If you thought the Sixers making the playoffs seemed likely, Las Vegas appears to agree with you. Odds have been released for all 30 teams heading into the 2017-18 regular season, and the Sixers are sitting pretty, right in the middle of the pack for over/under odds on the season.
The folks at Westgate unveiled the first batch of odds today, and the Sixers over is just past the .500 mark, at a solid 42.5. I don’t know if I would feel comfortable banging the over on that bet—a 15 win improvement is substantial, even with their additions—but there are a few factors to consider here.
Joel Embiid’s health is far from a given, but the Sixers won 28 games last year despite the young center only playing 31 games on the season. And they didn’t always put him in the best position to succeed, either; the failed experiment of playing him simultaneously with Jahlil Okafor ate up a good chunk of the early slate, and frankly, the complimentary pieces were nowhere near the level they’ll be at this season.
Pundits have noted the team will be in the hands of two rookie playmakers, and that’s fair enough, but it’s hard to overstate how desperately they’ve needed any talent in the playmaking department. The Sixers led the league in turnovers per game with 16 in 2016-17, and while you can expect them to stay near the bottom of that category, at least now it will coincide with ball handlers who can beat defenders off the dribble and cause collapses into the paint.
Unlike last season, the team also heads into 2017-18 with a clear pecking order and a fairly concrete rotation. Embiid is the rock upon which the franchise rests, with Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz stepping in to shoulder the creative burden. You have a sharpshooter (JJ Redick), an elite wing defender (Robert Covington), as well as a number of interesting young pieces (Dario Saric, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Richaun Holmes) and decent vets (Jerryd Bayless) who can help you off the bench.
I wouldn’t bet the house on the Sixers hitting 43 wins or more, but I will say it would not be a shock if they do, especially if they can survive the brutal opening stretch of their season. The thing to keep in mind with the Sixers is they are one of the highest variance teams this year, both because of injury risk and their youth. My advice would be bet conservatively.
And hey, even if you don’t believe in that record coming to fruition, the odds appear to favor a Sixers playoff appearance this year. They open at -360 to make the playoffs in 2017-18, and the naysayers can bet on them being shut out with +280 odds.
Get on down to Vegas and place your bets while you still can, and feast your eyes on the full list of team over/unders in the image below.