Warriors vs. 76ers NBA Odds & Picks: Back Joel Embiid, Philly To Handle Golden State (Monday, April 19)
David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Joel Embiid.
- Joel Embiid and the 76ers host Stephen Curry and the Warriors on Monday night.
- While Embiid's strong play in April has led to wins, the same cannot be said for Curry's stellar stats this month.
- Phillip Kall breaks down the matchup and why he's backing Philly to cover at home.
Warriors vs. 76ers Odds
|Moneyline||+225 / -286|
|Time||Monday, 7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Sunday and via DraftKings|
Only one month of basketball remains. Every game means more and could be the difference in a team’s playoff seed, or whether it even makes it.
As one of the favorites in the Eastern Conference, earning the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs could be a difference-maker for the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers currently hold the first seed, but Brooklyn is biting at their heels, just 1 1/2 games back.
Where exactly the Golden State Warriors land in the standings means much less to them. Golden State sits ninth in the West, which makes them eligible for the play-in game. If you do not know how the system works, basically the Nos. 7-10 teams will face off for the final two playoff spots.
While Warriors sit ninth, working their way up or down is much more difficult. They are five games back of the sixth seed and three ahead of the 11th seed.
The disparity in playoff situations should give the Sixers edge in terms of motivation. Will it be enough to beat both Golden State and the spread? Let’s look further.
Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry has been a one-man wrecking crew for the Warriors since the beginning of April. His 39.9 points per game this month are nearly 9.8 more than the next closest scorer, who he happens to be playing against in this game. The most impressive part is that Curry’s scoring has come in a hyper-efficient manner too. His field goal percentage this month is 55.6% and his 3-point percentage is 49.2%.
Unfortunately, Curry’s offensive dominance has not helped the Warriors’ win total as much as you’d think. Golden State is still just 5-5 in April and 5-4 when Curry plays. His scoring has helped the Warriors’ Offensive Rating climb from 20th in the league on the season to 14th this month, according to NBA Advanced Stats.
However, as Golden State’s offense improved, its defense has fallen. Golden State ranks ninth in Defensive Rating this season, but it ranks 16th in April.
The defensive issues could be down to injuries. The Warriors are currently without two starters: Kelly Oubre Jr. and James Wiseman. While neither is a world-beater on defense, they’re both athletic and two of Golden State’s tallest players. This has put the Warriors in a big hole as they struggle to match up with the opposing team’s bigs.
Against Philly’s elite defense, Curry’s hot streak will be put to its ultimate test. They will need him to overcome the challenge if they hope to pull the upset.
Philadelphia was able to take down the Nets and the Clippers in its past two games to gain control of the Eastern Conference. Once Brooklyn is back to full strength, having home-court advantage could be the difference between a trip to the NBA Finals and an Eastern Conference Finals exit.
Their pursuit of the East’s top seed could be Joel Embiid’s chance to take over in the MVP race. He currently sits at +250 odds to win the award behind only Nikola Jokic at -250 at DraftKings. Denver recently lost Jamal Murray and if they hit a cold streak, Jokic could slip.
Embiid has also helped his case on the court in recent games. In April, he is averaging 30.1 points per game, second only to Curry, and 1.7 blocks per game. His success has directly correlated to team success too as the Sixers are 6-1 in games with Embiid in April.
Similar to Curry though, Embiid’s offense is badly needed by his team. In April, Philly’s Offensive Rating of 111.3 ranks 20th, according to NBA.com. What makes Philly elite though is its elite defense. The 76ers’ Defensive Rating is all the way down at 104.0 this month, which is the top in the league.
Against Golden State, Philly’s elite defense has one job: slow Curry. Unfortunately, as April has shown, this is much easier said than done. The good news is Embiid should have a major size advantage down low in this game and be able to dominate on offense.
Curry’s dominance has brought an exciting edge to Golden State recently. His ability to score from any spot on the court keeps everyone on the edge of their seats. As we have seen this season, though, his success is always entertaining but does not always lead to victories.
Curry will have to overcome the intense defense Ben Simmons can bring with his size and athleticism on-ball. And if he can get by that, Embiid will be waiting in the paint. This pair against opposing teams’ best players is largely why Philadelphia’s defense is stifling.
On the other end of the court, Philly’s size should overwhelm the Warriors’ defense. Golden State already ranks third-worst in rebounds per 100 possessions per Basketball Reference. Now, they will need to try to focus on keeping Embiid, Simmons and Dwight Howard off the glass and out of the paint.
Against the undersized Warriors, Embiid should have the opportunity to dominate and boost his MVP odds. If Philadelphia can slow down Curry, it should have the edge in this one.
Back Embiid to guide the 76ers to the win and cover.
Pick: 76ers -6.5 (play up to -8)