The 76ers and Bulls face off on Sunday afternoon in what could be an early Eastern Conference Finals preview between two teams many thought would be fighting to make the playoffs. The Bulls have been in first in the East for the last month and have impressed all year with their quick style of play and athleticism on defense.
The Sixers have had a roller coaster of a season after dealing with Covid issues early in the year and then going on a big run over the last month where they have beaten many of the best teams in the league and have looked dominant. Head over to our basketball strategies page if you need to get caught up on the ins and outs of NBA betting odds.
The Sixers are the 1.5 point favorites in this matchup against the Bulls in what should be a very entertaining game in Chicago. Joel Embiid has emerged as one of the favorites to win the MVP and he is averaging a career-high 29 points per game along with 9 rebounds. The Bulls and Sixers play completely different tempos and this game may come down to which team can control the pace.
With this game being in Chicago I like the Bulls to try to run the floor and push the pace and I could see this game being one of the highest-scoring games of the day. As much attention as Joel Embiid gets for his phenomenal play this year, Seth Curry and Tobias Harris are two of the better three-point shooters in the league and have given the Sixers a new element this season that makes them a threat to beat anyone in the league. I wouldn’t be shocked to see all four of the players above hit on the overs on their total point targets.
Depending on who gets the tip I think the best bet to get the first points of the game will be Embiid or DeRozen since both are their teams, top scorers. The Sixers will likely try to feed Embiid in the paint and wear down the Bulls and the Bulls will feed DeRozen and get him plenty of looks from outside.
The Nets continue on their west coast trip to take on the Nuggets in Denver. The Nets have lost 7 in a row and rumors are starting to pick up that James Harden could get moved to the Sixers. Harden is questionable once again for the Nets so Kyrie Irving may have to carry the scoring load for the Nets. As bad as the Nets have been they are still only four games back of the Bulls. Kevin Durant is slated to get back in the lineup after the All-Star break and I think most believe with a healthy Durant the Nets are still the favorites to get out of the East.
The Nets are heavy favorites in the matchup with the Jazz and I like their chances to snap their losing streak with a win over Denver. The Nuggets came into the year as one of the favorites in the East but they have played inconsistent basketball all year and look like they will be fighting with 5-6 teams for the bottom four spots in the Eastern Conference.
I think the Nets will struggle once again on the road without Harden and Durant and the Nuggets will get out to the early lead at home and I like their chances to be leading the game heading into halftime. The Nets may end up winning the game but look for the Nuggets to try to dictate the pace early in the game before the Nets try to fight back and get off of their 7 game slide.
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