A late game time decision found Sixers’ star, Joel Embiid, in the starting lineup for Game 1, while De’Andre Hunter fell on the wrong side of the questionable tag for the Hawks. It was a dream come true for Philly fans and attentive bettors alike, as the late news saw a spread that had dipped as low as Philadelphia -2.5 back up to Philadelphia -4.5 just before tip-off.
Let’s take a closer look at the Hawks vs. Sixers Game 2 odds and make some picks and predictions for this June 8, 2021 matchup.
However, the dream quickly turned into a nightmare, as Trae Young and his supporting cast shot out of the gates, taking a 42-27 lead by the end of the first quarter. They extended that advantage to 20 points by the break and coasted to a 128-124 victory, despite a late push by the Sixers to get the game within a single basket.
Hawks vs. Sixers Game 2 Pick
The result gave Atlanta the 1-0 series lead, leaving Philadelphia needing desperately to even the series tonight. It remains to be seen how Embiid’s damaged knee will respond after 38 dominant minutes on Sunday afternoon, during which he poured in 39 points.
Slowing down Trae Young, who tallied 35 points and 10 assists in Game 1, is just the tip of the iceberg for the Sixers here, as they allowed the Hawks to shoot 44-86 (51.2%) from the field in Sunday’s loss. Philly was only able to make it respectable because of their own 45-82 (54.9%) effort and the tremendous combined shooting from the two teams helped elicit the 252-point effort that sailed dramatically over the posted total. A regression is to be expected for both teams tonight, but will it be enough to keep Game 2 under the number?
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Hawks vs. Sixers Game 2 Odds (June 8, 2021)
Here’s the Game 2 odds for the Hawks and Sixers at DraftKings Sportsbook:
|Sixers||-3 (-109)||-148||O 225.5 (-112)|
|Hawks||+3 (-113)||+123||U 225.5 (-109)|
And here are the current best available odds for the Sixers (may not display on Google AMP pages):
Sixers Bets We Like with a Philly Win
Philadelphia 76ers To Lead at Halftime and Full Time (PointsBet -115)
The way the Sixers start this game could be the key to the entire rest of the series. They watched Milwaukee come out flat in Game 2 against the Nets last night and now Brooklyn has a suffocating 2-0 lead in that series with all the confidence in the world to pair with a two-game free roll in Milwaukee. Things are even more dire for Philadelphia, as they are not a tremendous second half team, so if they come out sluggish again tonight, they could find themselves in an 0-2 hole as they hit the road.
Easy wins come from quick starts and Philadelphia could use one on multiple fronts. A huge early lead paving the way to a comfortable victory would give them the ability to rest Embiid for longer stretches, while also gaining confidence and momentum heading to Atlanta. Luckily, the Sixers, when winning, have proven themselves quick starters this season against both the Hawks and in general down the stretch of the regular season and the start of the postseason.
Philly went down by 20 at the half in Sunday’s loss to this Hawks team, and the were down by 15 at halftime in their first meeting of the season, an eventual 112-94 defeat. Late in the regular season, however, the Sixers jumped all over Atlanta in back-to-back games on this court, handing the Hawks two of their 12 losses under Nate MacMillan. The 76ers led by 28 at the half in the first of those two games, which they went on to win by 44. Two nights later, they gained a 19-point halftime advantage en route to a 22 point victory.
The writing seems to be on the wall that when these two get together, whichever team jumps out first will likely go on to win.
The Sixers led at the half in two of their three home wins in the Washington series. And, with the exception of the meaningless regular season finale against Orlando, they led at the break in 10 straight home wins. In fact, since March 20, they have gone 14-1 at the Wells Fargo Center with the one loss being the only meaningful regular season game in that stretch in which the team trailed at the half.
