NBA Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Suns vs. 76ers Preview (April 21)
David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers.
- The Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers meet Wednesday at Wells Fargo Center for a matchup between two of the best teams in the league (7 p.m. ET, NBA TV).
- Both teams have been playing at a high level over their past few games, but the Suns enter as 1-point road favorites.
- Kenny Ducey details where he's finding betting value in tonight's matchup and gives his Sixers vs. Suns pick below.
Suns vs. 76ers Odds
|Moneyline||-115 / -105|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday and via PointsBet|
In what could be — in some fans’ minds anyway — an NBA Finals preview, the Phoenix Suns, just a game and a half out of the top spot out West, travel to Philadelphia to take on the East-leading 76ers.
Philly held two of its three best players out last game, but with the duo presumably re-joining the fold on Wednesday, this one should be as tight as can be.
With so little separating the two sides, let’s get into the matchup and see if we can figure out who will come away the winner.
The Suns have begun to take on a different identity as we hit the final stretch of the NBA season, and though it’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s … different.
We’ve been used to seeing the Suns bear down on the defensive end, but over the past 10 games it’s been the offense that has out-shined the defense. Phoenix is giving up 109.9 points per 100 possessions, according to NBA.com, while its offense sits fifth with a 117.3 Efficiency Rating.
It goes on — over that span, the Suns are 12th in pace. This team currently sits 24th in pace for the season, and for most of the year spent its time among the five slowest teams in basketball.
Gone are the days of Chris Paul grinding games to a painfully slow halt, and the Suns swallowing up some of the best scorers out West. It’s not as if their defense has gone away completely, but it has taken a backseat as the Suns have really begun to percolate on offense. As a result, a once-trusty under team has become an over team, surpassing the total in nine of the last 12 games.
Wednesday could be another step closer to the top spot out West for Phoenix, which sits just 1.5 games back of the limping Jazz for the top spot. The Suns can smell blood in the water with Donovan Mitchell out, and they’re surely hellbent on grabbing the No. 1 seed.
Much of how I bet this game will be determined by the Sixers’ injury report on Wednesday. Ben Simmons missed Monday’s game due to an illness, and Tobias Harris was held out due to a sore knee, which has been giving him fits for about a month now.
Though Philly’s had a day to rest, and Simmons has had some time to drink some herbal tea and sleep in, you’d think two of its three best players would be available in a marquee matchup, but we can’t ever be sure with this team.
The Sixers will be continuing their homestand, and they sure have loved playing at the Wells Fargo Center. Even with Monday’s home loss to Golden State, where they were missing Simmons and Harris, they’re a stunning 22-6 straight-up and 16-12 against the spread in that building with eight wins in their last 11.
Though they’ll be comfortable at home, the Sixers might not feel so comfortable with their standing at the moment with the Nets just a game back of first place in the East. Philly is entering a tough stretch where it will have to take on Phoenix, then Milwaukee twice, and it’s a real possibility in five days’ time there is a new team atop the conference.
With that, the Sixers should come into this one highly motivated and in a profitable spot. They certainly have looked the part, leading the NBA with a 104.7 defensive rating over the past 10 games and absolutely suffocating some of the league’s most potent offenses. The Suns certainly fall into that category, and could very well be the next victim.
The Sixers have gone over the total just twice in the last 11 games, and we’ve already laid out how the Suns have turned into a big over team. Philly is pushing the pace, and Phoenix is not. Something’s gotta give, and the fact that this game is nearly a pick ’em is simply perfect.
One of the things I like to look into when I’m mulling over Sixers games is how the opposing team does at defending post-ups. After all, it’s what they do the most, leading the league with a 9.9% rate, according to Synergy. Well, it’s not the best; the Suns allow .93 points per play on post-ups, which isn’t the worst mark in the world, but it’s certainly not the best.
There’s also nine spots separating the two sides in rebounding rate with the Sixers up in fifth place in the NBA. There could wind up being a slight edge on the battle down low.
With that, I think the Sixers, given their propensity for defense lately, and their elite big man Joel Embiid, have a slight edge here. I more often than not lean towards the stronger defensive unit anyway, but the mediocrity against post-ups and on the glass makes the decision for me, and the fact that the Sixers are at home makes it a little sweeter.
Pick: Sixers +1 (-110)