Spurs vs. 76ers NBA Odds & Pick: Lineup Questions Put Plenty of Value on Total (Sunday, March 14)
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Philadelphia 76ers standout Tobias Harris.
- The Philadelphia 76ers host the San Antonio Spurs in Sunday's contest in the City of Brotherly Love.
- Both teams will be missing star players, with Joel Embiid and DeMar DeRozan sidelined for this matchup.
- Kenny Ducey explains why he finds a ton of value on the total below.
Spurs vs. 76ers Odds
|+110 / -130
|6:30 p.m. ET
|Odds as of Sunday morning and via DraftKings.
After losing star Joel Embiid to an injury Friday, the Philadelphia 76ers will look to press on and win their ninth game in 11 tries Sunday when they host the San Antonio Spurs.
San Antonio is also missing a key contributor in DeMar DeRozan, who has been vital to the team's offensive output . With both out, could there be value in the total in this showdown? Or could the Sixers' against-the-spread (ATS) trend point us in their direction?
Let's dig into the numbers to find out what might be in store.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs really don't have many key injuries to report, save for DeRozan's recent absence. The four-time All-Star will miss his second game in a row for personal reasons, and although San Antonio didn't miss him much in a blowout win over Orlando on Friday, it could be a different story against Philadelphia.
There's also the situation with LaMarcus Aldridge, which we should remind you of. Yes, the side have mutually agreed to part ways. Other than those big names being absent, there aren't expected to be any other missing players.
When DeRozan has been off the floor, which isn't the largest sample to work off of at just 624 minutes, the Spurs have really struggled to score. Their offensive efficiency has dropped to a lowly 104.2 points per 100 possessions, compared to 111.4 points in 1,018 minutes with him on the floor, according to NBA.com.
Defensively, though, San Antonio has improved by a whopping 13.5 points per 100 possessions. That comes as no surprise given how bad DeRozan has been on that end of the floor over the course of his career, and stands to be the only saving grace from missing him. Perhaps the improvements on the defensive end can put this game in a winnable spot.
It's been a mixed bag of late for the Spurs, who enter with a 3-4 record against the spread in their last seven games, which happen to be their only wins over that span.
One thing that has remained steady lately has been their defense, which ranks fifth in the NBA over the past 10 games with a 107.9 defensive rating. That's what San Antonio will need to lean on as it tries for the upset.
The Sixers were just starting to click, getting back to 100 percent health and going on a torrid run to assert their dominance in the East. Then, misfortune struck Philadelphia again as Embiid went down with a knee injury.
The good news for the Sixers is the All-Star has been diagnosed with a bone bruise and should only miss two or three weeks. However, that bit of relief won't help them here as they try to find a way through the Spurs' defense.
Like San Antonio with DeRozan, Philadelphia has seen a large drop-off in production without Embiid. The difference here is that the sample is rather large since the Sixers have played 829 minutes without him.
In that time, the team's scoring an unsightly 13.7 fewer points per 100 possessions, according to NBA.com. The Sixers' assist rate has also dropped 4.2 percent, and while it's not a huge difference, the rebounding rate has gone down 0.8 percent without Embiid present.
However, the defensive end is where things can get a bit tricky without Embiid, with Philadelphia allowing 2.7 more points per 100 plays.
The Sixers have been on a menacing pace of late, so while they're down their best player, the rest of the team has been playing at such a high level that it's possible this is something they're able to overcome.
Philadelphia has won six of its last seven, covering in all six of those wins. It has been one of the best home teams in the league, with a 13-6 ATS record.
My initial inkling here was to lay the points with the Sixers as short home favorites, where they've been so strong all season long with or without their stars in the lineup.
And, along those lines, Philadephia has had to deal with Embiid missing time all season long, so we know what to expect from it in these spots. The Spurs, on the other hand, have hardly had to play without DeRozan in the lineup, who will be missing just his fifth game.
After diving into these splits with both teams, though, I'm inclined to take the under here, aligning myself with the sharp money we've seen coming in on the total ahead of the game. Over the past 10 games, both rank in the top five in defensive efficiency, with the Sixers third (104.8) and the Spurs in fifth (107.9).
There's also the fact the Spurs play considerably better defense without DeRozan, and have been deploying forward Trey Lyles in his absence, who should help guard the Sixers in the paint.
On the other hand, while Philly has gotten worse on defense without Embiid on the floor (-2.9 per 100 plays), the Spurs' offensive ineptitude without DeRozan should help the Sixers play plenty of defense.
The Spurs are 5-2 to the under over their last seven games, and the Sixers are 5-4 over their last nine contests. That said, I expect a lower-scoring game as both teams go on without their top players.
Pick: Total Under 225.5 (-110)