Another attractive betting matchup on a busy Monday night the NBA features a non-conference game between the Philadelphia 76ers and New Orleans Pelicans. The Sixers are currently in the secondary pack in the Eastern Conference. The Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors are in the ‘lead pack’ separated by two games. Then it’s 5.5 games back to the Indiana Pacers with the Sixers 7.5 games out and Boston 8.5 games out. There’s a lower table pack made up of Brooklyn, Detroit, Orlando and Miami who are fighting for the final three playoff spots in the East and are separated by a total of 2 games in the standings.
The New Orleans Pelicans, meanwhile, are a team going nowhere. That’s partially due to the fact that they’re just not that good of a team but also due to the bizarre situation with center Anthony Davis. If you follow hoops you know all about it but here’s the synopsis: Davis says he wants a trade though he has a year left on his deal. The Pelicans say that they’re going to take their time to find a deal that is beneficial to the team. No problem there. The trade deadline passes with no activity on the Davis front. Actually, there *would* have been activity had former GM Dell Demps bothered to pick up the phone. The word on the street is that the Lakers wanted to talk about putting together a package for Davis but that Demps wouldn’t return their calls. Since the basic premise of a GM’s job is to return calls from teams that want to make personnel deals he was fired. He wasn’t a very good GM to begin with but this was the last straw. The general consensus was that it was ‘a miracle’ that he stayed employed as long as he did. The Pelicans were initially planning to shut Davis down to protect their trade asset but the NBA put the ‘ixnay’ on that idea.
For now, Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry is being retained. Gentry is 139-168 as the New Orleans head coach which isn’t great but the current situation simply isn’t his fault. He’s at least going to be kept around until the end of the season if for no other reason than to give the team some continuity as it tries to do something with the Davis situation. Gentry is at least a professional and has described the entire scenario as a ‘dumpster fire’.
So why are the Pelicans favored here over a solid Philadelphia team? It’s likely an over reaction to the injury to Sixers’ center Joel Embiid. He’s listed as out ‘indefinitely’ but the expectation is that he’ll be gone a week with a sore knee. There’s a lot of speculation about the injury and the timing of things. It might be the team taking an opportunity to rest Embiid before the late season run and the playoffs. 7’3″ 290 pound Boban Marjanovic is taking Embiid’s place in the lineup and while he’s not as skilled offensively as the man he’s replacing he’s a load for opposing teams to deal with on both ends of the floor.
Sixers coming off a blowout loss to the Portland Trailblazers who have been playing extremely well of late. Pelicans coming off an upset win over LeBron and the Lakers. Davis sat out the Lakers’ win and no indication on whether or not he’ll play here. New Orleans hasn’t dealt well with success this year–off an upset win as an underdog they’re 1-6 SU/2-7 ATS. They also tend to regress after a strong offensive performance. After scoring 115+ points they’re 12-21 SU/10-22-1 ATS this season. Philadelphia, meanwhile, has shown an impressive tendency to bounce back strong after a blowout loss. After a loss by 10+ points the Sixers are 10-1 SU/9-2 ATS this season. Can’t pass up an opportunity to take points with a solid team going against a ‘grease fire’.