Game 1 was a letdown for both Sixers fans and bettors who trusted the process as the team clanked its way to a concerning 111-102 loss on Saturday afternoon. Brooklyn used a 20-1 run at the end of the first quarter that bled into the opening moments of the second to seize control of the game and never looked back. Among the Sixers’ concerns heading into Game 2 are Joel Embiid’s health, the team’s hideous 12% shooting from beyond the arc in the opener, and cell phones. Yes. Cell phones.
— Ty Perfect (@MrPerfect_Ty) April 13, 2019
Oh, and don’t forget hurt feelings, too. Can’t forget about hurt feelings:
— Rob Tornoe (@RobTornoe) April 13, 2019
Not an ideal start, for sure, but will what should be a more focused and desperate Sixers team bounce back in Game 2 to even the series? Will they bounce back in a BIG way and cover the spread? Let’s take a look at some need-to-know betting info and see what we can find out.
Here are the Game 2 odds as of 8 a.m. Monday morning:
|Sportsbook||G1Spread||G1 Moneyline||Series Winner|
|DraftKings||PHI -7.5||PHI -345||-210|
|FanDuel||PHI -8||PHI -350||-180|
|PointsBet||PHI -8||PHI -360||-193|
Considering the Sixers were as much as a -835 moneyline favorite to win the series before Game 1, these current series prices represent a significant drop, but that’s to be expected when a team loses home-court advantage in what essentially amounts to a two-game swing after dropping the opener. If you believe in the Sixers, then the -180 series price at FanDuel has to be a pretty attractive option.
As for the Game 2 spread, the story is much the same as it was Saturday. Philly opened as a 7.5-point favorite and are now up to as high as -8 at some of the best NJ online sportsbooks.
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Let’s first start with each team’s overall against the spread performance. The Sixers haven’t been a good ATS bet this season, going only 38-45. The Nets, on the other hand, were a solid spread performer, compiling a 46-37 ATS record.
The Sixers have also underperformed as a favorite, going 27-32 ATS, including Saturday’s dud, whereas the Nets are a respectable 17-12 ATS in the same role. It remains to be seen if the Nets will be favored in any game during this series, but…the more you know, I guess. More pertinent is the Sixers’ rather average 20-20 ATS performance as a home favorite as well as the Nets’ solid 26-16 ATS road record and 21-15 ATS mark as a road underdog.
Of course, these overall team performance trends don’t tell the entire story, so let’s go a little bit deeper. As for how the two teams have performed head-to-head this season, the Nets hold a 4-1 edge in covers, going 2-1 ATS on the road and 2-0 ATS at home.
The Sixers enter Game 2 between a 7 to 8-point favorite depending upon where you’re shopping, just as they were in Game 1 (prior to Embiid uncertainty moving the line all the way down to -5.5 in some places). Here’s what we know about how each team has performed this season with this specific spread range. The Sixers are 15-10 ATS when favored by at least 7 points, 10-5 ATS when favored between exactly 7 and 10 points, and 6-3 ATS when favored in the same range at Wells Fargo Center.
Meanwhile, a deeper look reveals the Nets’ impressive underdog performance isn’t quite as good with this specific line range. Brooklyn is only 8-9 ATS when a dog of 7 points or more and only 6-8 ATS when a dog of at least 7 points on the road.
Since this is the postseason, the level of competition is an important contextual factor to consider, so it’s probably worth noting Brooklyn is 25-17 ATS against teams .500 or better, 20-14 ATS against such teams as an underdog, and 12-8 ATS as a road dog. The Sixers are only 13-14 ATS when playing teams that are .500 or better as a favorite, but when the spread is 7 points or more, they are 6-3 ATS.
In terms of the No. 3/No. 6 matchup, there’s not an overwhelming trend here, but No. 3 seeds favored by at least 7 points are 24-21 ATS in first round games since 2005.
Assuming Joel Embiid does in fact play in Game 2, it will mark only the 12th time this season that the Sixers will play with Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick, and Embiid each in the starting lineup. The Sixers are 8-3 SU and 6-5 ATS this season when those five start together.
Now, let’s look at how the results of Game 1 has impacted Game 2 from a historical perspective. I’d like to tell you teams that lose Game 1 as a favorite usually bounce back and cover in Game 2, but that really has not been the case. Follow me here. Favored higher-seeded teams that are coming off a loss in Game 1 of the first round are 21-6 SU but only 10-15-2 ATS in Game 2 since 2005. Such teams that are favored by at least 7.5 points in Game 2, however, are 17-1 SU and 9-9 ATS. Nothing earth shattering for spread bettors, but that SU mark is great news for Sixers fans. As is this: Brett Brown’s squad is 19-12 ATS after a loss and 10-4 ATS as a home favorite after a loss this season, but just know that Brooklyn’s 25-17 ATS record following a win this season is the NBA’s best mark.
My initial thesis here was that favored teams probably come back strong and cover Game 2 because they’re embarrassed, but that simply hasn’t been the case. More specifically, I’m going to guess it’s a safe bet the Sixers won’t shoot 12% from three-point range this time around, but such a large spread still seems curious. Between the pressure, lack of bench depth, Simmons’ comments, Embiid’s injury, and the Sixers’ lack of lineup continuity and chemistry which is needed to play at a high level, this spread is just too high for my taste. I like the Sixers to win the game outright, but I’ll give the ATS nod to the Nets once again in this one.