Fresh off a duel of Defensive Player of the Year candidates Joel Embiid and Rudy Gobert, the Sixers are in Denver, tonight where they will take on the Nuggets. Let’s take a look at how to bet this one in our Sixers-Nuggets betting preview.
Both teams enter the contest at 5-2, which is good enough for fourth in the East and third in the West. The game will feature a battle of the titans of sorts as last season’s All-NBA First Team center Nikola Jokic plays host to All-NBA Second Team center Joel Embiid.
The Sixers enter the game without All-Star point guard Ben Simmons, who sprained the AC joint in his right shoulder and is reportedly out for the next three games. That’s not necessarily bad for the Sixers, who have had massive amounts of success in their last ten trips to Denver:
The Sixers have a history of overcoming the mile-high thin air: They’re 9-1 against the spread over their past 10 trips to Denver. Can they continue that trend tonight without Ben Simmons, who is sidelined because of sprained AC joint in his right shoulder? Make the call. pic.twitter.com/o791CmRRYI
— FOX Bet (@FOXBet) November 8, 2019
To that end, while the loss of Simmons is certainly a disappointment for Sixers fans, the Nuggets come into this game with a couple of walking wounded.
In Tuesday night’s 109-89 win over the Miami Heat, guard Gary Harris and forward Paul Millsap both sustained injuries to the left ankle and head respectively. Millsap’s injury was pretty brutal to look at:
And 11 stitches later, Paul Millsap is all smiles. pic.twitter.com/XuJRol53i9
— Mike Singer (@msinger) November 6, 2019
Sixers vs. Nuggets Odds
Here’s the line for the Sixers and Nuggets at DraftKings Sportsbook PA:
- Spread: Sixers +5.5, Nuggets -5.5
- Moneyline: Sixers +180, Nuggets -220
- Total: 212
No Simmons, No Problem?
If you’re a believer in the Sixers, this stat from “Big Bet Bob” should give you confidence: “The Sixers are 33-22 ATS overall and 18-9 ATS on the road following back-to-back losses. They are 8-2 in non-conference games following a two-game losing streak under Brett Brown.”
Here’s one of my own: in three head-to-head matchups between Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic, the Sixers are 3-0.
Anecdotally, no Simmons, who has been stagnating the offense to a degree, might not be a bad thing for the Sixers. A five-point dog, this line feels a bit large given that FiveThirtyEight projects them to be +3.5 with a 37% chance to win the game. Their implied odds on the moneyline are a bit lower at 35%. So there is some value here.
Bets We Like with a Sixers Win
Let’s take a look at some prop bets – all from FOX Bet PA – we like for tonight’s game.
Al Horford Over 1.5 3PM and Sixers to Win (+500, FoxBet)
Al Horford has hit at least one three pointer in each game this season on 4.9 attempts per game. He’s just two games removed from a 5-8 performance from deep against the Phoenix Suns and has 16 attempts from deep over the last three games. If you think the Sixers will win, this is a nice boost.
Tobias Harris Over 19.5 Points and Sixers to Win (+425, FoxBet)
Tobias Harris is averaging 19.7 points per game on the season and is expected to shoulder more of the offensive load with Ben Simmons out of the lineup. Whether or not Sixers coach Brett Brown opts to run some “Point Tobi” sets like we saw late last season remains to be seen, however Josh Richardson and Harris should see an increase in usage and ball handling responsibilities. Harris excelled with an increased offensive load when center Joel Embiid was out during his two-game suspension, but it stands to reason he’ll see plenty of ISO opportunities that he might not have otherwise had.
Al Horford Over 3.5 Assists and Sixers to Win (+350, FoxBet)
Al Horford has posted four or more assists in four of the Sixers’ seven games to start the season. In fact, prior to the Sixers’ loss at Phoenix, he registered four, seven, and four assists in the prior three games. With Ben Simmons out, expect Horford to find himself in advantageous pick-n-pop situations, which often lead to a high-quality shot or a pass from the wing to Josh Richardson.
Bets We Like with a Nuggets Win
“Big Bet Bob” Wankel has a more time-senstive stat for those who question the Sixers’ ability to win on the road: Road underdogs of 4.5-5.5 points following a two game losing streak are only 16-25-1 ATS in November.
Nikola Jokic Over 19.5 Points and Nuggets to Win (+175)
In three head-to-head matchups against Joel Embiid, Jokic averages 20 points per game. The downside to this bet is that Jokic has never beaten Joel Embiid in a regular season game.
Shot in the Dark
Joel Embiid Over 34.5 Points and Sixers to Win (+1200, FoxBet)
Embiid has gone over 34.5 points once in his four games this season. While Ben Simmons’ absence won’t give him an exponentially higher number of shots in the game, his head-to-head matchup with Nikola Jokic could provide the motivation he needs to put on a scoring clinic. Here’s a big number to keep in mind that makes me hesitant: In three regular season games lifetime against Jokic, Embiid has averaged just 19.3 points per game.
The Sixers come out strong and play surprisingly well without Simmons and avoid a third straight loss. Also love the over on Al Horford threes.
Pick: Sixers +5.5 and win outright.