We have a juicy, must see TV double header tonight beginning (we hope) with a long awaited matchup between Joel Embiid vs. his former teammate on the Brooklyn Nets, Ben Simmons. James Harden Kyrie Irving, Seth Curry will suit up as well. Royce O’Neal, the player the Nets acquired using the Sixers 2023 pick will play. Kevin Durant will not, as he nurses his MCL sprain.
Following the blockbuster trade between Daryl Morey and Nets’ GM Sean Marks, Brooklyn opted to defer the pick option they acquired from 2022 to 2023.
So the Sixers were able to land De’Anthony Melton from Memphis by trading their own 2022 pick, along with Danny Green. That left the Nets with the Sixers’ 2023 pick which they subsequently shipped out for the former Jazz wingman, O’Neal. We’re still patiently waiting to see if and when the Nets trade the Sixers 2027 first they possess for even more help. They’d be silly not to, with Durant still in his prime.
I assume the Nets are disappointed with their return of Simmons thus far, given his ongoing back issues and lack of aggression as a scorer (the latter seems to stem all the way back to his last game as a Sixer). And I assume that the Sixers are pretty happy with what James Harden has brought to the table recently, if not last season. In case you hadn’t noticed, they’re pretty good. Maybe both teams would argue this was a win-win trade. Maybe not, who knows?
Nets at Sixers (Sixer -5, Money Line -200)
As of this writing, we still don’t know for sure if Joel Embiid will suit up, although ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne says she expects him to.
.@ramonashelburne expects Joel Embiid to play tonight and face Ben Simmons for the first time— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 25, 2023
Embiid is listed as questionable against the Nets. pic.twitter.com/KibNRa2wJQ
After watching Kyrie Irving basically defeat Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors singlehandedly in California the other night, a five point spread signals to me that odds makers have little doubt The Process will miss his second chance to square off against his former teammate in Simmons.
Last time the teams met, Philadelphia handled Kevin Durant, Irving and Simmons without Embiid, James Harden, or Tyrese Maxey. How on earth did that happen? They were led by Tobias Harris’ 24 points, De’Anthony Melton’s 22, and Paul Reed’s monster 19 point, ten rebound, two steal, two block double-double. But that was before Reed was demoted for Montrezl Harrell and the Nets rattled off 19 of their next 22. And before obviously, KD went down with the MCL sprain that’s keeping him sidelined for at least another couple weeks.
We don’t know what the status is of Embiid’s sore foot, precisely. But it appears to be an ongoing thing now. He’s had a good five days off and still seems like a game time decision. Not ideal.
With this in mind, I’m popping on a Single Game Parlay for this one, and betting the Sixers alternative line -1.5 (-180). That gives me a live chance to cover the two points if Embiid doesn’t play, and I’ll love my chances if he does wind up suiting up. Irving is on an absolute heater lately. And if the Sixers couldn’t stop Zach LaVine, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, or De’Aaron Fox recently, I see no reason they’ll have better luck vs. an even more talented ball-handler and all-time finisher.
We’re hammering the Irving over 29.5 (-105). Nicolas Claxton has 15 points or more in his last five outings. We’re slating him for 14 or more (-200). He’ll probably get to that if Embiid suits up and he’ll probably smash it if Joel cannot or is limited. As of now, our parlay odds pay +450, so if you want to stop there, be my guest.
But we have #revengegame narratives for the guy Nets fans apparently call Ben Ten. If he’s too scared to dunk on the Sixers little guys maybe you fancy him overpassing to the tune of 7.5 assists (+120), and hoping for the waning prestige a triple-double still brings, so crashing glass (over 7.5 boards, +110). If you stack those two bets on top, we’re now at +2200. If you think James Harden, leading the NBA in assists per game, can get another 10 dimes, (over 9.5, -210) we’re at a cool +3000 where our $5 bucks pays out $155.
Shame, Shame, Shame on DraftKings for not letting us bet that Simmons bricks two second-half free throws and provides the whole county with some nugget. Doc Rivers should definitely consider some Hack-a-Clax or Hack-a-Ben if they’re not getting stops.
Play around with a few of those, or just smash them all and try to win big. That’s what I’ll be doing. If you hit, you can put all of your winnings on the Birds this Sunday.
Grizzlies at Warriors (Warriors -3.5, -165 Money Line)
A rematch of one of the most fun-to-watch series of last years playoffs, at least before Ja Morant got hurt.
Memphis is 2.5 games behind the Denver Nuggets for first place in the West. The Warriors are 10.5 games back. And yet the two teams are neck and neck in terms of title odds on DraftKings (+950 for the Grizz and +1000 for the reigning champs, respectively). No matter how slow the defending champions start, oddsmakers have a ton of faith in Curry and co. as they should.
Single Game Parlay anyone? Let’s get it.
The Grizz have lost three in a row to the Lakers, Suns, and Kings. And now they have arguably, an even tougher task over by The Bay. Still, it’s really tough to count this team out, especially with Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. back from early-season absences and in rhythm. They’d won 11 in a row before this mini skid. And I think with the odds here, it’s worth betting on them to get back on track.
I’m not sure who’s going to win, and I can’t bring myself to get on that ultra tempting +150 money line for Memphis. If you like it, definitely pounce. But I’ll nervously pony up for the alternative +6.5 (-165) line that they keep it close. The Warriors give up the 4th most fantasy points on DraftKings to opposing shooting guards. So I think I’ll take the over (19.5, -180) for Desmond Bane points.
The Warriors are also in the bottom five against opposing point guards. Teams still target Steph Curry when he’s on defense. So pop that Morant points over (27.5, -155) on. Coming back the other way, Curry’s over 25.5 (-170) feels relatively safe.
We’re at +500 now on that parlay. If you like Jaren Jackson Jr. to drop 14 or more, you can hit the 13.5 over (-185) to juice this thing up to +750. And then we’ll be able to root for a handful of stars to get buckets on the late night game.
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