Sunday NBA Playoffs Betting Odds, Game 1 Preview, Prediction for Hawks vs. 76ers: How Long Can Philadelphia Last Without Embiid? (June 6)
Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Tobias Harris.
- Atlanta and Philadelphia begin their second-round series Sunday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.
- Sixers star Joel Embiid's status is uncertain for the opener, so can Atlanta capitalize on this?
- Phillip Kall breaks down below whether or not Philadelphia has enough to defend its home court in this Game 1 showdown.
Editor’s note: Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid is active for Sunday’s Game 1 matchup against the Atlanta Hawks.
Hawks vs. 76ers Game 1 Odds
|Moneyline||+143 / -167|
|Time||Sunday, 1 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Sunday morning and via DraftKings.|
The Hawks vs. Knicks was one of the most highly-anticipated series when the playoffs started. However, Atlanta quickly showed the Knicks were no match for them and knocked them out with a gentleman’s sweep. Taking on the Sixers will be a much tougher challenge though.
Philly plays a similar style to the Knicks, focusing on tough, physical defense, but they have the offense to back it up. We will see if the Hawks can pull the upset and show they belong with the East’s elite.
Philadelphia also took care of business in just five games, but its success came at a major cost. Center Joel Embiid suffered a small meniscus tear in his right knee. This injury held him out in Game 5, and he could continue to miss games into this series.
As someone who competed for the MVP throughout the year and the centerpiece of this offense, his absence would be detrimental. A strong start could let Embiid take an extra game or two off to ensure his health for future games.
Embiid unlikely to play Game 1 makes this a high leverage game for both teams. Let’s look further to see if Atlanta can take advantage of Embiid’s absence or if Philly can help their star get extra rest.
Does Trae Young Have An Encore For Hawks?
The story of the Hawks in Round 1 starts and ends with Trae Young. In his first postseason experience and in front of the hostile New York fanbase, Young showed the moment is not too big for him. He averaged 29.2 points per game and 9.8 assists and was the only player on Atlanta to increase his point production in the postseason.
While “Ice Trae” was born, against Philly, he will need help. The Sixers’ defense will be just as stout as the Knicks was as both are ranked top-four in Defensive Rating. Philly can be much more potent offensively though as their Offensive Rating was 13th compared to the Knicks’ 22nd per NBA.com.
The player who needs to improve the most from Round 1 to 2 is Bogdan Bogdanovic. From April to the end of the season, Bogdanovic averaged 22.0 points per game and shot 49.5% from 3. Against the Knicks, the numbers tumbled down to 14.4 points per game and 33.3% from beyond the arc..
Young may have taken down New York single-handedly, but Philly is too good for him to do it all alone. Getting Bogdanovic back to his end-of-the-year self would go a long way in improving the Hawk’s chances.
76ers A Different Team Without Embiid
In their Round 1 victory over the Wizards, we saw the stark contrast between the Sixers with and without Embiid. With him on the court, the Sixers were virtually unstoppable, producing a Net Rating of +33.4. When he left the floor though, things would be fairly close to even at a Net Rating of +0.7 per Basktetball Reference.
One player who answers the call when Embiid leaves the floor is Tobias Harris. Per FantasyLabs, when Harris played without Embiid in Round 1, he scored 31.9 points per 36 minutes while shooting 48.1% from the floor. If Harris can continue his production, he will give the Sixers a go-to scoring option until their star returns.
While Harris gives Philly their “get-a-bucket” guy, they will need Ben Simmons to be a floor general and get the rest of the team involved. When Embiid missed in the regular season this was something Simmons struggled to do. Per FantasyLabs, in games without Embiid, Simmons averaged 6.6 assists and 4.3 turnovers.
Since the start of the postseason, he has looked much better and did have 19 points and 11 assists to close out the Wizards. He will need to continue those performances to show he can be the leader of a team and not just Embiid’s Robin.
The Hawks showed their playoff readiness in Round 1 and completely controlled their series against New York. Against the 76ers, they will face a similar defensive intensity but, unlike New York, Philadelphia has a strong offense to compliment that D. To keep up with Philly, Atlanta will need to find someone outside of Trae Young to step up and produce.
Finding that player in Game 1 seems unlikely though. This is a young team on the road against a team with loads of playoff experience. I expect them to get better as the series goes on, but in Game 1 without Embiid, Philly will give Atlanta their best to not lose home-court.
In the 2019 playoffs, we saw how well Simmons and Harris could lead the Sixers. Philly had already lost a home game to Brooklyn and was on the road without their big man. In their Game 3 victory, Simmons and Harris combined for 60 points and regained control of the series.
We have seen Philly’s defense continue to play at a high level even when they miss their big man. All they need is Simmons and Harris to bring that same intensity to help maintain the offense. While I doubt their ability to do so all series, I expect them to play with urgency in Game 1.
Don’t fear betting on Philly even without Embiid.
Pick: 76ers -2.5 to -4