76ers vs. Warriors Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions: Will Golden State Push Pace With Steph Curry Back?
Photo credit: Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Stephen Curry
Ah, the constant ebb and flow of NBA injuries. We got Stephen Curry back for the Warriors in this prime time ABC Saturday night game, but the 76ers will likely be missing Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Josh Richardson.
What should we expect in this game given the current personnel? Let’s break it all down.
76ers at Warriors Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions
- Spread: 76ers -2
- Over/Under: 225.5
- Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: ABC
Betting Trends to Know
Neither team has performed well in this spot. The Warriors, while an almost neutral 30-32-1 against the spread (ATS) overall this season, are just 13-18-1 ATS at home.
The Sixers, though, are a league-worst 11-22 ATS on the road, although they covered the spread Thursday in a blowout road win over the Kings.
Mears: How I’m Handicapping Tonight’s Total
The over/under in this game has been all over the place already. It opened at 223 and then got heavily bet up right out of the gate, getting up to an even 227 at some books, which is where sharp bettors bought it back: We tracked two separate steam moves on the under at 227 early this morning.
As of around 10 a.m. ET, the majority of tickets (60%) are on the over, but way more of the total money (62%) wagered is on the under, further highlighting the sharps buying back the number once it got too high in their opinion.
I think the biggest question here is around the 76ers, but let’s first start with the Warriors.
Curry returned on Thursday and my hypothesis then was that the over was going to provide some value. The reasoning is pretty simple: A lot of people love to focus in on on/off differential numbers for players — how they affect their team’s offensive and defensive efficiency marks. But that’s just a piece of the puzzle.
In fact, perhaps even more important is how a player affects his team’s pace, which is I think is an underrated part of evaluating totals in the market. And the data is pretty clear: Steph might have the greatest impact on his team’s pace of any player in the league.
And we saw that Thursday: The Warriors, who haven’t played very fast this season, increased their possessions against the Raptors. The over hit with ease as a result, even despite the Dubs losing by eight at home. I would expect the same thing: Steph will push the pace when on the floor.
That’s a variable I’m confident in, but I’m not so sure about Philly. The data on lineups without Richardson, Embiid and Simmons — who are all likely out again today — is muddied by the fact that the sample we’re looking at largely includes bench units vs. bench units.
Those lineups have been very good offensively and very good defensively. Some of them, including tonight’s projected starting lineup, have been pretty good at pushing the pace. Against the Kings on Thursday, they excelled in a fast-paced game, although most of their damage came in the halfcourt. It’s a very weird sample to analyze, as it’s very unrepresentative.
Looking at some other games without their star players, against the Lakers they got out in transition, but the game overall was pretty slow, which is how the Lakers like to operate. In the game before, they didn’t really get out in transition, but the game overall against the Clippers was fast-paced.
My theory is that without their star players, the Sixers don’t really have a strong identity and can be swayed into playing their opponent’s style. And I think with Steph back on the floor, the Warriors will adapt to his style, which is to play with increased pace.
Yes, I’m worried about the Sixers, who have been absolutely miserable on the road this season, especially offensively. But they’ve also been pretty bad defensively, and we know the Warriors are bad defensively.
So we have knowns: bad defenses. And we have unknowns and things we have to guess on: pace and offensive efficiency. I think the current over of 225/225.5 is likely not fully accounting for the uncertainty — i.e., it’s assuming this will be a slow-paced game, and I don’t think we can know for certain that’s true; in fact, I would lean toward it not being that way.
Given all of that, I would lean towards the over here yet again.
Joe Dellera: Will Philly’s Road Struggles Contiue?
Curry returned from a 58-game absence on Thursday and set the Chase Center on fire with a 23/7/7 line against the visiting Raptors. Can we expect more of the same in his second game?
Ordinarily, it would be profitable to fade tanking teams — But I don’t think the Warriors are actually tanking. They have a five-game cushion for the best odds at the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft and it’s abundantly clear that Steve Kerr and Warriors’ upper management wants to see how Curry blends in with the rest of this mis-matched roster moving forward.
To accurately assess this game, we really need to look back at Curry’s Warriors and remember that they are one of the greatest teams of all time. Including this disaster of a season, the Warriors are 467-200 since 2013, Curry’s first All Star Season. That is incredible.
On the other hand, the 76ers are quite possibly the most frustrating team to bet on or against this season. Now they are tasked with defeating a revitalized Warriors team potentially without three key starters. I don’t see it happening.
The 76ers are atrocious on the road this season — 10-23 straight up and an NBA worst 9-22-2 ATS. The 76ers have posted the second worst Defensive Rating in the NBA over their past five games without Simmons and Embiid — 120.2 Points per 100 Possessions. This iteration of the 76ers will struggle to contain the offensive machine that is the Curry lead Warriors.
The Sixers have 54% of spread tickets and 52% of the money at the time of writing. According to data provided by Sports Insights, there has been a steam move on Golden State at +2 with no buyback on Philly.
There are still a few +2’s out there, but this line is trending towards +1.5. I’m backing the sharp money.
The PICK: Golden State Warriors +2 (down to +1.5 otherwise, looking at the Moneyline)
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Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.