With the way the Brooklyn Nets have been shooting up the standings without Kevin Durant, the last thing the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers needed was an injury to their MVP candidate-center, Joel Embiid. But alas, that is exactly what has happened, and now they’ve got the third-place Milwaukee Bucks, who are also breathing down their necks, to contend with on Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Center.
Free Picks: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee Looks To Beat Up On Philly With Embiid Out (Season Betting Record: 61-67)
The Sixers are coming off a tight 99-96 win over the tough New York Knicks less than 24 hours before tip-off for this tilt, so the fact that Embiid is out not only deprives them of their best player, but also a quality rotation player to shoulder the load on the second leg of a back-to-back during a season when those situations have been harder on players than ever.
After last night’s win, Philly improved to 5-4 against the spread without their seven-foot go-to guy, but it seems like the fact that they’ll be playing for the second straight night against a team that didn’t play the night before might be an even bigger factor than the big guy’s absence. Well, maybe not, but the Sixers have gone an awful 1-5 ATS on no rest and a further 2-7 ATS with the rest disadvantage this season.
Pair the lack of preparation and rest with the injury of Embiid, and you get a perfect chance for Milwaukee to come in and assert themselves against the best team in the Eastern Conference—well, second-best if the Bucks beat Philly and Brooklyn beats the Pacers on Wednesday.
When Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons meet, the Greek Freak’s team has gone on to win six of nine times, including the last two meetings, both of which were double-digit victories for the two-time reigning MVP’s squad.
Despite those trends, the spread for the Bucks seems a bit gratuitous to us, so we’re going to buy it up to -5 points at -125 NBA odds for the first of our top picks on this matchup. We would expect the Bucks spread to tick down a tad after Philly’s win over the Knickerbockers, so if you find it at under five points with any odds under -130, snatch that up.
Our second NBA pick for this showdown between Eastern Conference giants is a player prop for one of the two players who will be going up against the team that drafted them. Tobias Harris, in case you didn’t know, was drafted by the Bucks back in 2011, but he’s not the one we’ll be looking at for this player prop wager.
The one we’re thinking about is Jrue Holiday, who was drafted by the Sixers in 2009 and enjoyed much more fanfare than Harris at his first NBA stop, playing for four seasons, starring for three, and earning himself an All-Star nod in his final year in the City of Brotherly Love.
After that stellar campaign in 2013 he was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans for Nerlens Noel (gasp!) and a pick that ended up being Dario Saric (double-gasp!), and ever since then, Holiday has been tormenting his former squad. He has averaged 19.7 points against the Sixers in his career, his highest split against any team. ‘Nuff said. We like Holiday to blow by his 14.5 point prop at -120 NBA odds.
- Philadelphia is 2-7 ATS with a rest disadvantage this season
- Philadelphia is 1-5 ATS on no rest this season
- Milwaukee has won the last 2 meetings by 10+
- Jrue Holiday’s career 19.7 scoring average against Philadelphia is his highest vs. any team
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The Los Angeles Clippers will renew hostilities with the Dallas Mavericks, who they dispatched in the first round of last season’s playoffs.
The Denver Nuggets and the league’s presumptive NBA MVP will look to get off to a strong start against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1.
The Golden State Warriors will host the Memphis Grizzlies in the final play-in game, which will determine the Western Conference’s eighth seed.
The Washington Wizards will host the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night with the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference on the line.
Alex is an alumnus of Ryerson University's RTA Sport Media program, a contributing NHL, NBA, and MLB writer in the BetPicks.ca team. He has been writing on sports, betting, and fantasy contests for several years, including pitstops as an NFL Editor for theScore and as one of the lead NBA news writers for fantasy sports site FantasyPros. As a lifelong athlete, bettor, and sports fan, Alex is uniquely qualified to help you reach the sports betting success that you've always dreamed of and your wife never believed you could achieve.