On Sunday night, the Philadelphia 76ers will be in Oklahoma City playing what remains of the Thunder. The Sixers are coming off a come-from-ahead loss to the Brooklyn Nets, a game where they controlled the action for about 40 minutes only to see everything go to cinders in the endgame. The Thunder are 0-2.
Let’s get into our Sixers vs. Thunder betting pick with player prop predictions, odds, and analysis for this October 24, 2021 matchup.
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Sixers vs. Thunder Betting Pick (October 24, 2021)
There’s nothing like that new car smell. Sure, it’s mostly harmful chemicals you’re inhaling with such satisfaction, but they’re your harmful chemicals and its your new car. You know that the new car smell will not last. You know that the car depreciated by about 20 per cent the minute you drove it off the lot. And you really don’t care. Those first few days of driving your new car, showing it off to your friends and generally acting like a Gates heir, those are some heady days.
New sports seasons share some of the same short-lived joys. Sure, maybe your team managed to kick away its best chance in many a year at a conference final in Game 7 at home when your All-Star point guard shriveled like a grape under hot sun. But the beginning of the season means a hard reset on the won-lost record and, at least momentarily, the hope that this year will be better than the last.
Well, that was fun while it lasted. The Sixers’ collapse against the Nets on Friday night revealed them to be everything you remembered them to be from the ignominious end of the Hawks series last season. Up 99-87 with 9:45 left in the fourth quarter, at home, the Sixers went on to be outscored 27-10 through the end of the game and not only lost but didn’t even cover. Fourth quarter failures and the evaporation of big leads was a big reason Brett Brown was shown the “this way out” door after the 2019-2020 season. Apparently, Doc Rivers is as susceptible to these issues as Brown was. Maybe, just maybe, it’s the players? Hard to say!
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Despite all of that, the Sixers are still almost certainly a playoff team. They still have more talent than most of the teams they run up against in the regular season (particularly when Joel Embiid is healthy, which right now, he sort of isn’t.) And they have a tendency to rough up teams that are significantly worse than they are, like they did against the New Orleans Pelicans in the season opener and, well, like the Artists Formerly Known as the Oklahoma City Thunder. Did you know that Kevin Durant and James Harden and Serge Ibaka used to play in Oklahoma City? It’s true. But those guys are all gone now.
Sixers vs. Thunder Odds
Here’s the line for the Sixers and Thunder at FanDuel Sportsbook:
- Spread: Sixers -8 (-110), Thunder +8 (-110)
- Moneyline: Sixers -340, Thunder +275
- Total: 216
Bets We Like With a Sixers Win
Sixers to Win and Under 216 Points (+142, FanDuel Sportsbook)
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We are working from the premise that the Sixers will win this game with or without Joel Embiid, who as of this writing is not officially out tonight but is definitely not officially in, either. Even if Embiid plays, it is difficult to imagine that he will be especially effective or that he will play many minutes. Then you look at the Thunder and you see a largely toothless roster that scored 86 points against the Utah Jazz (good defensive team) and 91 points against the Houston Rockets (last season, one of the worst defensive teams in the league). To get over 216, you need something in the neighborhood of a 110-107 game. It’s sort of tough to envision either of these teams cracking 110 points tonight.
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Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Under 21.5 Points (-127, Barstool Sportsbook)
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It is an immutable truth that even bad teams have leading scorers. Especially in the NBA, it’s absolutely possible to put up gaudy scoring numbers on a team with a .350 winning percentage. Each team gets so many possessions, and if a good scorer winds up on a weak team, his teammates tend to defer to him because they know they can’t score with any regularity. This is how Brandon Ingram got 25 in the Sixers’ season opener for the Pelicans in a game his team lost by 20 points.
But just because a guy is a team’s leading scorer doesn’t mean he’s all that good. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the Thunder’s leading scorer, and the Thunder is a bad team, but those facts together do not automatically turn Gilgeous-Alexander into a volume scorer. He averaged 23.7 points per game last season, but that was in 35 games — less than half of the schedule, and well less than half of an 82-game season. In 2019-2020, Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 19 points in 70 games. That’s more who he is. Add in the Matisse Thybulle factor, and Gilgeous-Alexander will probably get to 19 but not more.
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Tobias Harris First Field Goal (+600, DraftKings Sportsbook)
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We’re certainly not recommending a heavy play on a +600 prop bet, but given the likelihood that the Sixers will score the first basket, and given the real likelihood that Embiid either will not play or will not be the focal point of the offense, a modest play on Harris to take the scoring onus onto himself early in the game doesn’t feel like that long of a reach.
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76ers to Win Both First and Second Quarters (+140, FoxBet)
The thing about teams that blow leads (ahem) like the Sixers is that they have to get out to that lead in the first place. The Sixers have won three of the first four first and second quarters they have played so far this season, including both of the first two quarters in their loss to the Nets. This bet is as much an indictment of the Thunder as it is a backing of the Sixers.
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Sixers vs. Thunder Prediction
After just two games, we have already reached the point in the season where it will be difficult to find value in the games where the Sixers play bad teams on the road. On Friday night’s evidence, the Sixers shouldn’t be favored by eight points on the road against anyone. That’s even more true given the probability that Embiid either won’t play or will be limited. The Sixers will almost certainly win the game (the -340 moneyline says so), but this game could easily degenerate into a brick fest. Tread lightly with this one.
Pick: Thunder +8 (-110 at Caesars Sportsbook).
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