76ers-Thunder Betting Preview: Can Oklahoma City Maintain the Streak?

76ers-Thunder Betting Preview: Can Oklahoma City Maintain the Streak? article feature image

USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0), Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25).

Betting Odds: Philadelphia 76ers-Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Spread: Thunder -4
  • Over/Under: 238.5
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: TNT

>> All odds as of 3:30 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds and track your bets

While Thursday’s primetime matchup between the 76ers and Thunder won’t include Joel Embiid or Paul George, the point guard matchup of Russell Westbrook and Ben Simmons going head-to-head certainly makes this game worth watching.

Can Simmons pick up a win vs. the Thunder on the road? Our analysts discuss.

Betting Trends to Know

In their first month playing in Oklahoma City, the Thunder lost on the road against the Sixers. That was in 2008.

Since that game, the Thunder have defeated the Sixers in 19 consecutive games, winning by 12 points per game. In those 19 games, the Thunder are 14-5 against the spread, covering the spread by 4.7 points per game. — Evan Abrams

The Sixers are 3-4 straight up and 1-6 against the spread without Joel Embiid this season, having lost their past six games ATS without their big man. The Sixers are a completely different team without Embiid on the floor and a lot of it has to do with how other teams attack them.

With Embiid on the floor, the Sixers are outscoring their opponents by 8.1 points per 100 possessions. With Embiid off the floor, the Sixers are being outscored by 2.5 points per 100 possessions. The +8.1 Net Efficiency with Embiid on the floor, would equate to the second-best mark in the NBA this season, ahead of the Warriors. The -2.5 Net Efficiency would equate to about the Washington Wizards’ efficiency this year. — Abrams

Did you know? Russell Westbrook is having a historically bad shooting season. Of all players to shoot at least 4.5 three pointers per game in at least 50 games, Westbrook has the worst percentage in NBA history and of all guards to shoot at least six free throws/game, Westbrook has the fifth worst free throw percentage. — John Ewing

Mears: How I’m Betting Tonight’s Game

Well, this game got a little less exciting. We got news before the line was released Wednesday evening that Embiid, wouldn’t play, but on Thursday afternoon the Thunder surprisingly scratched their best player and MVP candidate Paul George.

The line initially started at Thunder -5.5, and I had written before the PG-13 injury that it was a bad line. Joel Embiid is incredibly important to the 76ers: With him on the floor, they’ve been 15.7 points per 100 possessions better than when he is off. That’s in the 98th percentile of players. He’s especially valuable defensively, as they’ve been 9.2 points/100 worse with sitting.

Further, backup center Boban Marjanovic is also out for this one. The sample size is small, but the 76ers have been pretty atrocious without those guys defending the rim. The line arguably should’ve been around Thunder -8 to peg the true value of those injuries, and before George’s news it indeed got up to -7.

Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George (13).

Once his injury news hit, the line deflated all the way back to Thunder -4. Is George worth that much? Absolutely. Plus/Minus-wise, he’s legitimately the most impactful player in the NBA this season.

With him on the floor, the Thunder have been a ridiculous 21.3 points/100 better than with him off. That’s split fairly evenly on both ends of the floor, and he, along with Embiid, is one of the favorites to win Defensive Player of the Year.

OK, so both teams are missing their best players. Where’s the value? This line of Thunder -4 currently suggests OKC is about a point better without PG than Philly without Embiid and Boban.

I think there’s still a bit of value on Philly, although it’s close, given that I think PG is a more impactful player when you factor in replaceability on his team.

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.