Philadelphia still isn’t over the Super Bowl and these wounds need time to heal. But after tonight’s star-studded ESPN double header, we might at least come away with something else to discuss on local radio besides punt returns, and holding calls, right?
Joel Embiid, and we’ll-see-if-he’s-an-All-Star-after-all James Harden, play host to the upstart Cleveland Cavaliers.
Cavaliers at Sixers (Cavs -1, Money Line -110)
The Sixers are rare home dogs? Why?
Per Rotowire, a look at the lineups:
#Sixers guard Furkan Korkmaz remains sidelined due to personal reasons, according to the 6:30 am NBA injury report. Meanwhile, P.J. Tucker (right calf tightness) is probably for tonight's game against the #ClevelandCavaliers. Joel Embiid (left foot soreness) is questionable.— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) February 15, 2023
So with a range of outcomes including neither Joel Embiid nor P.J. Tucker playing (to get in the extra day before All-Star Break to heal), both playing and looking fine, one sitting and the other playing, and all of the swirling in-between, the Sixers are slight home underdogs here.
As Sixers fans we know there’s a much better than even shot Joel plays (this is a national TV game and a must-win with three-seed-or-better-implications very much on the line) and that once we learn he will be in, the line will move.
For now, let’s pop on a Single Game Parlay and bet the Sixers Money Line of +100. And in this scenario where the Sixers win, we can bet on James Harden to drop more than 18.5 points (-170). Harden averages 21.5 points per game in Sixers wins. And if Embiid is at all limited, The Beard may need to pick up some scoring slack. If you’re so inclined, there’s also a “he has a statement to make” incentive with the NBA potentially looking to fill DeMar DeRozan’s (thigh) All-Star reserve spot. It seems the league will be considering names like Harden, Darius Garland, Jimmy Butler and Knicks guard Jalen Brunson too.
I like Harden’s assists here for similar reasons as his points over. He averages 10.8 dimes in wins. Notching 9 or more is worth betting on (-250). Coming back the other way, the Sixers have lots of trouble stopping the ball. For this reason, it seems like a safe bet that one of Darius Garland or Donovan Mitchell will really hurt them. If you have a sense which one goes ham, you may want to hammer that. Spida had 41 in his last outing so Mitchell putting up 21 or more on Philly doesn’t feel out of reach here (-105).
We’re up to +625 on that SGP. If you want to bet on Joel to drop 30 or more also, that pays +950. If Embiid has to overplay and help on the ball, it might leave Jarrett Allen open for some offensive rebounds and you know he’ll clean the glass on the other end. If you like Allen’s over 10.5 boards (+105) you can reallllly juice that play up, and if you hit that, you may manage to smile for the first time since Sunday night.
Pelicans at Lakers (Lakers -4.5, Money Line -180)
LeBron James hasn’t played since he broke Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all time scoring record. The King now stands alone as the greatest scorer in NBA history. He’s questionable for tonight. Anthony Davis is probable with a foot stress issue. AD has been the topic of much discussion as to why he was spotted moping during his possible G.O.A.T. teammate’s historic moment.
Zion Williamson is out. And we’re not sure if CJ McCollum will suit up.
.@mcten said on ESPN just now that the Lakers are "hopeful" LeBron will play tonight vs. the Pelicans. Obviously, no sure thing yet.— Michael Corvo (@michaelcorvoNBA) February 15, 2023
The Pelicans have been on a dreadful skid, losing 12 of their last 17. But four out of their last five. Brandon Ingram looks really good.
I suppose one could argue The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor was right that BI was the better pick than Ben Simmons, who former Sixers’ President Bryan Colangelo selected first overall in 2016.
In a Single Game Parlay, I’m rolling with Ingram’s over 25.5 points (-115), sticking it to his former club. Let’s bet on LeBron’s under 28.5 (-135) since he may not be 100 percent. In 6 games without CJ McCollum, Trey Murphy has averaged 17 points, so let’s bet on him cracking 13 or more (-135). That SGP pays us +500. And if you really want to get frisky, bet on the Pellies to get the upset at +155 on top, bringing your SGP to +900. If LeBron gets ruled out ahead of time, and McCollum plays, you’ll love your chances then.