The Philadelphia 76ers start the second half of the 2021 season tonight. They are the top team in the Eastern Conference with a 24-12 record and hold a half-game lead over the Brooklyn Nets.
How have the Sixers treated bettors through the first part of the season?
Sixers betting statistics:
- 19-16-1 ATS
- 20-16 Over/Under
- 114.7 avg. points for/111.2 avg. points against.
- As favorites, the Sixers cover the spread 55.4% of the time
- As underdogs, the Sixers cover the spread 50% of the time
- Overall, the Sixers cover the spread 54.2% of the time, fourth-best in the Eastern Conference
Bettors backing Sixers to make championship run
At FanDuel Sportsbook, the 76ers are the most bet team to win the NBA Championship (20% of the bets) and the Eastern Conference (44% of the bets).
Three 76ers players lead the way in their respective markets at FanDuel.
- MVP: Joel Embiid (+190), 20% of the bets.
- Defensive Player of the Year: Ben Simmons (+260), 37% of the bets.
- 6th Man of the Year: Shake Milton (+3000), 26% of the bets.
The 76ers are FanDuel’s biggest liability in the NBA Championship market and the Eastern Conference.
FanDuel’s Director of Publicity Kevin Hennessy commented to PlayPennsylvania:
“FanDuel customers love backing the 76ers. It sure helps that they are performing well and the favorite team in two of our biggest markets in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.”
At DraftKings, the Sixers (+550) have the second-highest handle (22%) behind the Brooklyn Nets (+140) to win the Eastern Conference.
In the the NBA Championship futures market, the Los Angeles Lakers lead the way with 36% of the handle, followed by the Nets (26%) and the Sixers (9%).
NBA 2021 odds: Favorites, shifts and 76ers
At Pennsylvania online sportsbooks, the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets opened the season as favorites to win the NBA Championship.
A January trade that sent James Harden from the Houston Rockets to the Nets moved the Nets to the second-best odds to claim the NBA title. Over the NBA All-Star break, six-time All-Star forward Blake Griffin signed a deal with the Nets.
At the halfway point of the season, those four teams still have the lowest odds at sports betting apps. The Utah Jazz have seen the largest odds shift in the NBA Championship outright market. The Jazz opened at +4200 and are now +950.
76ers 2021 odds tracker
|Preseason||March 2||Start of NBA Playoffs||Start of round 2||Prior to Game 7|
Tracking 76ers futures markets:
- DraftKings set the Sixers’ season win percentage at 58.5%. It is currently 65.7%.
- Embiid scoring average was listed at 24.5. It is currently 29.8.
Embiid’s MVP climb
Joel Embiid might want to troll bookmakers who put him at +4000 to win the NBA MVP before the season started.
Perhaps he doesn’t have to unleash his ire via social media since he is letting his play on the court do the talking. In 29 games, Embiid has averaged 29.8 points, 3.3 assists, 11.3 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 1.3 blocks.
On Feb. 20 against the Chicago Bulls, Embiid had a career-high 50 points along with 17 rebounds.
Here is how Embiid’s MVP odds dropped (odds via William Hill):
- Preseason: +4000
- Jan. 6: +2500
- Jan. 12: +1200
- Jan. 23: +500
- March 1: +400 but it was as low as +350
The Sixers’ big man has also attracted the largest MVP wager thus far at William Hill. A Nevada bettor placed $5,000 on Embiid +500 for a total potential payout of $30,000.
As of All-Star Weekend, Embiid has passed LeBron James and now sits as the favorite at +200 at DraftKings. James is the leader for MVP handle (32%) at DraftKings, followed by Embiid (20%).
Most profitable NBA teams and players for bettors
DraftKings Sportsbook provided some betting insights from the first half of the 2021 NBA season.
The Sixers were the third-most bet NBA team by handle. Their Jan. 7 game against the Nets was the most wagered game of the season so far.
Most profitable players:
- Russell Westbrook
- James Harden
- CJ McCollum
- Zion Williamson
- Nikola Vucevic
Most profitable teams:
- Brooklyn Nets
- Chicago Bulls
- Phoenix Suns
- New York Knicks
- Charlotte Hornets
NBA 2021 calendar for rest of the season
- March 10 – May 16: Second Half of regular season
- March 25: NBA Trade Deadline
- May 13-15: Class of 2020 Hall of Fame Enshrinement
- May 18-21: Play-in Tournament
- And May 22 – July 22: 2021 NBA Playoffs
Sixers bet boosts
Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told Play NJ:
“He (Embiid) is playing really well. I think we can agree that we all thought Embiid would have a good season (he was one of the top-bet players before the season began), but this year he really is playing like an MVP.”
“Right now, he’s doing very well,” Avello said, “but I wouldn’t count out Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets, +450) and Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks, +1200) for the MVP. There’s still a lot of basketball to be played.”
Lead image credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke