Game: Denver Nuggets @ Philadelphia 76ers
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Nuggets +2.5, Sixers -2.5
The two leading candidates for the NBA’s MVP award square off tonight in Philadelphia when the 76ers host the Denver Nuggets. Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic is ninth in the league in scoring averaging 26.1 points per game. He also averages 13.8 rebounds per game and his 2021-22 season is even more impressive than last season as he is doing it all without the likes of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. who have both been out most of the season.
Tonight, Jokic goes up against the NBA’s leading scorer, Joel Embiid. The Sixers center averages 29.8 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. Philadelphia played on Sunday and had to battle to beat Orlando 116-114. Embiid had yet another double-double with 35 points and 16 rebounds, but he did struggle shooting 9-of-28 from the floor.
The Philly offense has been outstanding since the trade that landed James Harden in a Sixers uniform. Harden had 26 points yesterday and averages 22.9 points, 10.4 assists, and 7.1 rebounds per game. Philadelphia’s offense has taken off since Harden’s addition. Since the All-Star break, the Sixers have scored at least 120 points in all but one game with Harden in the lineup. Philly lost 99-82 to Miami in a game that Harden sat out.
Denver had yesterday off but enters tonight’s game having lost two straight. The Nuggets are also 0-4 ATS in their last four games. Denver and Philadelphia have played once this season. Back on Nov. 18, Philadelphia won 103-89 and covered the 7.5-point spread in Denver.
The Nuggets desperately want to avoid the play-in tournament. They are currently sixth in the Western Conference standings and hold a 1.5-game lead over Minnesota. Despite losing the last two, Denver is 7-3 in its last ten games. With 40 wins in 68 games, the Nuggets have not been as good against the number with a 31-37 ATS record. They are above .500 ATS on the road though at 18-17.
After covering in four straight games around the All-Star break, the Sixers are 1-4 ATS in their last five games. Interestingly, the Sixers have a poorer ATS record (13-20) at home than on the road. Philly had won five straight but is 2-2 in its last four games.
The Nuggets have trended Over all season long. Their season O/U record is 37-31, but in their last ten games that mark is 5-5. Philadelphia, on the other hand, has trended Under this season. The Sixers O/U record is 29-36-1. That makes sense as Philadelphia has one of the better defenses in the NBA. The Sixers rank seventh in points allowed per game (106.5). Recently though, that trend has changed. That has a lot to do with what Harden brings to the Sixers’ offense.
In their last ten games, Philadelphia has seen the total go Over seven times. In their last nine games – and that includes games of 82 and 100 points – the Sixers are averaging 115.6 points per game.