However, the Celtics did win the most recent meeting on February 1st. The 76ers haven’t fared as well against the other two teams with better NBA title and Eastern Conference odds this season. Philadelphia is 1-2 vs Milwaukee and 1-2 vs Toronto.
The 76ers are a dangerous team but a frustratingly inconsistent one as well. They certainly have the talent to challenge for the Eastern Conference crown but that talent needs to play like it’s capable of. Like I mentioned, Philadelphia will only go as far as Simmons and Embiid will take them and that may be why Philadelphia has come up short the past two seasons. In the playoffs, Ben Simmons’ averages in points, assists, rebounds all decline. Joel Embiid experienced significant declines in points per game, field goal percentage and three-point percentage. This duo needs to elevate their respective games in the postseason if the 76ers want to win their first conference title since 2001.
Philadelphia could climb as high as the 4-seed as it trails Miami by just two games at the time of writing. No matter if they’re the fourth, fifth or sixth seed, to win the Eastern Conference, the 76ers will have to face off with at least two of the Bucks, Raptors and Celtics. The 76ers will not beat any of those teams in the seven game series. If you want to bet on the 76ers, stick to wagering on individual games or props.