Lakers vs. 76ers Betting Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions: Expect a Defensive Slugfest?

Lakers vs. 76ers Betting Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions: Expect a Defensive Slugfest? article feature image

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James (23) of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball against Ben Simmons (25) of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Lakers at 76ers Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions

  • Spread: Lakers -4
  • Over/Under: 218.5
  • Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: ABC

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No Joel Embiid or Josh Richardson, but this is still the matchup of the night and a potential Finals preview if both teams hit their ceilings this year.

Will Ben Simmons and Co. be able to slow down LeBron James and Anthony Davis without their rim protector? Our analysts discuss.

Betting Trend to Know

Philly is 20-2 straight-up at home this season (12-8-2 ATS). In the past three seasons, the Sixers are 67-45-2 (60%) ATS at Wells Fargo Center. This includes a 7-2 ATS record as a home dog.John Ewing

Matt Moore: Value on the Total?

I hate betting this Sixers team without Joel Embiid. Just a heads up: I’m not going to put in a play on the total, because they are infuriating and I zig when they zag and vice versa.

But the under I do like. If we look at the range of outcomes for this game, the under has by far the widest range. If the Lakers have another bored/exhausted performance on the road trip and can’t get shots to fall and the Sixers are able to slow them down even without Embiid, or if the Sixers’ pedestrian offense struggles against the Lakers’ length and inside force, the under will hit.

A shootout would be highly against the norm.

In games with the total under 220 this season, the under is 9-7 in Sixers games, and 6-5 in Lakers games.

The under is 8-6-1 in Sixers games without Embiid this season. There’s a pretty good chance this is a defensive slugfest. There’s a lot of size on the court.

If I had a lean on the spread, I’d go Lakers. Laying less than two possessions when JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard should be able to feast (McGee is questionable with an illness after missing Thursday’s game vs. Brooklyn) on cuts underneath without Embiid. But the Sixers still have size, still have great defenders, and Ben Simmons is as close to a model for the defender you want against LeBron as you’re going to get outside of Kawhi Leonard.

I lean Lakers, but will only potentially make a play on the under. — Matt Moore

Bryan Mears: My Thoughts on Tonight’s Matchups

The matchups are going to be fascinating in this one. Ben Simmons has been one of the league’s most underrated defenders this season, and he’s spent a ton of time on opponent’s No. 1 options. But who is that in this one?

He’s a great defender to throw on LeBron, as Matt mentioned above, but the Lakers play very big. With LeBron, Anthony Davis and JaVale McGee/Dwight Howard on the floor, will Simmons slide over to AD? Will Matisse Thybulle be tasked with one of those matchups? I would assume Horford will have to take a majority of the center defensive matchups.

And that highlights a major weakness the 76ers will have to shore up here. With Joel Embiid off the floor, the Sixers have allowed 8.1% more shots at the rim, which is the strongest player split in the league. And, as expected, opponents shoot much better on those attempts.

That’s especially dangerous against the Lakers, who rank third in the league in shot frequency at the rim. They don’t take a ton of 3s (although they do really maximize looks from the corners) or mid-rangers, instead using their size and athleticism to get into the paint. Simmons, Thybulle and Horford are all incredible defenders, but they’ll have their work cut out for them defending the rim against those big Lakers units. Perhaps the former two can limit penetration enough to help in that regard.

The Sixers are back at home, where they’ve had noticeable splits this year:

  • Sixers at home: +11.6 overall (2nd), 114.0 ORtg (7th), 102.4 DRtg (2nd)
  • Sixers away: -3.5 overall (17th), 106.1 ORtg (24th), 109.5 DRtg (9th)

That said, it’s tough to trust any season-long sample for them given they’re down two very important starters in Embiid and Josh Richardson.

One way they could find an advantage is in transition: They’ve pushed much more with Simmons and Thybulle than with any other player, which makes sense given those guys thrive with pace and can jumpstart that on their own with their ability to rack up steals.

The Sixers likely don’t have the shooting to really punish the Lakers with their smallball units, but they could really increase transition opportunities to make McGee and Howard less playable.

I think there’s a lot of uncertainty in this one given all of the reasons listed above, so I currently don’t have a bet on this game. I could see the Sixers stepping up defensively and getting out in transition, but I could also see the Lakers making this a halfcourt affair and just bullying them by attacking the rim relentlessly. Bryan Mears

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.

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