Free Picks: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Pelicans vs 76ers NBA
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Philadelphia 76ers, NBA, Smoothie King Center

The Philadelphia 76ers head to the bayou to take on the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night as the second game of a four-game road trip. Philly is now in a fight with the Brooklyn Nets for Eastern Conference supremacy that seems like it will rage on until the end of the regular season.. if not even deeper into the playoffs. But for now, the Sixers have to deal with the Pelicans, who have their own designs on the playoffs out on the West coast.

Philly Tries To Keep Pace Atop East During Trip To NOLA (Season Betting Record: 81-84)

The youthful Pels sit in 11th just out of the play-in but they don’t come into this one on much of a roll. Josh Hart is likely done for the year after suffering a torn ligament in his thumb and Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball have all missed at least one game over the last few weeks. Williamson will be back for this clash, but the two former Lakers are being listed as questionable by Los Angeles as of this writing.

With all of those health issues, New Orleans have clearly been out of sorts and have subsequently lost seven of their last 10 contests. However, we were probably leaning towards the Sixers in this one whether or not Ball and Ingram ended up getting out there for Stan Van Gundy and his budding sea birds.

Joel Embiid has been in and out of Philadelphia’s lineup pretty consistently over his seven years with the team, missing two full seasons, most of another, and significant chunks of the other three. This season he has again missed 18 games, and his teammates really struggled without him to start the campaign, but when he went down with a more serious injury that recently kept him out for 10 straight games, Philly stepped up big time.

After starting this year out going 1-5 without their MVP candidate, the supporting cast has gone 8-4 in their last dozen without Embiid, and now that he’s back it doesn’t seem as though the big man is showing any rust with 29.5 points per game in his last two. While Philly is playing at a .500 level without him, the Sixers have gone 26-7 when he does play.

That includes nine victories in Embiid’s last 11 appearances, which pretty much means trouble for the Pelicans at their home arena to start this weekend off. The Pels haven’t been great playing at the Smoothie King Center this year either, going just 12-15 ATS at home.

Philly has also been solid when they get some extra rest, putting up a 4-1-1 ATS mark when they get two or three days off between games. That works out well for Embiid and his folks since New Orleans has gone just 4-7 ATS when they’re playing with a rest disadvantage.

New Orleans is chock full of young talent—much of which is uncertain to play in this one—and while they play an exciting and exhilarating brand of basketball, they have yet to figure out how to play consistent defense, giving up 115.5 points per game this season, fourth-most in the league.

That’s not even cherry-picking stats, because they also have the seventh-worst defensive rating (114.3) over the past month. We like the Sixers to take care of business in New Orleans and cover their -4.5 NBA point spread at decent -116 NBA odds with relative ease as our best bet for today.

Steven Adams is no slouch in the low-post, but he’s just not up to par with the way Philly’s big Cameroonian center has been playing this season, so expect the seven-footer to be the catalyst for a comfortable win on Friday night for Doc Rivers and the crew from the City of Brotherly Love.

Stats

  • New Orleans is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games
  • Philadelphia is 26-7 with Joel Embiid in the lineup
  • New Orleans is 4-6 ATS in their last 10 home games
  • Philadelphia is 4-1-1 ATS playing on 2-3 days’ rest

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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. Follow Alex on Twitter

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