Wednesday NBA Playoffs Betting Odds, Preview for Wizards vs. 76ers: Philadelphia Should Roll in Game 2 Battle (May 26)
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Joel Embiid.
- The top-seeded 76ers once again host Washington, this time for Game 2 of their playoff series in which Philadelphia is heavily favored.
- Pretty much everything that could go wrong for Philly in Game 1 did, yet the 76ers were able to pull out the win with a strong performance from Tobias Harris.
- Raheem Palmer expects a better 48 minutes from Philadelphia and an easy win in the Game 2 showdown.
Wizards vs. 76ers Odds
|Moneyline||-360 / +300|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
The Philadelphia 76ers are the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and prohibitive favorites over the eighth-seeded Washington Wizards, but it certainly didn't look like it on Sunday afternoon as they trailed by one at halftime before escaping with a 125-118 victory.
It had to be disappointing for a team that had a week off and was expected to cruise to an easy victory against a Wizards team that played their way into the postseason via the play-in game. Nonetheless, the 76ers took care of business and lead 1-0 in their first-round playoff series, hoping to build off their Game 1 victory and maintaining home court.
There hasn't been much adjustment from the opening game of this series as oddsmakers have installed the hometown 76ers as eight-point favorites with a total of 230.5. So where's the betting value in this matchup?
Let's find out!
Wizards Couldn't Win Even With a Bad 76ers Performance
The Washington Wizards almost caught the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers slipping, which would be no different than every other team they've faced during since April 7, a stretch in which they've gone 17-6.
During this time period, they were seventh in both Offensive Rating (116.2) and Defensive Rating (110.5), while having the fifth-best Net Rating (5.7) according to NBA.com. The Wizards played as well as anyone could have hoped, shooting 55.7% from the field, including 8-20 (40%) from behind the arc.
After struggling with a hamstring strain recently, Bradley Beal looked healthy, scoring 33 points on 13-of-23 shooting, while Davis Bertans found his shooting stroke off the bench, scoring 14 points on 4-of-8 from behind the arc. Getting Bertans going is particularly important given Washington's struggles from behind the arc.
The Wizards are dead last in three-point shooting frequency (29.2%) and 24th in three-point shooting percentage, making just 35.6% of their attempts according to Cleaning the Glass. With only Bertans and Raul Neto shooting above league average from behind the arc for the Wizards, this team will need more shooting in order to create space for Beal and Russell Westbrook.
The Wizards score the majority of their points in the paint as they're eighth in field goal percentage at the rim (66.7%) this season. This continued in Sunday's game where they shot 84.8% at the rim, largely due to the absence of Joel Embiid who played just 10 first-half minutes due to foul trouble.
The 76ers are 10th in opponent field goal percentage at the rim (63.5%), so it feels as if the Wizards' performance isn't sustainable if Embiid plays his full allotment of minutes. Although the Wizards got a great shooting night in addition to foul trouble from Embiid, it says a lot about the their chances to win this series considering they couldn't capitalize on these favorable circumstances.
They had no answer for Embiid when he was on the floor, as he scored 30 points on just 16 attempts while shooting 13 free throws to the Wizards 15. Their options for defending Embiid consist of Alex Len and Robin Lopez, and they combined for just seven fouls. Nonetheless, it's increasingly clear that they can't defend him without sending him to there free throw line.
In their attempts to load up on Embiid, they also struggled to stop Tobias Harris. With the Wizards playing above their heads offensively, a poor offensive performance from Ben Simmons as well as Philadelphia's struggles shooting the three in Game 1, the Wizards may find their season ending sooner rather than later, as we should expect a better performance from the 76ers going forward.
Embiid & Harris Should Dominate for 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers had a slow start to the 2021 postseason and found themselves in a dog fight with a Washington Wizards team who they were supposed to dominate coming off the play-in game.
Joel Embiid got into foul trouble early and played just 10 first-half minutes which left the door ajar for the Wizards to compete. The 76ers also weren't immune to the shooting struggles that plagued every other home team in Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs.
While home teams combined to shoot 76-of-278 from behind the arc (27.3%), the 76ers played their part in the campaign shooting 10-of-32 (31.3%), including 1-of-8 (12.5%) in the first quarter and 3-of-17 (17.6%) in the first half.
The 76ers were eventually able to settle down and take control as the Wizards had no answer for Embiid in the minutes he did play. Embiid finished with a plus/minus of +20 in 30 minutes, scoring 30 points on 9-of-16 shooting including 12-of-13 from the charity stripe.
It helps when a team can't defend you without fouling, and with them giving so much attention to Embiid, Tobias Harris capitalized scoring 37 points on 15-of-29 shooting.
The Wizards are prime candidates to be dominated by big wings as they're dead last in opponent mid-range shooting percentage (46%). The Wizards gave up 50 points to Jayson Tatum in the first game of the play-in tournament, and it's not a surprise that Harris was able to do the same.
With both Harris and Embiid shooting in the 83rd and 76th percentile on midrange jumpers, this is an area where they can score all day.
The Wizards are also 27th in opponent field goal percentage at the rim (65.8%) so Embiid, Harris and Ben Simmons who scored just six points on Sunday should have no problems scoring against this defense.
Defense is a big part of the 76ers identity this season as they're third in Defensive Rating, allowing 108.2 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes according to Cleaning the Glass. Their defense showed up in a big way on Sunday, holding the Wizards without a field goal for four minutes in the fourth quarter as well as an Offensive Rating of just 104.
It's pretty clear why the 76ers are heavy favorites to win this series. Everything went right for the Wizards in Game 1 and the 76ers still won by seven points.
The Wizards got a great shooting night, foul trouble from Joel Embiid that kept him off the floor, a poor three-point shooting night from the 76ers as well as just six points from Ben Simmons.
The 76ers are the much better team, and it feels like this line is short based on what we've seen during the opening game of this series. I'll lay the eight points with the 76ers as they look to take a commanding 2-0 lead.
Pick: Philadelphia -8 (-110)