76ers Futures Odds: Embiid Dominating and Being Overlooked

The Philadelphia 76ers went all in with no safety net. Joel Embiid is one of the league’s top five players in his prime, leading the league in scoring and putting up nearly 34 points per game, so the Sixers would have been foolish not to put all their chips in.

The chemistry between him and James Harden has never looked better, as they’ve won eight of their last nine, with Harden en route to leading the league in assists per game once he’s played enough games to qualify. 

2022 Record: 20-13 (5th in East)

Daryl Morey has assembled the deepest roster that Embiid has ever had, and while the jury might still be out on Doc Rivers’s ability to do the job, the Sixers have the talent to make a deep run in the playoffs. The obvious “but” is we’ve said this continuously for the past couple of years.

The Kawhi Shot, the Hawks series, the Heat series – an endless cycle of misery for the Sixers’ faithful. With a loaded East this year, the path forward might be the toughest this team has faced, but it’s now or never. 

Atlantic Division Winner Odds (FanDuel)

  • Boston Celtics -550
  • Brooklyn Nets +550
  • Philadelphia 76ers +1300

The Sixers have been riddled with injuries all season, with PJ Tucker the only player suited up in all 33 games this season. Embiid has missed eight, Harden 14, and Tyrese Maxey 18, with his return expected this Friday.

The Boston Celtics are the class of the East, and the Brooklyn Nets have gotten a lot of chatter recently, but only four games separate the three, and the Sixers look to be peaking with reinforcements on the way. At 13-1 odds, roll the dice on Philly’s ability to make up four games with about 50 to go. 

Eastern Conference Winner Odds (FanDuel)

  • Boston Celtics +195
  • Milwaukee Bucks +240
  • Brooklyn Nets +410
  • Philadelphia 76ers +900

The Sixers are in a tough spot, as they’re currently projected to be in the four-five matchup, where they would then have to face off against Boston, or possibly the Milwaukee Bucks, in the second round. Still, the dropoff between the Sixers and the Nets in the odds is way too substantial.

Brooklyn deserves respect for their nine-game winning streak, but the Sixers are also hot. The Sixers beat a fully loaded Nets team without Embiid, Harden, or Maxey. We can’t forget that the Nets will have Ben Simmons on the floor in a playoff series. Maybe.

This number should be more like +650, so there’s value. 

NBA Championship Winner Odds (FanDuel)

  • Philadelphia 76ers +1700 (9th Highest)

The Eastern Conference is so strong that I’d put money on an East team taking home the Larry O’Brien Trophy. That’s reflected in the odds as the top three favorites are from the East (Boston, Milwaukee, Brooklyn), followed by the four through eight favorites consecutively representing the West (Phoenix, LA Clippers, Memphis, Denver, Golden State).

Back to the same previous argument, I don’t view the gap between Brooklyn and Philly as large, so I like this as a buying opportunity if you look for Embiid and Harden to hoist their first trophy. 

Philadelphia’s Upcoming Games

  • Dec. 30 @ New Orleans
  • Dec. 31 @ Oklahoma City
  • Jan. 2 vs. New Orleans

With two games against the New Orleans Pelicans over their next three, the Sixers will have a great chance to measure themselves against one of the top teams in the West. How Rivers chooses to reinsert Maxey should be monitored since the Sixers have played their best basketball without him on the floor, maybe their best basketball since Harden arrived. 

I’d like to see Maxey deployed off the bench for a few games in a Tyler Herro-like role. De’Anthony Melton has been a great complement in the backcourt with Harden as he’s been sharp from beyond the arc and provided great defense, ranking second in the league in steals per game.

Maxey has one of the more underrated offensive ceilings in the league, so with Embiid rolling, averaging 37 points per game in December, Maxey giving the bench a significant offensive boost would be beneficial while not messing with the current chemistry too much.