On Friday night, the Philadelphia 76ers will be on the road taking on the New Orleans Pelicans. The Sixers enter play at 35-16, just a half game behind the Brooklyn Nets for the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Pelicans are 22-29 on the season, a full five games back of the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Let’s get into our Sixers-Pelicanss betting preview, including odds, boosts, and picks.
Sixers vs. Pelicans Betting Pick (April 9, 2021)
The Philadelphia 76ers are set to take on the New Orleans Pelicans tonight at Smoothie King Center. This will mark the first of two meetings between the teams this season, and the first meeting since their lone matchup a season ago on December 13, 2019. In 37 games since New Orleans got a basketball team, the Sixers have won 19 times to New Orleans’ 18. Philadelphia has won the last four meetings between the franchises.
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Philadelphia has won three of their last four games, including their last two with franchise center Joel Embiid back in the lineup. In their last contest, a 106-96 victory over the rival Boston Celtics, Embiid reestablished himself as arguably the best big man in the game. He bullied his way into the paint and got to the line with regularity, scoring 35 points on just 9-19 shooting from the field, but an absurd 16-20 from the charity stripe. Embiid is expected to play and was not on the Sixers’ injury report as of Friday afternoon.
The New Orleans Pelicans’ injury report has plenty of talent, but quite a bit of uncertainty entering tonight’s game. While Josh Hart and Nickeil Alexander-Walker are listed as out, Kira Lewis Jr. as well as big names Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram are each listed as questionable. The Pelicans struggled in their most recent game, a 139-111 blowout loss in Brooklyn against the Nets, one which saw Eric Bledsoe lead the team with 26 points.
One has to presume that Steven Adams, the tenacious starting center for the Pelicans, will present a tough matchup for Embiid. In their first head-to-head matchup, when Adams played for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Embiid put up 31 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. Adams turned up the defensive intensity in their second meeting, one which saw Embiid record just 18 points on 7-17 shooting.
Can New Orleans get a big win over one of the best teams in the league, or will Joel Embiid dominate in MVP form?
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Sixers vs. Pelicans Odds
Here’s the line for the Sixers and Pelicans at DraftKings Sportsbook:
- Spread: Sixers -6.5, Pelicans +6.5
- Moneyline: Sixers -250, Pelicans +205
- Total: 228.5
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
FiveThirtyEight gives the Sixers a 60% chance of winning with a -2.5 point line. The oddsmakers are seemingly bigger believers in the outcome of this game, with the Sixers’ implied win probability based on the moneyline at 69%.
Sixers Win and Over 222.5 Points (+112, DraftKings Sportsbook)
The Philadelphia 76ers have looked absolutely dominant in the two games they’ve had Joel Embiid in the lineup since he returned from a three-week absence as he recovered from a bone bruise in his knee. The early favorite for MVP is averaging an incredible 29.9 points per game to go along with 11.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists. In two games since returning to the lineup, he’s averaging 29.5 points, 7 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game.
While it’s safe to say the outcome shouldn’t be in doubt, this bet really hinges on the over/under. We’d recommend hedging a bit by bringing the total points down to 222.5 and taking the over. This is due in part to four of Philadelphia’s last five games going under the total points threshold, while New Orleans has seen the total go over in four of their last five. The key thing to keep in mind with the Pelicans is that even the one game that went under the total points line, the total cleared the 222.5 points threshold. The lone time the total went over for the Sixers game in Joel Embiid’s first game back from his injury, a game against the Western Conference’s Minnesota Timberwolves. He’s had plenty of success against teams from the West this season, averaging 31.5 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.
All of this is to say the Sixers should win in a somewhat higher-scoring game, with over 222.5 points standing as a safer bet than over 228.5.
Sixers and Phillies Both to Win (+200, BetMGM)
Here’s a fun Philadelphia-themed cross-sport parlay with excellent value as BetMGM lists the Sixers as a -185 road favorite, while the Phillies are a +105 road underdog. We expect the Sixers to get the job done, so let’s look at the second half of this cross-sport parlay. The Phillies are 5-1 on the season, including a three-game opening series sweep of their opponents Friday night, the Atlanta Braves. Zack Wheeler will be making his second start of the season, coming off a stellar performance in his first start of the season against the Braves. In that game, Wheeler allowed no runs and just one hit in seven innings of work, including 10 strikeouts. Plus, he had two hits and two RBIs in the Phillies’ 4-0 win.
Charlie Morton will oppose the Phils for the second time this season, after allowing three earned runs and six hits in five innings of work. The Braves will look for a stronger effort out of Morton in what will be the team’s home opener after going 2-4 in six road games to start their season.
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Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris to Combine for Over 54.5 Points (+275, FOX Bet)
As outlined above, Steven Adams can give Joel Embiid a tough time on the interior, but Embiid has upped his game in a big way this season, establishing himself as a top candidate for the league’s Most Valuable Player before his three-week absence caused by a bone bruise in his knee. In his stead, Tobias Harris emerged as the Sixers’ top scoring option, with point guard Ben Simmons taking a real step back in that regard, opting to become more of a facilitator of the offense.
Although Embiid scored 35 points in their last game together, Harris’ 10 points kept them below the 54.5 point threshold. However, in their prior game together -Embiid’s first since the injury- Harris dropped 32 points while Embiid contributed 24.
If you’re looking for a high-upside bet to place on a team’s top two scorers to clear an attainable line, this one could be worth taking a flier on.
Sixers vs. Pelicans Prediction
Pick: The Sixers have dominated in each of their games with franchise center Joel Embiid in the lineup since his return. Given the high-stakes nature of every Sixers game, with the Nets up by half a game, and the Pelicans’ unlikely path to a postseason berth, we like the Sixers in this one. Take the Sixers to Win and Over 222.5 Points.