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Teams have now shown a willingness to intentionally foul Ben Simmons late in close games. This approach has worked well and Simmons made just three of 10 foul shots in Game 1 of this series. His poor foul shooting could easily ruin a Sixers cover in the dying breaths of this one against a Hawks team which made 20 shots from long range in Game 1. Even if Philly finds a work-around for the Simmons foul shooting issue in the fourth quarter, the rest of the Sixers team is a question mark at the line as well, as they are just the league’s 20th best foul shooting group. Embiid is their most consistent and reliable option, but it’s not always easy to get the ball in your big man’s hands on an in-bounds play with a late lead.
By asking Philly to just win the game here (along with the first half, of course), we eliminate that backdoor cover risk. We also ask less of a Sixers team that failed to cover 15 of 33 games as favorites of seven or less this season.
The 76ers won 12 games by six or less points during the regular season, meaning 24.5% of their wins came in the boundaries between our prop and what a spread bettor could be laying here. If that isn’t significant enough for you, Philadelphia also won another 10 games by 7-9 points, placing most Sixers spread bettors within a basket of getting cracked.
If you subscribe to our logic regarding the first half of this game, then you should feel secure that Philly can then hold on to win this much needed Game 2. After all, Philadelphia is 11-2 at home after a loss this season, while Atlanta is just 13-13 on the road after a win.
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Hawks vs. Sixers Game 2 Prediction
As we believe Philadelphia needs to and, inevitably, will win this game, but also are not enamored with the spread, we believe the best play on the board regarding sides/totals is certainly on the game staying under the total.
While Young has proven time and again how difficult he is to slow down from both a scoring and creating standpoint, Philadelphia, more than most teams, has the personnel to make things more difficult for the young guard. The Sixers offer multiple elite defenders, all with size, who can take their turns shadowing Young. This also makes the pick and roll more difficult for Atlanta, as there are less ways to create matchup problems by forcing Philly to switch.
Having just seen what Atlanta has to offer and with the day off yesterday to prepare, knowing roughly what they will and will not get from Embiid, the Sixers should be in a better position to play the brand of defense tonight that they brought all season long. Philly allowed the sixth least points per game and had the league’s fourth best field goal percentage defense to go with a top ten 3-point field goal percentage D.
Always Bet on Regression
You’d have to expect a significant step backwards for the Hawks tonight after their 51.2% shooting effort Sunday, as they were just the 17th best field goal percentage team this season (46.8%) and are facing a Sixers defense that allowed opponents to shoot just 45.3% from the field. Philly is likely to mellow out a bit, as well, after chasing a game they trailed by double digits consistently and being able to get easy looks against a Hawks team playing conservative defense. The Sixers are eighth best in the NBA in field goal percentage at 47.6%, but that’s still a far cry from the 54.9% they were allowed to shoot in Game 1.
If either or both teams trend back toward their season averages, it is going to be extremely difficult for this game to go over the posted total. After all, Philadelphia and Atlanta attempt the seventh and eighth least shots per game this season to begin with, both at just over 87 field goal attempts per game. However, despite the shootout in Game 1, each team landed below that season average somehow, with the Hawks taking 86 shots and the Sixers just 81. The two also combined to make 44 of 56 foul shots in the game, both numbers significantly higher than the 39.1 they partner to make and the 49.8 they attempt together on the season. Atlanta also averages just 12.6 makes from long range on the season, yet buried 20 from beyond the arc on Sunday.
The two teams obviously optimized their scoring opportunities on Sunday, but with two teams who attempt very few shots on average and a Hawks team who plays the eighth slowest basketball in the league and has a 1-0 series lead, tonight should see a far cagier affair in terms of points.
Atlanta played 10 of its 15 games under the total this season as dogs of five or more points. Eight of their last 11 as dogs of any kind, as well as six of their last eight as road dogs have stayed under, too.
They also have now seen five of their last six playoff games as underdogs stay under the number. Both teams decidedly favored the under when playing quality opponents as they combined to play 41 of 69 games under against above .500 opponents (59.4%).
Hawks vs. Sixers Prediction
Philly should buckle down defensively tonight, as they often do after a poor outing, and make it 14 of the last 18 games under the total following an ATS loss.
Our Pick: UNDER 224.5 points
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