76ers vs. Suns NBA Preview

76ers vs. Suns NBA Preview

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

 

The Philadelphia 76ers look to get back on track when they visit the red-hot Phoenix Suns on Saturday afternoon. Here’s a preview of the game, including betting odds and our NBA picks.

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Phoenix Suns

Saturday, February 13, 2021 – 03:00 PM EST at PHX Arena

The 76ers opened as 1-point favorites and over at FiveThirtyEight, they have the Suns at -2. This leaves a 3-point gap between the projections and the actual NBA odds. FiveThirtyEight gives the Suns a 58 percent chance to win. The equivalent moneyline is -138.

USA Today’s Jeff Sagarin has the 76ers at -0.50 using his Rating numbers, and at -1.29 using his eigenvector analysis, so there’s some room to grab potential betting value with the Suns +1.5 at BetMGM.

76ers Fall in Portland

The 76ers suffered a baffling 121-105 home loss to the Trail Blazers without Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum last week, then bounced back with back-to-back wins against the short-handed Nets on Saturday and the Kings on Tuesday before suffering another setback against the Trail Blazers on Thursday night.

Joel Embiid (plus-6.5 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) has been dominant while making his case for MVP. The star center had 35 points and nine rebounds against the Trail Blazers and he’s averaging 32.8 points and 10.3 rebounds in his last eight games. Tobias Harris (plus-2.3 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) is also putting together a fantastic season and he’s averaging 20.8 points and 8.2 rebounds in his last 10 games. Embiid, Harris, Ben Simmons and Seth Curry all shined against the Trail Blazers but the four reserves combined for just 19 points and the 76ers were just 6-for-27 (22.2 percent) from 3-point range.

Suns Rise with Four Straight Wins

Devin Booker missed four games with a leg injury and the Suns are 5-1 since he came back to the court. Booker is averaging 26.0 points, 4.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds on 38.9 percent from beyond the arc in those six contests after coming back and Chris Paul, Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton are giving them steady production. While the offense isn’t fully clicking, their defense has been solid enough to help them keep the wins coming.

The Suns erased a 71-59 halftime deficit to beat the Bucks 125-124 on Wednesday, extending their winning streak to four games with one of their best victories of the season. Devin Booker had 30 points and Chris Paul finished with 28 points and seven assists. Milwaukee shot 13-for-24 (54.17 percent) from 3-point range in the first half but Phoenix limited them to 3-for-13 (23.07 percent) from distance in the second half.

Prediction

The Suns have to replicate that 3-point defense from the second half against the Bucks, they can’t afford to let the 76ers catch fire from downtown, especially Seth Curry (plus-1.3 Offensive Box Plus/Minus), who is shooting 50.0 percent from 3-point range on 82 attempts this season. This game can also come down to what Deandre Ayton (minus-0.2 Defensive Box Plus/Minus) and Frank Kaminsky (plus-1.9 Defensive Box Plus/Minus) can do to at least contain Joel Embiid. Kaminsky is playing very well as of late and he had 14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in 35 minutes against the Bucks. The Suns also need similar offensive production from him, especially with Dario Saric (minus-1.5 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) possibly out while nursing a sprained left ankle. The play I like is the Over, both teams have too much firepower and the 76ers can force the Suns to play at their pace in order to keep up with them.

NBA Pick: Over 226 (-110) at Bet365

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