*Odds as of 7:30am EST 10/29
I’ve had a solid run to start the young NBA season, going 6-2 through my first eight NBA picks. I took a break over the past three days, but I’m back and ready to hit the ground running.
Monday night offers up a solid NBA betting slate, so there should be plenty of options for bettors to consider. Of the lot, my favorite game lies in Philly, where the 76ers play host to the Atlanta Hawks. The 76ers have been up and down to start the new 2018-19 basketball season and going into tonight’s game are a middling 3-3.
This is an amazing “get right” spot for Philly, who should be well rested after last playing on Saturday. The Sixers ranked second with a 32-21-1 ATS record with a day off last year and they have a lot going for them in this spot. This is admittedly a steep point spread, but I’m actually pretty shocked it’s even this close.
Atlanta Hawks (+11, -110) @ Philadelphia 76ers (-11, -110) Total: 229.5 (-110)
The Hawks have some nice pieces, but they are still starting a small rookie that can’t defend in Trae Young. He is going to be bothered by Philly’s size on the perimeter and I won’t be surprised at all if he has a terrible outing. This team is not talented enough to win games like this unless he goes nuts, so right away I’d say Atlanta is in big trouble.
The Hawks are a surprising 2-3 through five games, but they don’t play much defense and they don’t really have anyone that can silence Ben Simmons up top or Joel Embiid down low. This is a team that went just 24-58 overall a year ago and they come into this matchup with even less talent now. They were also really bad (8-23) on the road last year and unsurprisingly had difficulty (also 8-32) beating the spread as road underdogs.
This is all bad news as they go into Philly to face a 76ers team that had their number in a 3-0 season series sweep last year. None of those games were particularly close, either, with Philly winning by 8, 10 and 10 points. I don’t think it’s asking much for Philly to cover this spread at home against an even less talented Hawks team this time around.
Philly should be 100% healthy for this game. I’d still monitor Embiid (rest) or Simmons (back), but both should be active and be playing their regular minutes. Philly’s supporting cast isn’t quite as explosive as they were last season, but this is still a very dangerous team that averages 112 points per game and pushes the ball (8th in pace) as much as anyone.
That’s another thing that could lead to bad things for the Hawks. Atlanta enters tonight leading the league in pace, yet they rank a ghastly 26th in offensive efficiency. They do rank 10th in defensive efficiency, but anything impressive about them needs to be put in perspective real quick when you consider who they’ve faced to this point (Knicks, Grizzlies, Cavaliers, Mavericks and Bulls).
Those aren’t world-beaters, let alone playoff teams. Philly is without a doubt the best team the Hawks have sniffed yet and they’re going to come into Wells Fargo Center and beat Ben Simmons and company at their own game? I just can’t envision that.
I’m sensing an old fashioned housing here. Philly has a capable defense (12th), can handle (and loves) an up tempo setting, they’re way more talented and they’re at home. To close this thing up, let’s not forget that Philly was a sparkling 30-11 on their home last year and have gotten off to a sweet 3-0 start here in 2018-19 as well.
More specific to this bet, the Sixers were terrific (53-37-2) against the spread a season ago and were as good as anyone (27-14) when favored on their home floor. I also wouldn’t put a ton of stock in their current 1-5 mark ATS. It’s quite early in the year and they’ve had a pretty tough schedule. All three of their losses came on the road, too, and they came against talented Celtics, Bucks and Pistons teams.
I say let’s not overreact to what the Sixers have shown us through six games and let’s double down on the fact that they crush at home and absolutely should dismantle an inferior Hawks team. The spread is a bit thick, but backing Philly straight up at -750 isn’t on the table. I doubt you’ll feel good about betting on the Hawks to keep this thing competitive, either.
Instead, let’s bank on the Sixers dominating just like they should. Feel free to shop around on this line, but if you’re with me here, I’d hop on it sooner rather than later. This spread is only going to get bigger.
One more thing; if you catch wind that Embiid and/or Simmons are scratched from this game for some reason, I would not take this bet. However, if at least one of them are in and the spread drops considerably, I’d definitely consider it still.