Are the oddsmakers trying to tell us something about the situation for the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night? The Phoenix Suns are off to a fine start for new head coach Monty Williams and they should be extra motivated to deal the Sixers their first loss of the season on November 4.
In this How to Bet Preview, we’ll take a look at the side and total and some potential derivative and prop betting opportunities for Game 537/538 between the 76ers and the Suns.
The Sixers will be without the services of Joel Embiid once again because of his role in last Wednesday’s fracas with Karl-Anthony Towns. Shake Milton is also out with a knee injury.
Ty Jerome is the only player on the injury report for the Suns, but he’ll likely be back in about a week or so. DeAndre Ayton remains suspended for popping a positive drug test. He will miss 25 games in total.
Philadelphia is a precariously small road favorite with Embiid out of the lineup. The Sixers are anywhere from -1 to -2, depending on you look, with the -2 at both Pinnacle and Bovada, which is sort of interesting given the clienteles of those two offshore shops. The total is 223 based on the overnight lines and has only seen the juice move around at most places.
What’s At Stake?
82-0 is at stake for the Sixers. They are a perfect 5-0 to open the season. The Suns are off to quite a fine start at 4-2, including a win over the Clippers. They also have two one-point losses to the Jazz and Nuggets, which are hardly disappointing outcomes against those two squads.
The spot isn’t too bad either way. The Sixers are playing Game 2 of a four-game road trip. This is their fourth road game in the last five, but they have not played any back-to-backs. The altitude double coming up in Salt Lake City and then Denver is worse.
The Suns are in a fine spot. They’re coming off of a couple of wins and haven’t had a back-to-back in over a week.
Monty Williams has gotten this team to buy in. Williams, who was an assistant with the Sixers last season, has overseen a defensive transformation from the Suns. They are 5-1 to the under so far en route to being 6-0 against the spread. The Suns are actually seventh in DRtg through six games. They are among the best teams in the league when it comes to forcing turnovers and rank fifth in Effective Field Goal Percentage against.
It has been business as usual for the Sixers, who rank third in the NBA in NetRtg. They are one of the best defensive teams in the league and rank just outside the top 10 in ORtg. Oddly enough, the Suns are better in NetRtg and ORtg, which is rather astonishing given that three of their games have been against the Jazz, Nuggets, and Clippers. Of course, their other three games have been the Grizzlies, Warriors, and Kings.
It is amazing to see how much different the Suns are playing. Over 57% of their made two-pointers have been assisted and almost 94% of their three-pointers. Both marks rank second in the NBA. They are playing defense. They are sharing the ball. They are making shots and getting stops. Monty Williams is getting it done.
If the Sixers get some more threes to fall, their offensive numbers will look better. Philadelphia ranks 25th in 3PT% on the season. Philadelphia is sixth inside the arc, but they haven’t canned enough triples. It has been the opposite for the Suns, who are in the top 10 from distance, but rank average inside the line.
The most amazing thing for the Suns is how quickly the young guys have bought into playing defense, especially without Ayton’s presence on the interior. Williams spreads playing time around to keep guys fresh and the players have responded with a high energy level.
The Sixers won in dramatic fashion when Furkan Korkmaz corked the game winner in Portland. With Utah and Denver on deck, I’d be a little worried about the Sixers here, especially since Embiid will be back on Wednesday. The Suns are really buying in and a win over Williams’s former employer should be a good rallying cry for the team. I’d take Phoenix on the money line with the short price here.
As far as the total, I would look over. The Sixers played at a quicker tempo without Embiid on Saturday and this will be a perimeter-oriented game with both teams missing bigs.
If there is a weakness for the Suns on defense, it has been defending long two-point shots. Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons could be benefactors of that shortcoming, so player prop overs on points with them could work well.