76ers vs. Wizards NBA Odds & Picks: Bet the Sixers to Cover on a Back-to-Back (Friday, March 12)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Seth Curry #31 and Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers.
- The 76ers will face the Wizards on the second night of a back-to-back in Washington Friday.
- While injuries and COVID protocols loom over this matchup, Roberto Arguello still sees value on one side.
- Check out his analysis and betting pick below.
76ers vs. Wizards Odds
|Moneyline||-190 / +160|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
The Philadelphia 76ers face the Washington Wizards Friday night in each team’s second game since the All-Star break. The 76ers impressed in their return to action as they blew out the Bulls 127-105 despite playing without Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons due to COVID-19 protocols.
Simmons remains out on Friday while Embiid is probable to play, according to our NBA Insiders tool. On the other hand, the Wizards had a disappointing return to play as they were blown out by the Grizzlies for the second time in the past three games. Bradley Beal, who scored a season-high 60 points in their second matchup this season, is also questionable to play on Friday with a sore left knee.
So how will these potential injuries impact the matchup? Let’s dig in and find out.
The 76ers have a plethora of long and talented defensive players as they rank sixth in Defensive Rating at 110.0 this season (excluding garbage time, per Cleaning The Glass). The 76ers rank just 15th in Offensive Rating at 113.1, but they played arguably their best game on Thursday despite missing Embiid and Simmons as seven players scored in double figures.
The Sixers’ offense was so effective without their two All-Stars because of excellent ball movement, shot selection, and rebounding as they scored 78 points in the paint.
With the MVP frontrunner likely returning on Friday, they will have more of a margin for error offensively. If the 76ers can continue to get quality looks and move the ball offensively they can easily survive and thrive without Simmons again.
Tobias Harris, Seth Curry, and Shake Milton (who each tied for a team-high 15 shots against the Bulls) will continue to play key roles for the 76ers as their main ball-handlers, and they will need to continue making quality decisions to set up the best shots available.
The Wizards have gotten consistent playmaking from Bradley Beal all season, but Russell Westbrook has elevated his game over the past month, and the Wizards have started winning games because of it.
After playing early in the season while still recovering from injuries, Westbrook is clearly moving better and getting to the basket more often. Per Cleaning The Glass, before Feb. 13, Westbrook had taken just 27% of his shot attempts at the rim (46th percentile among point guards). Since Feb. 13, he has taken 35% of his shot attempts at the rim (72nd percentile).
Coming into this season, Westbrook had never taken fewer than 34% of his shot attempts at the rim. The recent trend of him being more aggressive getting to the basket fits the mold of his historical shot profile and the strengths of his game as an athletic finisher at the rim.
With Beal questionable, the Wizards will need Westbrook at his best as he will be the focal point of the offense. He will need to deal with the 76ers’ pesky defenders like Matisse Thybulle and drive the basketball to set up quality looks for Wizards shooters like Davis Bertans, Deni Avdija, and Garrison Matthews.
Despite playing the second leg of a back-to-back on Friday, I like the 76ers to win and cover. With Bradley Beal questionable, expect the 76ers to focus their defensive efforts on stopping Westbrook; the Wizards won’t have enough playmakers to hang with the 76ers offense that is firing on all cylinders.
The Wizards were obliterated by Jonas Valanciunas on Wednesday as he scored 29 points and grabbed 20 rebounds. The Wizards don’t have great options at center and I expect the 76ers to take advantage down low with Embiid, Tony Bradley, and Dwight Howard.
I’ll take the 76ers to cover with value down to -6.5.
Pick: 76ers -4.5