Bucks vs 76ers Predictions: Sixers Look to Avoid 0-2 Start

Giannis and Embiid Clash in Bucks Season Opener

The Milwaukee Bucks open the 2022-23 season on the road on Thursday when they travel to Philadelphia to take on the 76ers. The Bucks vs 76ers predictions have Philadelphia as the slight odds favorite at home in what will be their second game of the season. The Sixers lost their opener to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night but come into this one with a slight advantage with a game already under their belt. When looking at that game against the Celtics, there is plenty to take away that should help when handicapping this game’s NBA spreads.

Game Information

Game: Milwaukee Bucks (0-0) @ Philadelphia 76ers (0-1)
Location: Wells Fargo Center
Day/Time:
Streaming: Live Stream Sports

James Harden Off to Hot Start

Our Bucks vs 76ers prediction begins with the stellar play of James Harden being one of the main takeaways from the Sixers 126-117 loss to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday. For the first time in what seems like a long time, Harden came into the season looking like is was in mid-season shape. He put up 37 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists in 37 minutes of play. He also went 5-9 from 3-point land and a perfect 12-12 from the free throw line. His performance was reminiscent of his early career and very encouraging for a Sixers team that has high expectations this season. If Harden plays a similar NBA game on Thursday, Bucks guard Jrue Holiday will have the tough task of guarding The Beard. However, Holiday has proven himself as a lockdown defender and should be able to force Harden into a less-efficient outing. The Bucks will also look to double-team Harden when they have chance, which will help take some of the load solely off of Holiday.

The Bucks will also look to double-team Harden when they have chance, which will help take some of the load solely off of Holiday.

Harden’s counterpart, Joel Embiid, didn’t look as solid, or as physical, in their first game of the season despite putting up 26 points and 15 rebounds. Embiid was bullied down low by smaller players and was forced to catch the ball at the high post instead of in the paint, often resulting in poor shot selection or turnovers for the Sixers. That can’t happen for a player with Embiid’s size and it’s something that Milwaukee will surely look to take advantage of.

Bucks Hindered With Injuries to Start Season

With the Bucks favored to win title at one point last season, their championship aspirations were hindered when Khris Middleton went down with a season-ending injury during the NBA playoffs. Unfortunately for Milwaukee fans, the Bucks will also start this season without Middleton who will miss the first few weeks of the season after undergoing offseason wrist surgery. Middleton’s backup, Pat Connaughton, will also miss time to start the season with a calf strain, which oddsmakers have factored into the Bucks vs 76ers prediction for this game. That means  Grayson Allen, Jordan Nwora, George Hill and Jevon Carter will receive more minutes and will need to step up on both ends of the floor.

The good news for the Bucks is that they still have arguably the best player in the league in Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freek will need to get going early to help establish the Bucks offense against a team that will retaliate by shooting a high percentage of threes. What makes Antetokounmpo so difficult for opposing teams, other than his pure talent, is his ability to create mismatches. If Milwaukee can take advantage of the smaller PJ Tucker guarding Antetokounmpo, they should be able to have enough offensive success to keep this game close, even without Middleton and Connaughton.

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