NBA League Pass Friday Betting: Atlanta Hawks at Philadelphia 76ers

Atlanta at Philadelphia
Time: 6 PM CT, NBA LP
Spread: PHI -12.5
Total: 232

Odds c/o 5dimes

The Philadelphia 76ers have won seven of its last 10 games and sit No. 4 in the Eastern Conference at 27-15. It will host the 12-29 Atlanta Hawks as 12.5-point favorites Friday night at 6 PM CT on NBA League Pass. NBA oddsmakers from bookmaker 5dimes have set the point total at 232 points.


Philadelphia most recently lost 106-123 to the Washington Wizards, but prior to that, it had a four-game win streak which saw it defeat Washington, Dallas, Phoenix, and the Los Angeles Clippers. Much talk has been made of whether Philly’s top-three talents really fit together. There is no denying the overall quality of Jimmy Butler, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, but there is a real debate about whether the trio is necessarily the best fit with one another. If someone gets moved, do not expect it to be Embiid. He has thrived this year and leads the team in scoring, rebounding and Player Efficiency, with 26.9 points, 13.5 rebounds and as 25.7 PER.

Similarly, Butler offers a lot of value as a scorer and defender, even as a third-fiddle type on Philly. Where that leaves a betting man, is that Simmons may eventually be moved.

He has fared well with his 16.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and eight assists per game, but his lack of shooting ability places a stranglehold on the offense that could be easily alleviated by trading for a 1-guard with a more reliable jumper, particularly from mid-range. Whatever the case, the Sixers are only mildly pleased with its 27-15 mark, en route to what should be a 50-win season. Overcoming the top three teams in the East might not be so easy, not with teams daring Simmons to shoot and simply collapsing on the more-talented Embiid.

Embiid is shooting 49 percent from the floor on 18.2 attempts per game and 30 percent from behind the arc, but the notion that he deserves a bigger workload still is hardly misguided. He scores 1.481 points per possession, which dwarfs Butler’s 1.320 and it is significantly better still than Simmons (1.419). Getting Embiid 20 field goals per game while getting a more distributive guard could be just what the Sixers need to reach the next level, and there are few who think that the ultimate answer to that even could be Markelle Fultz.

Fultz has struggled through his first 1.5 seasons, and he is now on the shelf with some strange diagnosis that has been said to affect his odd and malformed jump shot. Gone are Dario Saric and Robert Covington, as the pair was traded to acquire Butler, but the Sixers still have plenty of depth and one of the better backup rotations in the Eastern Conference. So the problem really returns to Simmons, and his shot, or lack thereof.

Can this team be much better than it is with Simmons not really doing much other than going right at the rim? Where Embiid needs his space and his place? Could the Sixers get a proper return for Simmons if teams knew their hand was almost forced due to the obvious chemistry issues? Would John Wall be a fix if the Wizards wanted to unload him (Washington is likely in place to hold a fire sale with its roster)?

There are so many hypotheticals, but the only thing that is certain is that with three All-Star caliber talents as good as Butler, Simmons, and Embiid, that the Sixers should be a good bit better than it is, and waiting on Fultz is a proposition most have long abandoned. Philly is good, but how can it evolve to be great? A trade, most likely.


The Atlanta Hawks have lost five of its past six games, and the team is just 12-29, firmly out of the playoff race as the halfway point of the season has now passed. It is still not a team without hope and encouragement, but the Hawks are spending this season developing its rookie point guard Trae Young while seeing what type of chemistry he and its top player John Collins could potentially have together. Both have shined, but the Hawks lack depth and talent beyond these top-two youngsters, and the season has been tough for it so far.

Young and Collins have combined to average 34.3 points per game between them, with Collins leading the way at 18.8 points per game and 10.6 rebounds per night. Collins missed the beginning of the season, but he has been dynamite in his past 25 games since returning. Young has had his rookie struggles, but he has also had his bright moments to offset them. He’s proving to be a good distributor, perhaps better than expected, tallying 7.3 assists per game. The shooting, thought to be a strength of his, has been the issue: Young is connecting on just 39.4 percent of his looks while knocking down a woeful 28.8 percent from three-point range.

Swingman Taurean Prince should prove to be valuable No. 3 option behind Young and Collins, but the Hawks desperately lack depth and also lack talent at the 5-position where it platoons the offensively challenged Dewayne Dedmon and Alex Len. Jeremy Lin is also seeing too little of a role for a player capable of providing major scoring outbursts. The one-time freak of nature has averaged just 19 minutes per game, and he is still averaging double-figure scoring.

But the Hawks have chosen to develop Young rather than play him off the ball with Lin more at the 1. That surely would produce more wins, but Atlanta is focused on player development in a season that had been determined to be a rebuilding year long before the point we have arrived at. It is something of a lost season for the Hawks, but allowing Young and Collins to build chemistry is far from a lost cause.

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