76ers 2019-20 Season Win Total: What to Expect From Free Agency Changes in Philly
Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Joel Embiid
- Prior to the 2019-20 NBA season, Matt Moore (@HPBasketball) analyzes each team's win total odds.
- Below, Matt provides a case for the over and under + gives his confidence rating for the Philadelphia 76ers' win total this year.
All odds as of Friday. Check out PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Philadelphia 76ers Win Total
The Case for the Over (53.5, DraftKings)
I’m of the position that the Sixers will finish with the best record in the NBA this season with upwards of 56 wins.
When they lost Jimmy Butler in free agency, the immediate reaction was that they got worse. But in adding Josh Richardson and Al Horford, the Sixers fixed an orbit around Joel Embiid.
Instead of trying to build a three-headed monster, this is a team built to make the most of Embiid. That’s a better formula for success than juggling egos.
Ben Simmons is actually the odd man out here. He and Embiid have never had great chemistry: their games don’t fit together naturally, and there’s been some awkward off-court moments as well. But Simmons showed so much more in the playoffs than I was expecting, and his ability to now process defenses better, combined with more playmakers to set him up on possessions, helps.
Horford’s addition is great in two big ways. He knows how to play in two-big lineups; he did it in Atlanta routinely and with Aron Baynes in Boston. He can pass to cutters, hit from range and torture smaller defenders in the post. He’s low usage, low maintenance, high impact.
His presence also means that the Sixers’ ability to win when Embiid sits to rest his balky body goes up. You’re getting the best of Embiid when he plays without wear and tear because you have Horford to step in. If Horford goes down for a stretch, which is possible at his age despite being pretty durable, you have Embiid to carry you.
Richardson adds a scorer both spot-up and off the bounce. The Sixers were the No. 1 team in hand-off points per possession scoring last season; Richardson was 71st percentile in that category.
Through December 1, they have the 29th-ranked strength of schedule, and they close out the year with the 27th-ranked strength of schedule after All-Star break.
This is going to be a monster year for the Sixers.
The Case for the Under (55, Westgate)
Embiid’s durability will always be a question and a reason to hedge with the under. A position that stakes their under combined with their division title odds (-162 at PointsBet) effectively covers both sides, and DraftKings’ odds for them to secure the 1-seed are +150, giving even better value to hedge with the under.
They lost talent, without question. You can argue fit (as I did above), but they are not as talented as they were last season. They lost both Butler and J.J. Redick. Their bench is comprised of journeymen (Mike Scott, James Ennis, Trey Burke) and unproven youngsters (Zhaire Smith, Jonah Bolden).
If their starters don’t dominate, if that chemistry doesn’t flow together, it’s going to clog up the pipes and sputter.
That scenario leads into a December-January stretch (which I often note is the real meat of the schedule) during which they have the ninth-toughest strength of schedule in December and fifth-toughest in January. If they don’t roll out of the gate, the problems could compound.
Richardson may fit well, sure, but he’s also not going to come into a game in which you’re down 10 and Simmons and Embiid have struggled and carry you home vs. Orlando. He’s not going to go off for 45 in a shootout on national TV. There’s more pressure on Embiid, who’s naturally dominant but still has very few signature games to his resume.
This is one of the highest numbers on the board; only the Bucks are higher. Going against 55 wins, even with a really good season, has some value.
- The pick: Over 53.5
- Confidence: 6 out of 10
Clearly based on the assessment above, I love the over. I think they’ll have the best record. They were anointed too early the last two seasons. The division softened for them with Kawhi Leonard going West and the Celtics (who were really an obstacle for them) reconfiguring.
The number’s not soft at 53.5, but it’s soft enough.
Traditionally when there’s a vacuum at the top of the league, one team steps in to fill it. The Bucks filled it last year, but it remains to be seen whether they can repeat that performance, especially after losing Malcolm Brogdon. Boston’s gone from the contender ranks, Brooklyn’s not ready and the Raptors are having a parade season.
The path has been cleared for the Sixers. Ride the over to glory.