76ers vs. Cavaliers Betting Preview: Joel Embiid, Philly Should Feast

Joe Dellera previews Wednesday's NBA game between the 76ers and Cavaliers, including betting odds and a prediction.

76ers vs. Cavaliers Odds

76ers Odds +4
Cavaliers Odds -4
Over/Under 211.5
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Philadelphia 76ers are four-point road underdogs in a showdown with the Cavaliers on Wednesday night. Can Joel Embiid lead the upset or will the Cavaliers defend home court?

Let’s break it down.

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Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers recently returned Embiid and he torched the Hawks for 30 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in a well-rounded effort. Unfortunately, they are still without Tyrese Maxey and James Harden for tonight’s contest, but the team has performed well without both of their top guards.

Over the last two weeks, Philly has struggled a bit offensively but is 5-2 during that span due to its defense. Philly has allowed just 106.5 points per 100 possessions. This is a bit skewed due to the teams it has played during this stretch, with the Brooklyn Nets (8th) being the only team in the top 15 in Adjusted Offensive Rating.

However, this two-week mark is consistent with the Sixers’ full-season performance — Philadelphia has allowed the third-fewest points per 100 possessions at 109.3, per Cleaning the Glass.

Embiid is critical for this team’s long-term success. He holds a +7.6 point differential and he is a force on both sides of the floor. He has also found success against Evan Mobley. In three career games vs the Cavaliers with Mobley, Embiid has averaged 32.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 6.7 assists which includes one triple-double.

His assists spike without Maxey and Harden and he’s exceeded 4.5 assists in 8/9 without both Maxey and Harden over the last two seasons. Couple this with 5, 5, and 10 assists games against Mobley and his over 4.5 assists (+125 DraftKings) is a must bet.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers have already ruled out a number of players for this game including big man Jarrett Allen and Kevin Love. They’ve also listed Lamar Stevens (illness) as questionable.

The Cavaliers started the season on a torrid pace but are just 5-5 over their last 10 games. However, they’ve defended their home court well and are 8-1 at home. Notably, the Cavaliers are second in Adjusted Net Rating with a top 6 Adjusted Offense and a top 3 Adjusted Defense.

They’ve been exceptional this season; however, the absence of Allen cannot be overstated. The Cavs are 1-3 without Allen and are 10-20 without him over the last two seasons. He is instrumental to both their offense and their defense.

Although he’s a negative in terms of offensive point differential, he has incredible chemistry with Mobley and it allows the Cavaliers to effectively play a two-big lineup.

Overall, his point differential is +9.2, the third-best mark for the Cavaliers (Love is notably second-best with +12.2), and his absence is felt.

76ers-Cavaliers Pick

In this specific matchup, not having Allen will prove costly to the Cavaliers. Additionally, neither Maxey or Harden are exactly defensive stalwarts on the perimeter to defend Garland and Mitchell and their minutes have been replaced with Shake Milton, Furkan Korkmaz, and De’Anthony Melton who are not the “best” defenders but can provide some resistance.

The issue here comes down to the lack of Jarrett Allen and the dominance of Embiid. Without Allen, Mobley has struggled to fill the shoes of his partner and while he has seen his counting stats increase, the team overall has suffered. It’s massive shoes to fill considering Allen has been one of the better bigs in the league over the past few seasons, but it should certainly be considered in this spot.

I’ll grab the points with the Sixers and wouldn’t be surprised if they won outright.

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