The Philadelphia 76ers are taking the NBA by
storm this season, both from a ‘balling
and betting’ standpoint. They’ll try to continue their amazing streak when
they play host to the San Antonio Spurs tonight. Game time is 7 PM ET at the
Wells Fargo Center.
The NBA odds makers opened with Philly
favored by -3.5 and the spread is holding; the total has dropped from an
opening position of 182 to 180.5.
Philadelphia (18-7 SU, 17-7-1 ATS) has been a
pleasant surprise both in the standings
and in NBA picks. The
Sixers lead the Atlantic Division by -3.5 games over the Celtics and are -2.5
games in front of the Denver Nuggets for the best spread record in the league. In
addition, Philadelphia’s +10 margin of victory is also best in the league, more
than double that of second-place Denver.
Monday night, the Sixers picked up their
biggest victory of the season beating the Lakers 95-90 at WFC. Lou
Williams had 24 points for the winners including 14 in the final quarter as
Philadelphia turned a seven-point deficit into a five-point lead with 1:17
remaining. The victory snapped a four-game skid against the Lakers
and helped them grab the cash as a -4.5 point favorite.
Granted Los Angeles has been struggling on
the road (3-9) but they’re still considered one of the elite teams in the
league. Beating them—anytime or anyplace—is considered a big deal and you rest
assured that the rest of the league took notice. If Philadelphia felt like it
needed some sort of ‘validation’, they got it against Kobe and company.
Defense is now the Sixers calling card.
They’re second in the league in points per game (86.6), fifth in field goal
percentage (42.0) and fourth in guarding the 3-pointer (30.7 percent).
Offensively Williams is Philly’s leading scorer (15.5 ppg) but overall they’ve
got six players averaging double figures and two more putting up nine points
per game. The Sixers are young, athletic, deep and talented and seem to be the
perfect team for the truncated NBA schedule.
We keep hearing about how the Spurs are over-the-hill but Tim Duncan and Tony
Parker have proved the naysayers wrong, at least in the past two games.
Saturday, in a 107-96 victory over the young and talented Oklahoma City
Thunder, Parker exploded for 42 points on 16 of 19 shooting. Two nights later
it was Duncan turning back the clock with 19 points and 17 rebounds in an 89-84
victory over Memphis.
Right now everyone in San Antonio is pretty happy.
The Spurs are winning (five straight, 7 of 10) and are getting it done at the
betting window (6-0 ATS). As everyone knows, it’s tough enough handicapping the
NBA. Now we have to find out if Parker and/or Duncan took a swig from the
fountain of youth before the game.
San Antonio leads the Southwest Division by
-2.5 games over Dallas and Houston. They’ve got the best home record in the
league (13-1) but have struggled on the road (4-8).
It’s evident that there’s a subtle change
taking place in San Antonio. A team that was once known for its defense is now
among the highest scoring teams in the NBA. The Spurs are eighth in points per
game (99.7 ppg) and 12th in defense (93.5 ppg). The scoring differential
is a scant +0.31
This will be the first meeting of the year
between the two teams who have alternated wins and losses over the past eight
games. Philadelphia is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 series meetings.
The Spurs are 4-17 ATS in the last 21 series
meetings but the underdog is on a 16-5 roll vs. the number.
The Sixers are working on a pair of
impressive trends. Philly is 13-4 ATS in its last 17 home games and 19-7-1
Harvey’s Take; Philadelphia is the play for me. I’m going on the money
line to prevent of the Spurs patented ‘Make it close at the end finishes’. My
only concern about the Sixers is the possibility of a letdown after facing the
Lakers but I’ll take that chance.