76ers vs Cavaliers Picks and Predictions: Harden Continues Offensive Behavior

James Harden's been clicking of late, and as he tries to enter the playoffs in peak form, the Cavaliers provide another high-profile spot for him to sharpen his teeth. Our NBA picks are betting accordingly.

Last Updated: Mar 15, 2023 2:21 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
James Harden NBA
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Things are heating up in Philadelphia, with the 76ers muscling their way into the race for the No.1 seed and Joel Embiid adding to his MVP odds case — but a trip to face the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight offers another good test.

The 76ers have won five in a row to crank up the pressure at the top of the East and they cruised to a 112-93 victory over the Washington Wizards on Sunday behind 34 points from Embiid. 

The vibes are good in Cleveland too, with the Cavaliers winning five of their last six games and seeing off the Charlotte Hornets 120-104 last night without Donovan Mitchell and Jarrett Allen.

Read more about tonight’s matchup in our free 76ers vs. Cavaliers NBA picks and predictions for Wednesday, March 15.

76ers vs Cavaliers best odds

76ers vs Cavaliers picks and predictions

Nothing that James Harden does during the regular season is likely to reduce the scrutiny on his postseason resume, but there’s been a lot to love about his March performances — not least, his 38-point masterpiece to take down the Milwaukee Bucks 10 days ago. That’s the version of Harden that Philadelphia needs to make a deep playoff run.

With the postseason approaching, Harden seems to have settled into the perfect balance of feeding Joel Embiid and looking for his own shot — and the results speak for themselves. He’s coming off an 18-point, 14-assist night against the Wizards, and he piled up 20 assists in the win over the Indiana Pacers last week. We probably won’t see peak Houston Harden again, but All Star-level Harden can still dominate a game and stuff the stat sheet.

I like the 31.5 line for Harden’s points + assists tonight, with his ability to attack the Cavaliers backcourt and the possibility that the hosts will be short on rim protection. As always, Embiid is going to attract double teams, and the 76ers can count on Harden to cash in on 4 vs. 3 situations.

When he’s not working the two-man game with Embiid, his playmaking should be key in getting Tyrese Maxey going after two quiet games. Harden has had some hot shooting nights from 3-point range in March too, canning five triples twice (against the Bucks and the Dallas Mavericks).

Yes, the Cavaliers’ sturdy defense presents unique challenges, but Harden has gone over this line in four of his last five games, and he’ll be calling the shots again tonight. 

My best bet: James Harden Over 31.5 points + assists (-110)

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76ers vs Cavaliers spread analysis

With uncertainty over the health of Mitchell and Allen, Philadelphia is a road favorite tonight — and Doc Rivers’ men have taken care of business impressively away from Wells Fargo Center this month, winning four of their last five games on the road. Anyone penciling in the Bucks and Celtics for the Eastern Conference Finals isn’t paying attention to the 76ers’ surging form. 

Philadelphia’s ATS numbers have been more mixed, though. The visitors have failed to cover the spread in their last four games after an ATS win, but they’re 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games against teams with a winning percentage over .600.

Meanwhile, the Cavaliers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games after a SU win of more than 10 points, and they’re 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight home outings against teams with a road winning percentage of greater than .600. Evan Mobley’s scoring spike — including a 26-point effort last night — has given the Cleveland offense extra juice.

These teams have split their two meetings this season, with the 76ers edging the most recent showdown 118-112 in mid-February as Embiid (29 points) and Mitchell (33 points) starred.

76ers vs Cavaliers Over/Under analysis

It feels odd to point to the Over here in a matchup between two of the three stingiest defenses in the NBA, but the offensive firepower can’t be ignored, especially with the 76ers now up to 115 points per game this season. 

The Over is 8-2 in the 76ers’ last 10 games after a SU win by more than 10 points, and it’s 6-2 in their last eight outings playing on two days’ rest. Embiid is in red-hot form, averaging 36 points over his last six games, and the Cavaliers are still sweating on Allen’s eye injury. Without him, it’s asking a lot of Mobley to take on the Embiid assignment. 

Cleveland has been trending in the same direction as Philadelphia, with the Over hitting in the Cavaliers’ last four home games against teams with a winning road record. Mitchell is expected to play tonight after resting in Charlotte last night, and he and Darius Garland should be able to hunt favorable matchups against Harden and Maxey.

76ers vs Cavaliers betting trend to know

Racking up wins seems to spark high-scoring games for Cleveland. The Over is 6-1 in the Cavaliers’ last seven games after a SU win. Find more NBA betting trends for 76ers vs. Cavaliers.

76ers vs Cavaliers game info

Location: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, OH
Date: Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Tip-off: 7:30 p.m. ET

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