The new-look Sixers enter tonight’s game against the 37-17 Denver Nuggets as a fairly sizable 4.5-point favorite. If you plan to bet this one, you can grab a $50 free in-game bet when you make a $50 pregame bet at BetStarsNJ. So which side is the right side? Let’s take a look.
It figures to be an electric atmosphere at the Wells Fargo Center as Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, and Mike Scott are expected to make their Philly debuts on Friday night, but Sixers fans apparently aren’t the only people excited. Bettors are overwhelmingly backing Philadelphia in this one with 68% of point-spread bets and an overwhelming 80% of point-spread money on the Sixers, and it’s easy to see why. Brett Brown’s team now arguably sports the Eastern Conference’s top starting five and is on the short list of conference powers favored to reach the NBA Finals, but a word of caution before throwing your money at Philadelphia tonight. There are often expectations from the betting public for blockbuster trades to pay immediate dividends, but that’s not always the case. In fact, recent history shows that teams struggle against the spread in the debuts of newly-acquired big names. Look no further than the Sixers themselves who struggled to a 111-106 loss to the Magic in Jimmy Butler’s first game with the Sixers a few months ago. They were a 5.5-point favorite in that one. There are also some other recent high-profile trade examples to also consider:
- In Blake Griffin’s Pistons debut, Detroit squeaked by Memphis 104-102, but failed to cover the 8.5-point spread.
- Back in February 2017, the Pelicans were demolished in DeMarcus Cousins’ New Orleans debut as a 3-point underdog in a 129-99 beatdown by the Rockets.
- Goran Dragic’s first game with the Heat was a 105-91 loss as a 2-point favorite to the Pelicans.
Of course, none of this is to say the Sixers won’t win or cover tonight. As of late Friday afternoon, Denver shooting guard Gary Harris is out and Paul Millsap is questionable. That’s obviously significant. Plus, the Sixers are 11-5 ATS after a loss and 21-6 straight-up (14-13 ATS) at home this season, so there’s reasons to like the home team, but if you’re simply betting on them to cover because you think they will be riding an “emotional high” after a big deal, it’s just not a solid theory. The public often overestimates the immediate impact of a deal like this and seismic roster shifts often mean teams need time to gel.
Trust the process, but proceed with caution tonight.