The Philadelphia 76ers will host the Denver Nuggets at Wells Fargo Center in a matchup of NBA heavyweights on Saturday afternoon.
The Nuggets (34-15) sit atop the West, while the Sixers (31-16) are second in the East, and only a game behind the Boston Celtics in the loss column.
Does either side have a particular advantage here? Find out in our free NBA picks and predictions for Nuggets vs Sixers on Saturday, January 28.
Nuggets vs 76ers best odds
Nuggets vs 76ers picks and predictions
Joel Embiid is listed as questionable for this one with a foot injury, but he shouldn’t lack any motivation to play following an All-Star starting snub against Nikola Jokic, who has beat him out for the NBA MVP Award two straight seasons. However, his desire to play might be overridden by head coach Doc Rivers and the rest of the Sixers’ brain trust.
If Embiid is limited or out for this game, that will only enhance Jokic’s chances of piling up points.
Jokic is nursing a hamstring injury — which caused him to miss three of his team’s last four games — but is listed as probable for Saturday afternoon. The Serbian superstar has thrived under the careful management of Michael Malone and his staff, as he’s averaged 30.7 points over his last three games. That includes the 25 points he put up in a 99-98 win over the New Orleans Pelicans when last seen on Tuesday.
Jokic could be asked to do some additional heavy lifting if second-leading scorer Jamal Murray (19.1 ppg) is held out. Murray is considered questionable with a hip injury, and like Jokic, sat out Wednesday’s loss against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Murray and Embiid both do not have player props listed at any major sportsbook as of Saturday morning, putting their availability in doubt.
Jokic has enjoyed having extra rest between games this year, averaging 26.3 ppg following a break of three or more days. That’s slightly better than his season average of 25.1 ppg, which doesn’t fall off much when Denver hits the road (24.6 ppg).
My best bet: Nikola Jokic Over 24.5 points (-109)
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Nuggets vs 76ers spread analysis
The Sixers opened as high as -5 at some sites overnight, but most major sportsbooks have them as 3.5-point favorites as of Saturday morning. That could be the line naturally settling, or it could be motivated by concern surrounding Embiid’s status.
If Embiid does suit up, it would be hard not to like Philly’s chances. The Nuggets’ offense as a whole plummets from 116.5 ppg overall to 112.9 on the road, and their defense goes from 112.9 points allowed per game to 116.4. It’s no wonder 11 of their 15 losses this year have occurred outside the Centennial State.
The Sixers are in strong form at the moment, having won six in a row. Embiid has had some rest days in January but has been a beast on the floor, averaging 34 points and 9.8 rebounds in eight games (7-1 SU record). James Harden has been stuffing the stat sheet too, producing 20.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg, and 11.1 apg. Tyrese Maxey has added 20.3 ppg in that span despite starting only seven of 12 games.
Nuggets vs 76ers Over/Under analysis
Injury concerns on both sides making taking the Over difficult, especially against such a high number.
The Under has cashed in five of the Nuggets’ last six games, partially due to “load management.” They’ve gone below the total by no fewer than 22 points in three consecutive contests. Though Jokic is close to a certainty to participate, and Murray could also suit up, Denver’s poor play on the road this year makes them tough to trust entirely.
Embiid’s potential absence would make it tricky for the Sixers to approach their season average of 114.6 ppg. Though Philly can mess with the bad teams and turn it into a playground-type performance, it tends to bear down when winning squads are on the docket. The Sixers have gone below the total in each of their last six contests against teams above the .500 mark.
The Under has also cashed in six of the last seven head-to-head meetings between these two teams.
Nuggets vs 76ers betting trend to know
The Sixers are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games against teams with a winning percentage above .600. Find more NBA betting trends for Nuggets vs. 76ers.
Nuggets vs 76ers game info
|Location:||Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA|
|Date:||Saturday, January 28, 2023|
|Tip-off:||3:00 p.m. ET|