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The Philadelphia 76ers (6-1) will meet the Detroit Pistons (2-7) in a Friday edition of the NBA In-Season Tournament Group Stage.
This will be both teams’ debut in the tournament, but they enter in totally different runs of form. The 76ers have not lost since their one-point defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks on opening night, while the Pistons have lost six straight games since starting 2-1.
Here, we’ll go over the betting odds and share our thoughts on the Eastern Conference Group A showdown.
The 76ers are large favorites in the Motor City as they continue to ride their post-James Harden momentum.
|Philadelphia 76ers||-8.5 (-110)||-350||Over 221.5 (-110)|
|Detroit Pistons||+8.5 (-110)||+280||Under 221.5 (-110)|
The Pistons’ six-game losing streak does not reflect their play or ability level.
Teams that Detroit has lost to in the last week and a half include the Bucks, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, and Oklahoma City Thunder, four very strong teams. They’re also 19th in net rating and have improved tremendously on the defensive side of the basketball thanks to coach Monty Williams’ approach and rotations.
One victim of the coaching change is Jaden Ivey. The former fifth-overall pick from two years ago has not started a game and is averaging a career-low 20.7 minutes per game, wonky one minute more than rookie guard Marcus Sasser.
Cade Cunningham (24 points, 7.1 assists) and Jalen Duren (13.9 points, 11.6 rebounds) have improved dramatically since last season. Fifth-overall pick Ausar Thompson is also quickly becoming one of the most unique players in the league and, despite being a 6-foot-6 swingman, is second in offensive rebounds and 13th in blocks per game.
Detroit doesn’t run the most efficient offense but is eighth in three-point shooting percentage and ninth in rebounding rate.
The 76ers and the Denver Nuggets look like the best teams in the league. Joel Embiid followed up his MVP season with an early line of 31.7 PPG, 10.9 RPG, and 5.9 APG on 53/40/84 shooting splits, while Tyrese Maxey has taken another leap and is putting up 25.4 points and 7.0 assists per game on highly-efficient shooting.
Philly is second in net rating and shoots the fourth-best percentage from the field. However, they aren’t limited to offense and are fifth in rebounding rate and sixth in average points allowed (107.6).
The Sixers are scary because they can thrive in transition thanks to Maxey’s speed and rim pressure, or they can slow the tempo down and work with Embiid or Tobias Harris in the halfcourt. Role players such as Kelly Oubre Jr., Nicolas Batum, and others are also shooting the ball well from outside and forcing defenses to stay honest on the perimeter.
The Sixers beat the Toronto Raptors (twice), Suns, and Boston Celtics during their recent win streak and have an average scoring differential of +11.7. Meanwhile, the Pistons are outscored by an average of 3.3 points per game.
Detroit’s speed and defensive aggressiveness on the perimeter will be a major asset for them. They’ll need to prioritize their transition game on both sides to have any chance of winning.
Duren has impressed but is still only 19 years old and will struggle to match the physicality and skill of Embiid on the inside. The Pistons also simply don’t have a takeover scorer that can get 30 every night like the Sixers do with the reigning MVP.
The dynamic of the in-season tournament could influence how this game plays out. Young teams that are far away from the championship should theoretically try their hardest during these games since this is their best chance to win a trophy and receive a financial bonus that, for many young players, represents a hefty percentage of their yearly salary.
We don’t foresee the Pistons winning, but we believe they can keep the game within 8.5 points. Keep an eye on how Thompson and Sasser can assert themselves on defense whenever Philly wants to play fast, and how the Cunningham-Duren two-man game works on offense as an indicator of Detroit’s chances.
Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.
In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.More info on Grant Mitchell
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