Magic vs. 76ers Odds & Pick: Back Philly Despite Ben Simmons’ Absence

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Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Joel Embiid (21) of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Magic vs. 76ers Odds, Picks

Looking for Tuesday’s game? Head here.

Magic odds +4.5 [BET NOW]
76ers odds -4.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +163/-195 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 223.5 [BET NOW]
Time 6:30 p.m. ET
TV TNT

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The Magic and 76ers are both struggling through injuries right now, just trying to get through bubble life.

If you start with the standings, you’d think this would be a pretty even matchup between the East’s 6- and 7-seeds, but these teams are in totally different classes. The Sixers still carry faint hopes of making a real run, while the Magic are just trudging slowly towards another likely first-round exit.

Orlando Magic

For two games, it looked like the Magic might be a real hometown Cinderella story. Orlando won twice by double digits and looked like a real sleeper before everything went sideways.

First it was star youngster Jonathan Isaac tearing his ACL near the end of that second win. Then Aaron Gordon strained his hamstring Wednesday. He’s doubtful in this one, and Michael Carter-Williams is questionable as well.

Suddenly this season is on life support. Orlando’s last two games were double-digit wins, too — for the other team. And that’s when you notice that the Magic’s two wins were against the lowly Wizards and Kings, who look like the worst two teams in the bubble. Orlando’s losses were to the clearly better Raptors and Pacers.

Suffice to say the 76ers fall into the latter category. For a few days, Magic fans were dreaming about giving some favored opponent a first-round scare. Now this might just be about developing youth and getting through the bubble alive.

Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers made big bubble news with Ben Simmons transitioning from point guard to power forward, but the results were inconclusive at best. Simmons struggled to put up numbers from his new position, and now he’s hurt his knee and is out indefinitely.

New point guard Shake Milton hasn’t exactly been a world-beater in Simmons’ place, and the move didn’t seem to do much to energize Al Horford off the bench either.

The one player who is really thriving is Joel Embiid, who’s averaging 32.7 points, 13.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.4 stocks in the bubble, dominating games and looking like an MVP. He seems to be benefiting the most from Simmons’ move away from point guard, with everything flowing through him at last. With Simmons out, Embiid could have another monster game.

Betting Analysis & Pick

There’s a lot of talent missing from this game but still plenty left. Embiid will be the best player on the court by a wide margin, and Philly has three of the next four-best players as well in Tobias Harris, Al Horford and Josh Richardson. Nikola Vucevic is the only Orlando player somewhere in that ranking, and he is no match for Embiid when Joel is this engaged.

This is a fun home/away test, if you’re into that sort of thing. If you are, you probably know Philadelphia is an incredible 30-2 at home this season and an abysmal 11-25 on the road. Orlando is actually 2-0 against the 76ers this season, but both wins were at home, so they barely count. This one is a “home game” for Philly… in Orlando. Intrigued yet?

The obvious play here is the over. These teams’ overs are a combined 17-3 over their last 10 games each, though Orlando’s insane over streak just ended. Buyer beware though: A majority of those games came pre-bubble, and these are very different rosters. I’m not sure overs from March are particularly relevant here.

In the end, I’m simply siding with the more talented team. Trust the Process, and trust Philadelphia up to -6.5.

The PICK: 76ers -4.5 (up to -6.5)

[Bet $25 now at Parx and Win $50 if the 76ers make at least one 3-pointer vs. Magic]

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