After a horrible performance in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, is it time for the Philadelphia Sixers to say goodbye to Ben Simmons?
The 76ers entered the NBA Playoffs in prime position to complete “The Process” as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Instead, Sixers backers are now wondering if “The Process” is dead.
Joel Embiid was hampered by a torn meniscus suffered in the first round against the Washington Wizards. However, he still managed to average 28.1 points and 10.5 rebounds during the playoffs. The reason the Sixers were ousted in seven games by the Atlanta Hawks was the poor play of Ben Simmons.
The Sixers entered the 2021 NBA Playoffs at +1200 to win the NBA Championship and +550 to take the Eastern Conference. Simmons’ NBA Finals MVP odds were +3000 at Pennsylvania online sportsbooks.
Less than 24 hours after losing to the Atlanta Hawks, a sports betting app had odds for where Simmons would be traded.
What happened to Ben Simmons?
What would make Simmons, a No. 1 draft pick in 2016 and once viewed as a franchise cornerstone, go from a key part of “The Process” to the subject of social media vitriol and cause even the most ardent Simmons backers to fire up NBA trade machine?
- Simmons shot just 25-of-73 from the free throw line this postseason, the worst percentage in NBA history for a player with at least 70 attempts.
- Simmons, who makes $30.5 million, did not take a shot in the fourth quarters of Games 4, 5 ,6 and 7
- In Game 7 against the Hawks, with three and a half minutes left, Simmons passed instead of taking an open dunk. It bewildered the announcers and the other Sixers on the court. Embiid pointed to the moment as a “turning point.”
- Simmons scored 5 points in the deciding Game 7.
Odds for Ben Simmons next team
- Spurs: +450
- Jazz/Thunder: +550
- Warriors: +600
- Lakers: +625
- Cavs: +750
- Rockets: +1000
However, currently the Simmons trade prop is only available for PointsBet users in Illinois. PointsBet Sportsbook has yet to launch in Pennsylvania. The sportsbook is live in New Jersey but it does not offer the Simmons trade market.
Pennsylvania limits wagering to live sporting events. It’s why no PA sportsbook had a market for Carson Wentz’s next team or will have one for Simmons next destination.
But the Simmons trade prop bet might be available in New Jersey.
Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told PlayNJ:
“The guys haven’t elected to put it up yet, but I guess we could offer it. Ben Simmons certainly looks expendable to the Sixers and he didn’t get it done in the playoffs. If Embiid had Ben Simmons’ help, they probably win that series.
“So, when you look around and you do a little research, you can see how the Blazers make sense, the Wizards make sense and the Lakers certainly do.”
Hawks vs. Sixers series betting recap
The shift in attitude about Simmons and the Sixers is stunning. The Sixers were favored in every game during the NBA playoffs. Also, according to data provided by DraftKings, the Sixers series odds opened at -212, reached a high point of -714 and ended at-265 before Game 7.
But in the end, Philadelphia fell short. Simmons struggled so significantly that after Atlanta won Game 7, a reporter had a pointed question for Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers.
Can Ben Simmons be the starting point guard for a team with championship dreams?
“I don’t know the answer to that right now,” Rivers said.
To further complicate matters, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported that Simmons:
“Doesn’t work and doesn’t listen…everyone around him is family, and he’s constantly babied.”
Philadelphia’s season ends filled with disappointment and plagued by a bunch of troubling questions.
The Atlanta Hawks, who switched coaches mid-season and had a losing record at the all-streak break, advanced to their first Eastern Conference semifinals since 2015.
Milwaukee is a heavy favorite to end Atlanta’s run
The Hawks will face the Milwaukee Bucks, who advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals after a Game 7 overtime win in Brooklyn, at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday night on TNT.
DraftKings Sportsbook has the Bucks as 8-point favorites in Game 1 with a moneyline price of -345. Atlanta is +275. The game’s over/under is set at 225.5.
DraftKings also has a number of other bets available for the game including bets on quarters/halves, player props and game props as well. There is also a 50% profit boost available for wagering if you opt-in and enter a Game 1 pool at DraftKings. (Max bet $50 – Max additional winnings $100).
In series odds, Milwaukee is -480 and Atlanta is +350.
In the Western Conference, Phoenix just took a 2-0 lead on the Clippers thanks to a thrilling alley-oop buzzer beater, the Suns are -910 to win the series. Los Angeles is +575.
In NBA futures betting, Milwaukee and Phoenix are the co-favorites to win the championship, with both teams priced at +110. The Hawks are +1200 and the Clippers are +1500.
The Sixers are no longer in the mix. Because a season that once held so much promise has been overwhelmed by frustration.
Ben Simmons is taking a lot of the blame.
And many are wondering what will happen next.
Atlanta Hawks futures fly heading into Eastern Conference Finals
At FanDuel sportsbook, the Phoenix Suns are the sportsbook’s biggest liability in the NBA Finals Outright Winner market. A Milwaukee Bucks championship would be the best result for FanDuel.
The Atlanta Hawks are hated by Philadelphia 76ers fans, but loved by some bettors.
When the Hawks trailed the Sixers 2-1 in the series, they were priced at +10,000 to win the NBA Championship. Now they are +1300. One customer at the FanDuel Sportsbook at Bally’s in Atlantic City put $8,000 on the Hawks to win the NBA Title (+10,000).
Since the Hawks beat the Sixers on Sunday, FanDuel reported that the “volume of bets on the Hawk’s to win the title is significantly greater than that of the Bucks, likely due to the Hawks holding the biggest price in the outright market (+1300).”
Since Sunday, the Atlanta Hawks have received 85% of the single bets placed to win the Eastern Conference Championship in the outright winner market. However, parlays are a different story. Since Sunday, 51% of the parlays, which include the Bucks vs. Atlanta Series Winner as one of the legs, have been on Milwaukee.
Image c/o Dreamstime.