76ers’ NBA championship odds improve as win streak grows
Don’t look now, but the Lakers and Clippers could soon have some company atop the NBA championship odds board. The 76ers have seen their odds improve from +650 to +550 after wins in four straight games and eight of their last nine. That span has included impressive victories over a pair of playoff-bound foes in the Heat and Jazz, as well as a 19-point trashing of the woebegone Cavaliers. Philadelphia is now 15-6 and is just three games behind the Bucks in the tightly packed Eastern Conference.
|Team||2020 NBA Championship Odds|
Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers
Sixers are thriving despite roster upheavalMany observers weren’t sure what to make of the Sixers entering this season, after the club cut ties with JJ Redick and Jimmy Butler. The two players comprised 40% of Philadelphia’s starting lineup and combined for 36.3 points per game.
Those losses have been mitigated by the arrivals of Josh Richardson and Al Horford, both of whom have fit in seamlessly on their new squad. The 26-year-old Richardson is averaging 16.1 points in just 32 minutes per game and has found a niche as an elite 3-and-D player, equally capable of stoking threes and stymieing opposing wings. Horford, meanwhile, is posting his best defensive rating in three seasons and has been a steady veteran presence on a team that was sorely in need of one a year ago.
Thybulle has been a major findThe Sixers have also received an unexpected boost from rookie shooting guard Matisse Thybulle, who has become a key part of Brett Brown’s rotation thanks to his defensive grit. The long-limbed guard leads all first-year players in steals and is among the league leaders in that category, despite logging just 15.6 minutes per game. Thybulle was especially disruptive against the Jazz on Monday, when he held Donovan Mitchell to 18 points on 6-of-19 shooting.
Philadelphia's offense is a work in progressIt's a good thing Philly's new additions are thriving, because the team's holdovers have been struggling. Joel Embiid is averaging 5.1 fewer points per game than a season ago, and Ben Simmons is posting career lows in scoring, field goal percentage and effective field goal percentage. His inability to hit the broadside of a barn is a big reason why the Sixers have the 17th-ranked offense in the NBA.
Fear the DeerIf you believe the dusty old maxim that defense wins championships, then you may want to jump on Philadelphia's attractive +550 odds before they get any shorter. If, however, you're looking for a slight surer bet, we recommend the Bucks at +400. Milwaukee won its 13th straight game Wednesday night in a 127-103 evisceration of Detroit and has beaten its last three opponents by an average of 36 points per game. Those kinds of blowouts don't happen by accident. Milwaukee is the only team in the NBA ranked in the top three in offensive and defensive efficiency and has been methodically dominating teams at both ends of the court all season long.
It's fair to wonder how Giannis Antetokounmpo will fare in the playoffs, when he faces triple teams and gimmicky defenses, but for now there's no beating these Bucks. Put a buck or two down on Milwaukee while you still can.