The Brooklyn Nets (19-28) host the Philadelphia 76ers (30-17) this Saturday (2/3/24) at 6:00 p.m. ET. Despite reigning MVP and league scoring leader Joel Embiid already being ruled out, the 76ers are the betting favorites at -3.5 against the spread. The over/under in this game is set at 231.5 total points.
This article provides in-depth analysis of this Nets vs. 76ers matchup, including odds, starting lineups, key matchups, and a prediction that Tyrese Maxey will have fewer than 37.5 points + assists.
Nets vs. 76ers Prediction
The absence of Joel Embiid looms large over this game and how to attack it from a betting standpoint.
The 76ers have been surprisingly plucky without their MVP, going toe-to-toe with the Nuggets on the road (while also missing Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris), then beating the Jazz on the road as 4.5-point underdogs (behind Maxey’s 51).
Then again, they also lost by 26 points to the lowly Trailblazers this week, so their performance is a bit more unpredictable than usual right now. That makes it hard to trust them laying -3.5 against anyone, even at home against a bad Nets team.
The Nets have been absolutely brutal against the spread for almost two months. Since December 14 (24 games), the Nets are 5-18-1 ATS. Most of that damage came during a 2-14-1 stretch, but they are still just 3-4 over their last seven games.
The 76ers have also struggled ATS recently as they have dealt with a litany of injuries to both stars and other starters. They are just 2-5 ATS over their last seven games. However, they have been one of the best teams ATS for most of the season. They have the fourth-best record ATS at 29-18 (61.7%) and the second-best record at home (16-7, 69.6%). Of course, most of that has been with Embiid.
The 76ers should be able to win this game and cover, even without Embiid, but we can’t say that with enough confidence to bet on it. Instead, we’re looking at a player prop as our best bet in this game, which feels a bit more predictable given the uncertainty surrounding this game. Our favorite player prop in this game is the under on 37.5 points + assists for Tyrese Maxey.
Maxey was on fire Thursday against Utah, going 7-of-9 from three and 17-of-27 from the field on his way to a career-high 51 points. He can have nights like that, but he is not yet at the point of doing it consistently. In general, he has put up good but not great numbers when he has played without Embiid.
In 10 games this season without his superstar running mate, Maxey is averaging 28.0 points and 5.4 assists per game. His points + assists average of 33.4 is only slightly above his full-season average of 32.7, and he has only gone over 37.5 points + assists in three of his 10 games without Embiid. Overall this season, Maxey has only gone over that number 10 times in 43 games.
This line is simply too high for Maxey tonight. Is it possible he could have another big scoring night and hit the over? Certainly, but we’re trusting the trends and betting against it.
Nets vs. 76ers Prediction: Tyrese Maxey under 37.5 points+assists (-110 at BetMGM)
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Nets vs. 76ers Best Odds
The 76ers are the betting favorites in this game at -3.5 against the spread at DraftKings, where their moneyline odds are -162. The Nets’ moneyline odds are +136, while the over/under is set at 231.5 total points. As of this writing, those are the best betting odds at any of the major U.S. Sportsbooks.
Nets Starting Lineup
76ers Starting Lineup
Nets vs. 76ers Injuries
The most important player on the injury report in this game is 76ers center Joel Embiid, who is out with a meniscus injury. Several rotational players including De’Anthony Melton, Nico Batum, Robert Covington, and Marcus Morris Sr. have also missed multiple games recently and remain out.
The Nets could be missing starting forward Dorian Finney-Smith, who has missed the last two games with a sprained ankle. Starting guard Ben Simmons returned from a long absence for one game earlier this week, but then missed the next game. He remains questionable but is expected to play.
Nets vs. 76ers Key Matchups
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Nets vs. 76ers below.
Perhaps even more than Embiid’s scoring and the overall gravity he creates offensively, the biggest thing the 76ers lack when he misses games is his rebounding. They are one of the worst rebounding teams with him and have hardly any effective rebounding without him. Meanwhile, the Nets are one of the best rebounding teams in the league, especially on the offensive side.
Philadelphia is 21st in rebounding rate (49.6%) and 25th in defensive rebounding rate. They are 22nd in total rebounds per game (43.0) and 23rd in defensive rebounds (32.0). Brooklyn is 8th in the league in offensive rebounding rate (30.0%), 5th in offensive rebounds (13.0), and 6th in total rebounds (45.2).
The Nets got even better on the boards with the return of former Sixers 1st overall pick Ben Simmons, who is an elite rebounder from the guard position. He has been the Nets’ best overall rebounder on both ends of the floor in his limited action this season.
The Nets have a huge advantage here, and it could create enough extra possessions for them to neutralize any advantages the Sixers might still have without Embiid. This rebounding mismatch is one of the main reasons we stayed away from making an official game pick in our Nets vs. 76ers prediction.
The 76ers have not been a particularly prolific three-point shooting team under Nick Nurse this season. They are just 27th in made threes per 100 possessions (11.5) and they attempt threes on just 35.4% of field goal attempts, which is the 27th lowest rate (35.4%) in the league per Dunks and Threes. But hitting threes becomes even more important for them when Embiid is out.
The Nets, on the other hand, are highly reliant on three-pointers for their offense. They make the 5th-most threes per 100 possessions (13.9) and attempt them at the 8th-highest rate (41.5%), per Dunks and Threes. They score 36.3% of their points from three (6th most), while the 76ers score just 28.9% from three (2nd fewest).
Both teams shoot an identical percentage from three (36.5), and are right on the league average. The Nets just simply shoot it more. The 76ers generally do a good job of keeping opponents off the three-point line. Their opponents shoot threes on just 37.3% of their field goal attempts, the 7th lowest rate in the league.
Philadelphia also holds opponents to just 34.2% from three, 2nd best in the league. On the other hand, Brooklyn’s opponents are shooting 38.1% from three, 6th most in the league. The 76ers could have an edge on both sides of the court when it comes to three-point shooting, and they need to exploit that if they want to cover the spread, not to mention just winning the game.