The Philadelphia 76ers are on the warpath. Long considered a tier below other East contenders like the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, they’ve made a push over the last month or so to vault themselves right into consideration as one of the best teams in the NBA. They’ll try to put a stamp on that new status against the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors on Friday, March 24.
The Warriors won’t give it up easy though. Despite missing critical pieces, Steph Curry continues to play at an MVP level, and Golden State has been a tough out at Chase Center all season long.
Our NBA picks and predictions for 76ers vs. Warriors believe that uncertainty about the status of James Harden and Joel Embiid makes the Philadelphia moneyline a high-value bet tonight.
76ers vs Warriors best odds
76ers vs Warriors picks and predictions
What happens when an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object? We’re about to find out as the Philadelphia 76ers put their seven-game road winning streak up against the Golden State Warriors, who have won eight straight at home. But with Joel Embiid, James Harden, and Jalen McDaniels all officially listed as questionable, there’s significant uncertainty about who will actually be available for Friday’s contest, which is why you can get real value to take the 76ers' moneyline.
So before diving into the matchups, what is there to be gleaned from injury reports and market movement? There was some concern when Embiid didn’t return to the bench after halftime of their thrashing of the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night. But Doc Rivers was quick to quell any concern, saying that Joel not returning was precautionary due to calf tightness, and that he’s expected to play on Friday.
While the situation was somewhat eyebrow-raising, I’m fairly confident Embiid suits up. The 76ers are just a half-game behind the Boston Celtics for the No. 2 seed in the East. Given the way the Celtics have handled them in the playoffs in recent years, Philadelphia is desperate to have home court advantage for any potential Celtics series. If the 76ers weren’t still in the thick of the playoff battle against Boston, perhaps they would take the hit to get Embiid some rest, but as it is, I expect him to play.
With that out of the way, what does an Embiid-led 76ers team look like going against the Warriors at this stage of the season? While very few teams have a matchup that you feel comfortable with hanging with Embiid for 48 minutes, the Warriors are at a bigger disadvantage than most.
Kevon Looney has had a quietly brilliant season (in a workmanlike kind of way), but sticking with Embiid is a task a tier (or two) above his paygrade. Draymond Green will face off with Embiid in spurts, but Joel’s leveled up since Green's success against Embiid earlier in his career, and his ability as a passer and the new depth of the 76ers’ shooting leave the Warriors unable to aggressively help to force Embiid into mistakes.
Embiid is also now working harder than ever to find his teammates in transition as well, and opposing teams are adopting the same strategy they do with Giannis Antetokounmpo, forming a wall to deny him the rim. But Embiid’s playmaking, while not quite to the level of the “Greek Freak,” has progressed to the point where this is a dilemma for the defense. Embiid spent large stretches of the first half against Chicago making the simple pass to the wing in transition and watching as Tobias Harris or another Sixer got a wide-open shot.
The Warriors also commit the cardinal sin for a team playing against Harden and Embiid: they’re foul prone. Golden State commits the third most fouls per game at 21.6, and the 76ers are the best in the business at punishing any lack of discipline on that front. Even at home, when they play drastically better, the Warriors are still in the Top 10 in fouls committed.
Another issue facing the Warriors is that they’re going to have a hard time hiding Jordan Poole. Poole is in the midst of a disappointing offensive season, but it’s his complete inability on the other end of the court that’s most concerning for his long-term future. It goes forgotten that he was basically played off the court at the end of the NBA Finals. Tyrese Maxey should prove a tough cover.
Despite all that, the return on a potential Philadelphia moneyline has risen from +120 to +170 at time of writing, perhaps due to growing uncertainty about Embiid’s status. But that uncertainty is the reason we can bet Philadelphia as a significant plus-money bet, and I think the added value is too good to pass up.
My best bet: 76ers moneyline (+170 at Betway)
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76ers vs Warriors spread analysis
This line opened at Warriors -2.5, but has since jumped all the way to -5.5 at most books. By the numbers, that’s not justifiable if Embiid is available. Even if he’s not, the 76ers now have the depth to make the Warriors sweat.
The 76ers have (conservatively) been one of the three best teams in the NBA since the All-Star break. Over their last seven games, they have been beating the spread by a staggering 9.5 points per game. Unsurprisingly, their +16.9 net rating is also the best over that same span by a mile, per Cleaning the Glass.
Philadelphia has also won seven straight road games while going 5-0 against the spread over their last five away from Wells Fargo Center. Other than that strange double-overtime loss to the Bulls, they’re throttling opposing teams.
The Warriors finally ended their road losing streak, but they didn’t exactly do it in inspiring fashion. All it took for them to win two in a row was a game against the tanking Houston Rockets and a historically weird refereeing situation against the Dallas Mavericks.
Yes, the Warriors are 4-1 ATS over their last five against winning teams, but that paints an incomplete picture. They’re just 1-4 ATS in their last five against teams with a winning percentage above .600, as well as 1-4 ATS in their last five overall. The 76ers are 4-1 ATS in their last five on the road against teams with a home winning percentage greater than .600.
The Warriors' “get right” games came against teams with way more flaws than Philadelphia, and I’m not buying that Golden State, even at home, is on the same level as the 76ers.
76ers vs Warriors Over/Under analysis
It’s hard to say what has been more impressive recently between the 76ers' offense and their defense. Their offense has been playing at best-in-the-league level for a couple of weeks now, and they’re ranked third overall in offensive rating on the season.
But the defensive leap has been even bigger. They’ve allowed just 107.7 points per 100 possessions over the last seven games, the second-best mark in the Association in that span, and a gigantic step forward for them compared to how they started the season.
It’s no surprise then that despite their offensive proficiency, the 76ers have strung together a series of Unders. Unders are 4-0 in their last four games on a single day's rest, as well as 5-0 in their last five against teams with a winning record.
The Warriors, meanwhile, have allowed 120.1 points per 100 possessions in the last two weeks, one of the worst marks in the NBA. That’s contributed to the Over going 6-2-1 in the Warriors' last nine games.
However, a lot of that came on the road, and they’re considerably stingier at home. The Under is 5-1-1 in the Warriors' last seven home games. At 233.5, I’d lean Under tonight.
76ers vs Warriors betting trend to know
The 76ers are 5-0 ATS in their last five road games. Find more NBA betting trends for 76ers vs. Warriors.
76ers vs Warriors game info
|Location:||Chase Center, San Francisco, CA|
|Date:||Friday, March 24, 2023|
|Tip-off:||10:00 p.m. ET|