On Thursday night, the Sixers will be in Brooklyn to face the Eastern Conference leading Nets. Ordinarily this would be a very intriguing game, but as we all know, these are far from ordinary times. The Nets will be without the following players for the following reasons:
LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre’ Bembry, Bruce Brown, Javon Carter, James Harden, James Johnson, Paul Millsap — COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Joe Harris — Recovering from ankle surgery.
Kyrie Irving — You’ll have to ask him.
Quite clearly, Harden is the biggest absence for the Nets, though Aldridge has been good for 14 points per game primarily coming off the bench. Any team with Kevin Durant has a chance to win, but the Nets are going into this game knowing they are going to have to rely on a number of players who don’t ordinarily play many minutes. This is your NBA in 2021.
Let’s get into our Sixers vs. Nets betting pick with player prop predictions, odds, and analysis for this December 16, 2021 matchup.
Sixers vs. Nets Betting Pick (December 16, 2021)
Looking back through the first 29 games of the Sixers season, a season that now pretty clearly is headed for a sprint to avoid the 7-10 play-in mess, you could at least find reasons for the first thirteen losses.
Joel Embiid has missed eleven games so far this season (he’s almost certainly going to miss more) and the Sixers lost eight of them. Given that seven of the games Embiid missed were road games, that checks out. Tobias Harris has missed nine games so far. Matisse Thybulle has missed seven. COVID-19 was the primary reason these three players missed so much time, and when Sixers fans looked at the team’s record languishing around .500, the abiding hope was “once they’re all back and healthy, everything will be OK.”
Last night’s home loss to the decimated Miami Heat proved that yes, everything will be OK, but only insofar as being a .500 team is just OK. The Heat were playing without their three top scorers (Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo). The Sixers were as healthy and intact as anyone can hope for these days. Tyrese Maxey played 42 minutes. Embiid and Harris played 37 minutes apiece. Saying this game should have been an easy win is pushing it – the line was only seven – but the idea that the Heat would be the team to win the game rather easily never really crossed anyone’s mind.
The Sixers made it happen, though. They trailed by eleven after the first quarter, by nine at halftime, and by eleven entering the fourth quarter. The Sixers then tried to salvage the night with a handful of defensive stops, got the game tied in the fourth quarter, fell behind again and then did get themselves a shot to tie the game with six seconds left. Unfortunately, that shot was an off-balance three-pointer from Embiid – a weird shot choice with Tobias Harris, Seth Curry and Danny Green all on the floor.
Last night’s loss to the Heat was just one loss in the standings but in its way, it was more of a gut punch than the victory over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night (which seems so long ago now) was an indication of good things to come. Good teams beat teams missing their three leading scorers without much trouble. By that metric, the Sixers aren’t a good team.
The Sixers get another COVID-19 ravaged team tonight in Brooklyn. If you trust them to take proper advantage, you might be the only one.
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Sixers vs. Nets Odds
Here’s the line for the Sixers and Nets at FanDuel Sportsbook:
- Point Spread: Sixers +1 (-110), Nets +1 (-110)
- Moneyline: Sixers -104, Nets-112
- Total: 213.5
Bets We Like With a Sixers Win
Sixers to Win and Under 213.5 Total Points (+263, FanDuel Sportsbook)
As noted above, we don’t much like the Sixers’ chances in this game despite how many players the Nets are missing. If the healthy Sixers are so much better than a team depleted by COVID-19, how come they lost to the Heat last night? And why aren’t they favored in this game? You know why. The Sixers aren’t that good. But if you think they will win this game, you should probably be depending on the Sixers slowing the tempo and on the Nets’ bench players playing like bench players for extended minutes.
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Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
Nets First to 50 Points (-125, Caesars Sportsbook)
The Sixers are coming off a pretty horrific home loss and are playing the second half of a back-to-back on the road against a better team that didn’t play last night. It’s marginally worse than it appears for the Sixers, as this is their third game in four nights in three different cities (Memphis, Philadelphia, Brooklyn). Maybe the Sixers can pull this game out over four quarters if their (perceived) talent advantage tonight comes through over a 48-minute game. In the early going, though, the Nets project to have more jump and more confidence.
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Kevin Durant First Field Goal (+350, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Player props will be very hard to come by for this game. Between the mess that is the Nets’ roster situation and the ongoing question mark that is Embiid’s availability from night to night, bettors will have to scramble to find ways to get money down on a specific player. So this is a “maybe toss a small stake” flyer on the best player in this game and probably the best player in the league to score the game’s first field goal.
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Under 215.5 Points (Alternative Total) (-133, FOX Bet)
The Sixers struggled to score 96 points last night. The Nets are missing half their roster. This game is set up to go under, but trusting the book not to know where to set the line is generally a fool’s errand. It’s a safer play here to pay some extra juice for the two extra points and hope that this game finishes in regulation. Overtime is not the friend of the under bettor, a wise man once said.
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Sixers vs. Nets Prediction
The end of the movie “Wedding Crashers” is fairly dismal compared to its first 45 minutes, but the line when Owen Wilson says to Rachel McAdams “I’m not asking you to marry me, I’m just asking you not to marry him,” is well-written and really apt here. We’re not asking you to put your hard-earned money on a Nets team featuring a bunch of guys you haven’t heard of. We’re just asking you not to bet on the Sixers.
Pick: Nets moneyline (-117, Barstool Sportsbook)
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