The Atlanta Hawks are a team that is struggling right now. They just don’t have an answer for the big man of the Philadelphia 76ers. Joel Embiid has been on sort of a rampage in the first three games of this Eastern Conference playoff series, and we’re not sure we’ve seen any signs that it’s about to end.
With a 2-1 lead in games, the Sixers will step into State Farm Arena for Game 4, which is slated to begin at 7:35 PM ET on Monday.
At BetOnline, you have a lot of opportunities to enjoy the NBA playoff games on another level, as there are literally hundreds of props to choose from. Also, don’t forget that you’ll have the opportunity to place wagers in real time with the help of the “Live Betting” option.
Embiid, who is arguably the best big man in the game (fans of Nikola Jokic might take issue), has shredded an Atlanta defense that does not have the manpower to deal with him. The Hawks have Clint Capela, who pulls down rebounds and blocks shots, but this is a different world he’s found himself in.
Whether it’s Capela or John Collins or anyone else who has tried to get involved, no one has been able to corral Embiid, who has averaged 35.5 points in the first three games. maybe De’Andre Hunter – a defensive stalwart – could have helped on the double teams, but he’s out with a knee injury.
It seems the best defensive tactic on the part of the Hawks has been to send him to the line, and he’s made 38 out of 47 attempts from the charity stripe.
Want to know something interesting? The 76ers were ranked second in the NBA this season with a ratio of 22.5 free throw attempts for every 100 field goal attempts. Well, during this series that ratio is 38.7. And Embiid is the main part of that.
In the NBA playoff betting odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetOnline, the Sixers are laying points on the road:
Philadelphia 76ers -3
Atlanta Hawks +3
Over 225.5 points -110
Under 225.5 points -110
Embiid has taken almost half of the Sixers’ free throw attempts in this series. And inasmuch as he is hitting just below 81%, that hasn’t been a profitable transaction for the Hawks.
With Ben Simmons, it’s a different story. The 6-10 point guard was a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year (losing out to Utah’s Rudy Gobert), and has had seven steals thus far, with 24 assists. And on those occasions when he’s taken shots, he is 16 for 21. But he has really bricked it from the free throw line, going just 7 of 20. Including the previous series against the Washington Wizards, he’s shooting just 35.4% from the line in the postseason.
As a result, the Hawks are picking on him, doing him the indignity of fouling him on purpose. Considering that he is a career 61% free throw shooter, he should be doing better. If that happens, it puts Atlanta in a very dangerous position.
Let’s keep in mind that the Sixers have been a 55% shooting team in the series, with a robust Offensive Rating of 125.3. If not for a 42-point first quarter by Atlanta in Game 1, the Sixers would have been up 3-0 in the series.
Our picks in this game revolve around props. We like the Sixers to top their designated team total of 114.5, which has a very reasonable -110 price attached, considering their offensive efficiency and the points they’ve produced in this series to date.
And we would lay -125 that Embiid can top 30.5 points. Let them show they can stop him first. Or that he’ll tank from the line.
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