76ers vs. Wizards Odds, Predictions & Game 3 Preview: How To Bet Saturday’s Spread
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
- This first-round NBA playoff series flips to Washington DC on Saturday night with the 76ers in possession of a 2-0 lead.
- Philadelphia has been a nightmare for the Wizards when Joel Embiid isn't battling foul trouble.
- Phillip Kall agrees with the public in Game 3 as a large majority of the bets have been placed on Philadelphia.
76ers vs. Wizards Game 3 Odds
|Moneyline||-240 / +195|
|Time||Saturday, 7 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday and via DraftKings|
After their dominant 120-95 win Wednesday, the 76ers took a 2-0 series lead. While Philly was expected to win the first two games, the score differential from Game 2 was still shocking. Their excellent performance has the public changing its tune on how to bet on this matchup.
For Game 2, 47 percent of bets against the spread were on the Sixers per our website. As of this writing, for Game 3, that number way up to about 80 percent.
The public’s change of heart is likely due to just two players: Joel Embiid and Russell Westbrook. In Game 1, Embiid was forced out of the first half due to foul trouble. This allowed Washington to keep things closer than expected until his return in the third quarter. Had Embiid never been forced out, Game 1 may have looked a lot more like Game 2.
Westbrook’s injury is the other moving piece between Games 2 and 3. He missed practice Friday and is marked as questionable for the game. If he is forced out or limited, Washington will likely lose one of their paths to victory. This just makes things worse for a team already facing a bad matchup and talent deficit.
Let’s dig deeper to see if Philly will reward the public or if Washington can find a way to pull the upset.
76ers are a Different Team with Embiid on the Court
Throughout the season injuries forced Philly to play a total of 27 different starting lineups per Basketball Reference. However, the potential of their complete starting lineup did show as they went 27-5 in their 32 starts together. With the playoffs here and everyone playing, we are again seeing how fierce this group of players can be.
The main reason for the success of this group is center Joel Embiid. With Embiid on the court, the Sixers have produced a Net Rating of +33.0 against the Wizards. Without Embiid, their Net Rating drops way down to -5.9 per Basketball Reference.
The first half of Game 1 is the perfect example of the stark differences between this team with and without Embiid. When foul trouble limited Embiid, Philly turned to Tobias Harris who answered the call. Harris would score 28 points in the half, but the Wizards would still held a one-point lead. Fortunately, Embiid returned in the third and scored or assisted on their last 11 points of the quarter, giving Philly a lead they would keep the rest of the game.
Given their position as the top seed in the East, Philly’s struggles had to worry fans about how far this team can go. They would quickly remove those doubts by steamrolling Washington in Game 2. Now, things for this squad are much clearer. As long as their starters, especially Embiid, are on the court they are a force to be reckoned with.
Wizards Let Game 1 Slip Away
Washington followed their impressive Game 1 performance with a completely tragic performance in Game 2. In Game 1, little went wrong for the Wizards as they shot 55.7% from the floor and 40.0% from 3. In Game 2, everything went ice cold as they shot 40.2% from the floor and 9.1% from 3.
Making a bounce-back harder for Washington is the injury to Russell Westbrook. Westbrook has been lackluster as a scorer in this series shooting just 33.3% and missing all five of his 3-point attempts. He still has found ways to contribute on offense by getting teammates involved with 12.5 assists per game. While he has been ice cold, Westbrook still has the ability to go off on any night and carry the team to victory. However, if his ankle limits his ability to play at his frantic pace, he could quickly turn into a liability.
Trying to make up for his partner’s in crime struggles has been Bradley Beal. Beal is averaging 33 points with a 52.9% field goal percentage while ranking third in field goal attempts per game in the playoffs. If Westbrook is forced to sit out Beal may be asked to carry even more of the load for this team.
As this series continues we may look back at Game 1 as Washington’s best chance to escape with even one win. They had the hot hand, Embiid was in foul trouble, and they even led at the half. If Philly doesn’t get complacent it could be up to a massive game from Westbrook or Beal to even avoid a sweep.
Matching up with the 76ers in the first round was the worst draw for the Wizards. Washington’s offense is based on penetrating and creating shots within 10-feet of the hoop. Per Basketball Reference, they rank first in both percent of field goal attempts and shooting percentage within three to 10 feet of the basket. This has them driving right into the superior size and length of Philly’s defenders.
On defense, Washington is just completely outmanned in the frontcourt. Guarding Embiid is difficult even for the best NBA defenders, but they also still have to match up with Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris. These mismatches have led to Simmons averaging 11.5 assists per game and Harris scoring 28.0 points per game on 57.1% shooting.
Side with the public and back Philly to take a 3-0 lead.
Pick: 76ers -5.5 to -8