76ers vs. Pacers NBA Odds & Picks: Back Philadelphia To Continue Tear With Or Without Embiid

76ers vs. Pacers NBA Odds & Picks: Back Philadelphia To Continue Tear With Or Without Embiid article feature image
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Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid.

  • The Philadelphia 76ers go up against the Indiana Pacers in an NBA Eastern Conference battle.
  • The Sixers have won five of their last six games. Kenny Ducey tells us why he thinks Philadelphia will make it six of seven below.

76ers vs. Pacers Odds

76ers Odds -2
Pacers Odds +2
Moneyline -130/+105
Over/Under 223.5
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds as of Sunday at 9:45 am. ET via PointsBet.

The Philadelphia 76ers are rolling, winning five of six games and beating down some of NBA giants along the way. Two of the wins came against the Boston Celtics, with another coming against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The next stop for Philadelphia will be in Indiana, where the Pacers are still trying to regroup after trading such away star Victor Oladipo.

With a new player emerging as a suitable replacement in the starting lineup, along with some key injury news yet to come out from the Sixers, could there be some value in taking the underdog here? Or does Indiana have weaknesses which Philadelphia can exploit regardless of who’s in the lineup?

Let’s take a look at the numbers and see where we can find some value.

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Philadelphia 76ers

Perhaps the biggest deciding factor in this game from a betting perspective lingers around status of Joel Embiid. The Sixers’ bigman is listed as questionable for this game due to a back issue. If he doesn’t play, it mark just his fifth absence of the season.

In that event, Philadelphia (and the folks deciding to back it) will be left with Dwight Howard at center. Though Indiana is a soft matchup for opposing bigs, betting on Howard instead of Embiid is far from ideal.

In 506 minutes with Embiid on the floor this year, the Sixers are scoring nearly 18 more points per 100 possession and allowing 1.5 more points, according to NBA.com.

To put that into perspective, Philadelphia is outscoring its opponents by 13.2 points per 100 plays with Embiid and being outscored by 5.7 in the 459 minutes they’ve played without Embiid.

Considering that massive 18.9 swing, along with the rather large sample size we have, it’s only right to be concerned about his potential absence.

For the purposes of this Sixers’ profile, we will assume Embiid plays, but be sure to keep a close eye on Action Labs, where we’ll adjust the probability that Embiid will play as more news trickles in. Currently, we have him at 50 percent. He’s missed one of the last three games due to the tight back.

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Injury news aside, the Sixers have hit their stride as of late. They’ve won five of six games, including two against the Celtics and one against the Lakers. They have covered four point spreads during that span.

Sunday’s game marks another litmus test for Philadelphia against Indiana, which ranks top 12 in both offensive and defensive efficiency this season.

Over those past six games, the Sixers have thrived on the glass, with the sixth-best rebounding rate in basketball. That’s a slight improvement over their season-long numbers, where they’ve ranked third in second-chance points.

This will be key against Indiana, which has struggled to defend down low and who ranks bottom 10 in allowing 47.6 points in the paint on average. The Pacers have also been the seventh-worst rebounding team.

There’s a clear advantage for the Sixers here, especially if Embiid plays, but the game might be so lopsided that it’s worth taking a look at the Sixers as short favorites in case the news comes out Embiid is going to give it a go.


Indiana Pacers

The Pacers’ recent run has been sort of a mixed bag, winning three of their last seven games and covering the spread just twice. In those contests, Indiana’s defense has really sputtered, ranking seventh-worst in the league according to NBA.com.

Though it’s unsurprising Indiana has struggled to find its footing after trading one of its centerpieces in Oladipo, while losing replacement Caris LeVert upon acquiring him, it’s disheartening to see a team that had so much promise hit a backslide like this.

In the wake of the Oladipo trade, the Pacers have turned to Malcolm Brogdon to fill his shoes. The Virginia product has seen a team-high 27.7 Usage Rate in the games since the deal, which is far greater than any Pacers player, including Domantas Sabonis and his 22.9 Usage Rate.

Surrounding those two, the Pacers have continued shuffling their starting lineup, seeming to have settled on Jeremy Lamb as Oladipo’s replacement.

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Still recovering from last season’s knee injury, Lamb was forced to miss the first 13 games of the this campaign, but has made an impact in six games since returning and earned himself the start in Indiana’s last two games.

Since his return, the Pacers have had a +5.6 Net Rating in the 152 minutes Lamb has played, compared to -4.9 in the 141 minutes he’s been on the bench, according to NBA.com.

The team has really been lifted by Lamb’s shooting and defense, and he’s added a much-needed third element to this offense which was pretty much just all Brogdon and Sabonis.

The Pacers’ biggest weakness this season has been defending the three, where they rank third-worst in the league, so anyone with a semblance of perimeter defense is important to this team. That will put the onus on Lamb and Brogdon to work hard in trying to stop some of Philly’s talented guards.


76ers-Pacers Pick

If Embiid plays, Philadelphia will have a marked advantage on the glass. Not only does Indiana struggle to defend down low, but the paint is also where arguably their biggest offensive weapon in Sabonis lives, so a big presence to control the glass and block shots would tilt the pendulum further than two points toward the Sixers.

Embiid has also been a driving force when it comes to the Sixers’ improvement in shooting. Over the past five games, Philly has risen to 10th in the NBA in three-point percentage, and its two biggest guns over that span have been Tobias Harris (61.9%) and Embiid at 55.6 percent.

You’ve got those two shooting well, with Seth Curry appearing to find his rhythm in the win over Minnesota via a pair of threes on as many tries. Indiana’s inability to stop the three here may be called out by Philadelphia as well, as it has difficulty rebounding the basketball.

In the end, the matchup is great on paper for the Sixers. On the one hand, we have a team that has really found its footing. On the other, there’s a team that still needs to establish its identity.

Philadlephia should make it six wins in seven games here. Even with the potential of Embiid being sidelined, I’m confident in Howard’s ability to rebound and keep that advantage for the Sixers.

Pick: Sixers ML (-130)

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