Philadelphia dropped back-to-back home games for the first time this season last night. Joel Embiid did all he could to carry a heavily depleted Sixers lineup, but his near full-court desperation heave rimmed out as time expired. Now, the Sixers will try to rebound in a difficult matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Let’s take a closer look at the top Sixers vs. Bucks prop picks and make some predictions for this April 22, 2021 matchup.
The Sixers head to Milwaukee for two games in three days against the Bucks, contests that will heavily impact the top of the Eastern Conference standings during the home stretch. The Bucks opened as 5.5-6 point favorites in most shops, but bettors have seen that line quickly spike -8 this morning.
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Will the Sixers put an extremely diminished product on the court tonight in hopes of loading up Saturday for the split or will some of their injured players suit up for this one with the mentality of burying the Bucks’ chances to catch them once and for all?
Let’s get into our Sixers-Bucks betting preview, including odds, boosts, and picks to evaluate this matchup some more.
Sixers vs. Bucks Pick (April 22, 2021)
The Sixers are trying to stay out in front in the Eastern Conference. A Bucks’ sweep of these two meetings would likely give the Nets the opening they have needed to retake the top spot from Philly. For the Bucks, it would close the gap on Philly to just 1.5 games with a game in hand and the head-to-head season tiebreaker.
The Sixers and Bucks have met once this season, a 109-105 overtime victory for the Bucks in Philadelphia. The 76ers were without Embiid in that one and covered as a six-point home underdog despite the loss. A win in either meeting this weekend, the final regular season meeting between these two, would give the Bucks the head-to-head edge in the event of a tie in the standings, but the 3.5 game edge Philly would still hold with a split could be too much for the Bucks to overcome with just 13 games remaining.
The Bucks look relatively healthy as Donte DiVincenzo’s toe appears on the mend enough for him to play and Giannis Antetokounmpo’s leg issues that caused him to sit out most of overtime the other night against Phoenix seem to have just been cramping.
Philly can’t say the same with its health. Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, and Seth Curry all missed last night’s game and Simmons may not even travel to Milwaukee, apparently still very ill. With Embiid fresh off a return from the injured list and having played over 33 minutes last night, one has to wonder how much he will be available in this one, if at all.
Sixers vs. Bucks Odds
Here’s the line for the Sixers and Bucks at DraftKings Sportsbook:
|Pelicans||+9 (-109)||+330||O 229 (-110)|
|Sixers||-9 (-112)||-420||U 229 (-110)|
And here are the current best available odds for the Sixers (may not display on Google AMP pages):
Bets we Like with a Sixers Win
Philadelphia 76ers to Win AND Over 225.5 Total Points (PointsBet +550)
Whatever lineup the Sixers are able to field tonight is unlikely to look like the one they would consider ideal. So, let’s face it, for them to win, they will have to play the perfect game offensively, making three-pointers at an extraordinary rate like they did last night when they shot 13-25 (52%) from deep.
And with Embiid likely to play less (or no) minutes on the back-to-back, Philly will want to play more in transition and spend less time working the ball into the post. This tempo will suit the Bucks just fine, as they are already fourth in the NBA in possessions per game.
This total seems quite attainable with a Sixers win, as the Bucks have seen the total points reach 225+ in seven of their 10 home losses this season.
Furthermore, Milwaukee enters play off two straight losses. After their other back-to-back losses this season, the Bucks played four of the next five games over 225.5 with the only miss reaching 223 total points.
Each of Philly’s last three wins over the Bucks have reached 225+ points. Their last three outright wins as dogs of 2.5+ points have resulted in 229+ total points, as well.
Milwaukee leads the NBA in points per game and the Sixers played all five of their games against the other two top-scoring teams in the league (Brooklyn and Utah) over 225.5 this season.
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Bets We Like with a Bucks Win
Bucks Wire to Wire (PointsBet +125)
This bet is nice because it simply asks the Bucks to win, not cover a potentially insane number if the Sixers do run a skeleton crew out there tonight.
However, if the Sixers indeed offer up a greatly undermanned lineup, as seems wholly feasible at this point, then there is a chance they are putting all their eggs in Saturday’s basket and will simply be outclassed from start to finish in this one.
A Wire to Wire wager means that the team must be leading at the end of each quarter and win the game (obviously). Those paying close attention to the Sixers of late will cite their recent hot first quarter starts as reason enough to question this choice. After all, the Sixers have not lost any of their last six first quarters. However, the most recent four of those have been at home and the two prior that were on the road came in wins.
Philly actually lost the first quarter in each of their last two road losses.
The Bucks are a juggernaut at home when they win. In their 18 home wins this season, they have only trailed at the end of a quarter in three games. So, if you think they win tonight here at home, they have a 83.3% chance of not losing a quarter, based on this season’s evidence.
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Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
Milwaukee Bucks Over 25.5 Points in Each Quarter (FOXBET +150)
We already discussed how a Sixers win would likely mean they just somehow flat outscore the Bucks. The Sixers are unlikely to have the defensive weapons out there on the court necessary to slow down the fastest and highest scoring offense in the league.
Milwaukee averages 119.3 points per game on the season (an average of nearly 30 per quarter), an average that also holds true for their production at home and their production on two days of rest.
The Bucks have scored 25+ points in each of their last 12 quarters and have scored 24+ in each of their last 24 quarters. In fact, they have scored less than 24 points in just one of 40 quarters played thus far in April, a span of 10 games.
In their last nine home games, Milwaukee has scored less than 25 points in just three of those 36 quarters, two of which came in the same loss to the Knicks.
Sixers vs. Bucks Prediction
Based on the opening line and quick jump to -8 at many shops, we are going to back the Bucks tonight on the premise that Philly may just choose to focus on Saturday’s game.
Yes, a loss tonight for Philly would give the Bucks the season series. However, a win on Saturday for the Sixers and they regain their 3.5 game lead over Milwaukee.
With Doc Rivers stating that several injured Sixers were “on the brink” of returning tonight, that should infer those same guys would be almost certain to go on Saturday. Risking a loss in both by playing Embiid hard tonight along with marginally healthy teammates seems like a lot of risk without enough reward. If they risk it and lose both, the Bucks get the season series and are just 1.5 games back with a game in hand.
Not to mention, the Nets could also push above the Sixers to a spot they wouldn’t relinquish. With Brooklyn playing tomorrow, a split with Milwaukee would leave the reeling Sixers at worst tied with the Nets and 3.5 games ahead of the Bucks after Saturday. That’s about as desirable a situation as a beat up team could hope for while trying to hang onto the East’s top spot in the midst of a rash of injuries/illnesses to almost their entire starting lineup.
Sixers vs. Bucks Trends
A couple of trends jump out to back up our belief that the Sixers won’t show up in full tonight. The Bucks, who have won three straight against the Sixers and seven of the last 10 head-to-head, took six of those seven games by 8+ points. They have covered five of the last six head-to-head meetings here in Milwaukee, as well.
The Bucks are just 7-16 ATS this season as favorites of seven or less, but they are a dominant 17-9 ATS when laying 7.5-12 points. This is not good news for a Sixers team that is just 1-4 ATS this season as dogs of 5-12 points.
Philly has covered just three of its 10 games this season on no rest and are playing a Bucks team that is 3-0 SU this season on two days of rest against an unrested opponent.
The 76ers have covered just 11 of their last 36 road games against teams with above .500 home records and just seven of their last 27 as road dogs. In one of their toughest stretches of schedule all season, look for the undermanned Sixers to make it six straight games without a single cover against teams with above .600 win percentages.
Our Pick: Milwaukee -8