It’s time for another NBA TNT doubleheader and, thus, time again to look at the betting odds. This time, the Philadelphia 76ers host the Brooklyn Nets at 4:30 p.m. (PST), followed by the Phoenix Suns hosting the Los Angeles Lakers at 7:00 p.m. (PST). Injuries abound this week. Let’s see how they affect the odds, starting with the early game.
BKN Spread: -7.5 (-115) Moneyline: -315
PHI Spread: +7.5 (-105) Moneyline: +260
Things to consider…
1) The biggest story here is the absence of Sixers center Joel Embiid (foot). Embiid has been leading the Sixers through multiple other injuries with a blistering 32.3 points per game, but is currently sidelined with a left mid-foot sprain. This leaves the team without him, James Harden (foot), or Tyrese Maxey (ankle). The only healthy starters are Tobias Harris and P.J. Tucker.
2) Kyrie Irving is back from suspension. Having completed his list of atonements, Irving has been reinstated in the Nets’ lineup, providing a huge boost to their arsenal. While he wasn’t jaw-dropping in his official return on Sunday, he can be on any given night.
3) Though undermanned and outgunned, the Sixers are the home team. And sometimes a disparity in talent on the floor can be overcome by a solid game plan. The Nets will not have a fully formed strategy for the Sixers’ next men up, so there is always upset potential.
Main takeaway: The Nets are highly favored because they should be. While it is by no means a given to steal a W in someone else’s house, they should have no problem dispensing the injury-riddled Sixers tonight. This is no time to bet the underdog, unless you have a tremendous amount of faith in Sixers head coach Doc Rivers.
And now, the late game.
LAL Spread: +10 (-110) Moneyline: +350
PHX Spread: -10 (-110) Moneyline: -435
Things to consider…
1) On the Lakers side, LeBron James (adductor) is questionable, Juan Toscano-Anderson (back) is questionable, and Anthony Davis (back) is probable. James has missed the last four contests and there is yet no word on if he will play against the Suns. If he is able to take the court, that changes the complexion of this game significantly.
2) On the Suns side, Chris Paul (heel) is out and Cameron Johnson (knee) is out. Paul has been dealing with right heel soreness and has missed the last six contests. There is currently no set date for his re-evaluation. In his absence, Cameron Payne will likely continue to draw the start at point guard.
3) We have to mention Russell Westbrook. Since being moved to the bench, the Lakers are 5-6, including their current three-game winning streak. Westbrook is averaging 16.8 points and 8.6 assists per game when playing as a reserve, compared to 10.3 points and 4.3 assists as a starter. It seems the Lakers have found how best to use him and are improving as a team because of it.
Main takeaway: If James plays, it’s worth considering a bet on the Lakers. But the Suns are playing at home and have been difficult to beat regardless of injury. The smart money remains on Phoenix. Still, if you favor bets on the underdog, this would be the game to keep an eye on.
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