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76ers vs. Pelicans NBA Pick – December 10th

The New York Knicks felt like a solid pick in Chicago last night, but they blew it late, with the Bulls winning in the waning seconds. That was a tough loss, while it saw the Bulls start an unlikely two-game winning streak.

The defeat also handed me my second straight loss and dropped me to an 11-10 NBA picks record on the year.

I’ll try to avoid a three-game skid tonight, as I approach a fun 6-game NBA betting slate. There are a few different options on this schedule, but the game that stands out to me the most goes down in New Orleans, where the Pelicans host the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Pels are the early favorites at home in this one, but I’m digging the +6.5 point spread the Sixers have to work with at BetOnline. It’s true that Philly could be a tad tired after playing the Cavs last night, but Joel Embiid did not suit up for that one and will be fresh tonight.

This is actually a pretty even matchup on paper, as Embiid can battle down low with either DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis, while it’s arguable the Pelicans really won’t have an answer for the versatile Ben Simmons. I love the value bettors are potentially getting with the Sixers, but let’s break this matchup down further to see if that’s the bet to take on Sunday:

Philadelphia 76ers (+6.5) @ New Orleans Pelicans (-6.5) Total: 221.5

The only real knocks against the Sixers here are that they’ll be on the road and that they could be a little fatigued. Those facts shouldn’t be ignored, but Philly has actually fared quite well against the spread as a road underdog (6-3) and they’re even a respectable 6-6 on the road, overall. The Sixers have thrived ATS all year, too, coming in with a strong 15-10 mark against the spread.

The Pels haven’t been bad in that regard, either. New Orleans is a decent 14-12 against the spread, after all. However, things drop down considerably when handed an advantage at home, as the Pelicans are just 3-6 against the spread when favored at home.

The good news for the Pels is they are healthy, but with a 6-7 overall home record, this isn’t necessarily a team you can bank on even winning on their home floor. New Orleans isn’t in a great groove right now, either, as they’re just 5-5 over their last 10 games.

Trends and ATS data aside, these teams match up quite well. Both teams rank inside the top 6 of the NBA in terms of pace, while New Orleans actually ranks 10th in offensive efficiency. The offensive matchup edge might go to New Orleans slightly, but the Sixers have the superior array of shooters around their big men.

Philadelphia is also the stronger defensive squad on paper. Robert Covington and Ben Simmons give opposing guards size and length they normally don’t have to deal with, while Embiid is a real force down low.

The Sixers admittedly take a big step back defensively when Embiid isn’t on the court, but when he’s out there they can be quite tough. Philly’s solid 10th-place rank in defensive efficiency on the years probably tells us all we need to know.

There isn’t much history between these two teams in their current forms. The Sixers and Pelicans split two games (1-1) last year, but bettors are otherwise going into this contest without a whole lot of ammo. For me, the Sixers just offer too much value with this big +6.5 line.

I think the Pels do have the edge at home, but they have to win by 7 to convert their ATS bet. Philly has been very competitive all year and probably are the better team, overall. I like a competitive and high-scoring game that should result in a close loss for the Sixers. Just make sure you shop around and find this +6.5 line, as there are some worse lines elsewhere that don’t offer as much value.

Pick: Philadelphia 76ers (+6.5)

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