76ers -1.5 the NBA Pick to Turn Lakers Inefficiency Into Hard Cash

Jason Lake

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 11:07 AM GMT

They might be the two worst teams in the league, but hey, at least the Philadelphia 76ers have been beating the NBA odds. The Los Angeles Lakers? They're 5-11 ATS.

Jason's 2015-16 record as of Nov. 30: 6-8 ATS, 1-0 Total

 

This is obviously not the way Kobe Bryant wanted to end his NBA career. Michael Jordan was still a very good player (19.3 PER, +1.0 BPM) for the Washington Wizards when he retired for the third time in 2003. Shaquille O'Neal didn't get in a lot of minutes with the Boston Celtics in 2010-11, but he performed well (17.4 PER, +1.5 BPM) when he did. Bryant is not performing well this year. He's the worst player (9.9 PER, –5.3 BPM) on the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Lakers are the worst team in the Western Conference at 2-14 SU and 5-11 ATS.

Meanwhile, back East, the Philadelphia 76ers have yet to win a game. Yet they're still exceeding market expectations at 0-18 SU and 10-8 ATS. The Sixers have a great chance of cracking that goose egg Tuesday night (7:00 p.m. ET, CSN) when they host Bryant and the Lakers; as we go to press, Philadelphia is a 1.5-point home dog on our NBA odds board. It's the smallest spread the Sixers have faced all year.

 

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It's pretty much a slam-dunk that the Sixers are going into our NBA picks. There's one very big problem, though: PF Nerlens Noel (9.6 PER, –4.6 BPM) missed the past two games with a sore right knee and a touch of the flu. He's considered questionable for Tuesday. Noel is obviously not his usual self, though, so maybe it's just as well for Philly if he sits this one out and gets healthy.

As a team, the Sixers didn't miss a beat when Noel was taken out of the lineup. Robert Covington (13.9 PER, +1.8 BPM) was elevated to the starting five, and not only did Covington provide his usual solid defense, he dumped 28 points (with eight steals) on the Houston Rockets and another 12 (with seven steals) on the Memphis Grizzlies to help Philly cash in as double-digit road dogs. However, blue-chip center Jahlil Okafor (14.8 PER, –4.7 BPM) has struggled the past two games without Noel at his side.

 

Coming Home
The Lakers have a couple of angles going for them in this matchup. Bryant recently announced that this would be his last season before retiring, which means he'll be playing his last game in Philadelphia – Bryant's old hometown. Lou Williams (14.1 PER, –2.8 BPM), who spent his first seven NBA seasons in Philly, is expected to play for Los Angeles after missing the past two games following the death of his grandfather.

That's all we've got. The Lakers are so bad, they couldn't cover a 17-point spread against the Golden State Warriors, losing by twice as many points in a 111-77 final. Basketball-Reference has Los Angeles 2.04 points ahead of Philadelphia on its Simple Rating System, which would make the Sixers around 1-point home faves in a parallel universe where market forces do not apply. We'll try to exploit that inefficiency and turn it into cold, hard cash.

Free NBA Pick: Take the 76ers -1.5 (-108) at Pinnacle

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