76ers Now Favored By Three or More Possessions
The betting lines first opened at Philadelphia 76ers -3.5 with a total of 216.5 points. But when it was finalized that star guard Donovan Mitchell would sit out for Cleveland, these lines stretched to -8 and 219, respectively. This is on top of more NBA players on the Cavaliers’ injury report, like Isaac Okoro and, potentially, Caris LeVert. So will this Cavaliers vs 76ers game preview be all about touting Philly?
Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Records: Cavaliers (7-6)/76ers (10-3)
Can Cleveland Keep Up?
The most significant fade against Cleveland will be its lack of firepower. Cleveland already averages the 19th-best offense (112.8 offensive rating) through the season. Without Mitchell, the team loses a near-30 points-per-game scorer. The Cavaliers might be 12 points worse on offense without him. How can they keep up with the NBA’s top offense?
Philadelphia also averages nearly 10 points more at home (121.8) than Cleveland does on the road (112.6). The 76ers also average more rebounds (47.8) and a better field goal percentage (48.6%). Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey combined to put up 58.7 points on just 33 shot attempts.
With Mitchell’s absence, the Cavaliers may need to push LeVert out there even if he is hobbled by a bum knee. LeVert is averaging 18 points off the bench and would be a shoo-in for the Sixth Man of the Year Award if Cleveland did better on the NBA lines.
“If we had won more games early, I think he would be up there for talk of Sixth Man of the Year. I think he should be,” Mitchell said late Wednesday night to cleveland.com. “We have to do our part to win games. But he’s a guy doing it on both ends of the floor. We knew who he was as a spark off the bench, but for him to be able to take that defensive challenge every night and want to take that challenge, he’s been phenomenal for us.”
Others like Evan Mobley, Max Strus, and Darius Garland will have to increase their scoring output to match Philadelphia’s. Otherwise, this Cavaliers vs 76ers game preview will be all Philly.
76ers Have Been Nigh-Unbeatable at Home
With a 6-2 record on both the moneyline and against the spread (ATS), the 76ers are solid NBA picks today. One of these losses came against Boston, now the East’s best team. Philadelphia was a one-point underdog and could not quite keep up with Boston. The other loss came against Indiana when Tyrese Haliburton put up an all-time great line: 33 points and 15 assists with zero turnovers.
Cleveland is not Boston, and unless Darius Garland channeled his inner Haliburton, it’s safe to consider the 76ers as the rightful favorite here. But to cover 7.5 points, Philadelphia will have to run away against Cleveland and beat it throughout.
The Cavaliers have no answers against Embiid and Maxey. This NBA team has also not fared well playing in the East, with a 1-8 ATS record in its last nine conference games. And in Philadelphia, Cleveland has won just once in its last seven visits.
Nick Nurse has revitalized the 76ers’ offense, so even if the team’s defense is “only middle-of-the-road, the team is still second overall in net rating: +9.1. That’s a similar average point differential in Philly’s home games.
So, given the 8.0 spread, it’s not a bad idea to lay the points on Philadelphia. Cleveland will have to play some of its best defense to contain the 76ers. We’re not holding our breath. Embiid posted an average of 28 points and 12.7 boards while shooting 48% from the field in three games against Cleveland last season.
This Cavaliers vs 76ers game preview offers no hot takes. This should be business as usual for Philadelphia.