Pelicans vs. 76ers NBA Odds & Picks: Bet Philadelphia To Cover Large Spread (Friday, May 7)
David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Philadelphia 76ers standout Joel Embiid.
- The New Orleans Pelicans face the Philadelphia 76ers Friday as they look to keep their NBA Playoff hopes alive.
- The Sixers enter the matchup looking to secure the top seed in the Eastern Conference and avenge their loss to the Pels from last month.
- Phillp Kall previews the game, including his betting pick in the matchup.
Editor’s note: Zion Williamson is out indefinitely due to a fractured finger. The team will form a treatment plan and provide a timetable for a return to play at a later date.
Pelicans vs. 76ers Odds
|Moneyline||+290 / -375|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds as of Thursday night via BetMGM.|
With a two-game lead in the East, the Philadelphia 76ers have a little wiggle room as the regular season comes to a close. The Sixers are leaving little to chance with their improved play as of late, winning six consecutive games entering Friday’s contest against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Keeping the top seed in the East will be very helpful, as Philadelphia would only need to beat Milwaukee or Brooklyn en route to the Finals instead of both.
While the Sixers control their fate, the Pelicans need some help if they’re going to make the playoffs. New Orleans sits 1.5 games behind San Antonio for the last spot of the play-in tournament. The Spurs have done everything they can to help the Pelicans recently, as they’ve lost five games in a row.
It will be up to New Orleans to take advantage of San Antonio’s struggles, but that will require taking down all teams in its way. Against Philadelphia, that’s easier said than done.
Let’s dig deeper to see if the Pelicans pull off the upset and inch closer to the playoffs or if the Sixers further pad their lead.
New Orleans Pelicans
Gaining ground on the Spurs just got harder for the Pelicans, thanks to injuries in Tuesday’s costly win. Starters Steven Adams and Brandon Ingram were forced to leave early against the Golden State Warriors. Ingram has already been ruled out, but Adams remains questionable.
Losing your second-leading scorer is enough to cause problems for any team. Adding the absence of their best interior defender against Joel Embiid would send things from bad to worse.
Missing two major contributors will likely force more pressure onto Zion Williamson. He has been fantastic for the Pelicans, averaging 27.0 points per game on an absurd 61.1% shooting. However, most of his scoring comes from dominating down low. The 76ers will have Embiid and Dwight Howard patrolling the paint to make things difficult for the standout.
If Williamson struggles to find room in the interior, the Pelicans will need to turn to non-traditional options. Against the Warriors, the answer was point guard Lonzo Ball. He made seven 3-pointers on his way to 33 points in the win. Ball will need another big effort if New Orleans hopes to pull the upset.
Injuries have plagued the Sixers and frequently forced them to use atypical lineups all year. Overcoming this hurdle, they find themselves atop the Eastern Conference. Now, finally healthy, Philadelphia is showing its true power, as five of its six wins during the winning streak have come by double digits.
Having its full set of starters has made a drastic impact on its offense. During their win streak, the Sixers’ Offensive Rating is all the way up to 121.9 and ranked fourth per NBA.com.
The improvement in the offense has most notably been from behind the arc. The Sixers are shooting 41.0% from deep during their winning streak, which is a big jump from their 37.2% on the year.
Pairing their newfound offensive rhythm with an already elite defense, it’s no wonder why the Sixers have torn through the league. The numbers have also loved what Philadelphia has been doing, as its Net Rating is all the way up 21.8 in their past six games per NBA.com. That’s a number that stands far above the rest of the league.
Against a shorthanded New Orleans team, the only major concern defensively will be stopping Williamson. On offense, Philadelphia should look inside to use its size to punish its opponent without Adams.
These offensive and defensive goals work perfectly for the Sixers since their best player is Embiid. His size should hinder Williamson, plus there will be no answer for him on the offensive end.
This game looks set as a matchup of strengths versus weaknesses due to the Pelicans’ injuries. New Orleans will look to run its offense through Williamson, but Philadelphia’s size and athleticism should be able to hold that in check.
On defense, the Pelicans are missing their one big man who can physically compete with Embiid. At full strength, this game could be an interesting one to watch, but in each team’s current state it’s no wonder New Orleans is a heavy underdog.
With such a large spread, the worry is always if Philadelphia will get complacent and allow a backdoor cover late. However, its recent attitude and ability to handle foes makes me believe it will treat this game the same.
Back Philadelphia to continue it run of double-digit victories.
Pick: 76ers -8.5 (Up to -10)