Bulls vs. 76ers Betting Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions: Can Philly Maintain Its Home Win Streak?
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Ben Simmons (25) of the Philadelphia 76ers.
- The updated updated betting odds for Friday's Chicago Bulls vs. Philadelphia 76ers matchup has the Sixers as comfortable favorites (spread: -7) at home with the over/under set at 214.5.
- The spread hasn't moved much today, but the total has seen some movement since opening.
- How should you be betting this matchup? Our NBA experts analyze all the angles, including how Joel Embiid's absence impacts the 76ers below.
Bulls at 76ers Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions
- Spread: 76ers -7.5
- Over/Under: 214.5
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: ESPN
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The Philadelphia 76ers hit a rough stretch after the holidays followed by an injury to their Joel Embiid four games ago. They face a Chicago Bulls team that is eager to test how well they can play without their star center on Friday night.
Will Philly’s role players make the difference tonight? Our experts analyze the the matchup including their picks on the spread and over/under.
Bulls-76ers Sharp Report
At the earliest books to market, this total opened around 217. As more joined the party, openers fell to 216.5, 216, and in some cases as low as 215.5.
In other words, sharps made quick work of this number.
But even at the later shops, the opening totals were still a bit on the high end, according to the pros. Per Sports Insights’ Bet Signals, four instances of sharp activity have been recorded, the most recent of which came at 215.5.
Bryan Mears: 76ers’ Interior Defense is Vulnerable
Since Joel Embiid went down four games ago, the 76ers are 3-1 to the under, which may be a bit surprising given the center’s defensive value this season. On the season, the Sixers have been a whopping 8.9 points per 100 possessions worse defensively without their anchor down low.
They’ve given up an eFG% 2.7% higher without him, and they’ve really struggled to secure defensive rebounds. Within the actual defense, they’ve given up 7.8% more shots at the rim without Embiid, which is the most stark split in the entire league among centers.
That’s going to be an important part of this game tonight, as the Bulls are second in the league in frequency of shots at the rim, taking them there on 40.1% of their possessions. But Chicago has sucked on those attempts, hitting just 58.7% of them — second-worst in the league behind only Portland.
Back to the Sixers, though. They went over the total on Wednesday against the Nets, putting up 117 points and a 118.2 Offensive Rating. After rough offensive outings against the Magic and Dallas, it was a very good performance.
That said, I’m unsure it’s really sustainable. They didn’t have a great shot profile in that game, but they hit 57.1% of their mid-rangers, which is in the 97th percentile of games this year. They didn’t really do much in transition, instead posting an outstanding 106.3 Offensive Rating in the halfcourt. Tobias Harris was on fire, going 14-of-20 from the field, hitting tough shots.
You can probably guess that I’m leaning toward the under here, although it’s definitely scary considering the Bulls have been very up-and-down defensively all season and especially late. They continue to have poor splits without Wendell Carter Jr., who remains out with an injury.
That said, both of these teams have played slowly of late, ranking in the bottom-10 in pace since the start of the year. They’re also bottom-10 in true shooting rate in that span.
I think the over/under was a bit inflated at open given recency bias on the Sixers’ last outing plus not adjusting enough for the pace drop for these teams, but alas it’s down to 214.5 — a two-point drop from opening. If it moves back up, however — 59% of the bets are on the over (although just 20% of the money) — then I would lean toward the under. — Bryan Mears
Matt Moore: Bulls Have a Good Matchup With Embiid Out
I’m still trying to figure out this Sixers team without Embiid. They’re 5-6 against the spread this season without him and the over is 5-5-1. It’s just indecipherable, or at least too sharp to find an advantage outside of opponent context. So let’s try and find some.
Without Embiid, they surrender a 52% expected field goal percentage, which is the average expected eFG% of all players from the shots they allow. That ranks somewhere in the teens league-wide compared to how they are with Embiid on the court and for the whole season, which is top five, per PBPStats.com.
They also give up a 52% actual eFG%, which is the same number the Bulls shoot. But Chicago ranks top five in expected eFG% on the season and since Dec. 1, they’ve actually been at 51% expected.
Simply put, the Bulls have an efficient offense that hasn’t made the shots it should yet. This is why the sharps have backed them consistently. The Bulls have been dogs 13 times this season with more than 5% more money than tickets on them, per our Bet Labs data. That’s top-10 for most in the league. They’re 7-6 in those games, because, guess what, the Bulls are infuriating.
You’re basically betting them to live up to their very vast potential, which they have refused to do so far this season. (This says a lot about Jim Boylen, even with the yeoman’s work he’s done with the team defensively. But let’s move on.)
Without Embiid, Sixers opponents get to the rim at a rate that’s eight percentage points higher than when he’s on the floor — not a shocker — and convert 65% of the time compared to 61% when he’s on the court — again, not surprising.
The Bulls, however, have the second-highest at-rim field goal distribution in the league, getting to the cup 39% of the time. Their conversion rate leaves much to be desired as Mears stated above. But without Embiid, this takes what should be a fundamental strength for the Bulls and boosts a weakness. That, in turn, makes everything easier.
The Bulls’ team total is just 104 in this game. They’ve only scored fewer than 104 in 15 of 42 games. In the 11 games Embiid has missed this season, opponents have averaged 108 points per game, and only scored under 104 three times.
I like the Bulls to go over 104 and to cover the +7, but wait until tipoff to see if you can get this above +8. Our Sports Insights Line Predictor is holding an 84% chance this goes to 7.5 after dropping to 7 following a reverse line move towards Chicago. — Matt Moore
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.