Golden State Warriors vs Philadelphia 76ers (12/16 @ 7:30 PM EST)
Spread: 76ers -7.5
Money Line: Warriors +250 / 76ers -300
Overview and Betting Info
The skidding Golden State Warriors (14-15) will head to Philadelphia Friday night to take on the red-hot 76ers (15-12). The Sixers lead the overall series 169-154, but the teams have split their season series over the last four years. The Warriors are currently tenth in the West, while the Sixers are fifth in the East.
The Warriors are 13-15 against the spread this year but have covered just three of their fourteen road games. They have gone over the total 15 times but have been under in four of their last six games.
The Sixers are 14-11-1 versus the spread and covered nine of their fourteen home games. They’ve gone over the total 14 times, including in each of their previous four games.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors come into Saturday with a slew of injuries and desperate to break a four-game road losing streak. They are fifth in the NBA in three-point percentage (37.8%) and first in assists (29.3). Despite their recent struggles on the road, they are second in the NBA in scoring in those games (114.8). The Warriors will likely be without their top two scorers: Steph Curry (30 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 6.8 APG) and Andrew Wiggins (19.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG). While they aren’t short on shooters, it won’t be easy to replicate the production from these two.
With Steph and Wiggins out, Klay Thompson (18.7 PPG) will lead the team. It has taken him some time to get back to his scoring ways, but he’s having a fantastic December by averaging 24 points. Klay will join Jordan Poole (17.9 PPG, 4.6 APG), who has also been great in December with 24 points per game. He has at least 20 points in six of his last seven games. They’ll need him to continue this consistency if they want to keep up with Embiid and the Sixers.
Defensive specialist Draymond Green (questionable) will support Klay and Poole (8.1 PPG, 6 PG, 6.7 APG). Green will be critical in handling Embiid and the Sixers, though he has been non-existent on the offensive end, with three points combined over his last two games. Jonathan Kuminga will be one of the big men charged with adding scoring, and he has responded by averaging 11.3 points in December. The most important player to watch with be Donte Divincenzo, who has 31 points, 15 rebounds, and three steals over his last two games. He’s making 40% or more in his previous three games and will again play an essential role on Friday.
The Sixers have won their last three games by double digits, averaging an impressive 129 points during that stretch. They are fourth in the NBA in three-point percentage (38.6%) and steals (8.6) but are 29th in rebounds (40.1). What’s most impressive about this streak is that they’ve done it without Tyrese Maxey (22.9 PPG). The point guard is the second-leading scorer on the team but is still unable to practice. That means the Sixers will need to find a way to keep winning with the lineup they currently have.
Joel Embiid is in MVP form once again and leads the team by averaging 33.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.6 blocks per game. He leads the NBA in scoring and has been on fire in December by making 53.8% of his three-point attempts and averaging 39.2 points per game. He joins a resurgent James Harden (22 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 10.8 APG), who has stepped up in Maxey’s absence with 12 or more assists in his last three games. The MVPs join Tobias Harris (17 PPG, 6.4 RPG) to form a deadly scoring trio. For the Sixers to keep winning, it will be imperative for these three to stay healthy.
The Sixers have gotten incredible production from De’Anthony Melton (11.9 PPG, 2.2 Steals) and Shake Milton (11.6 PPG). Melton has been fantastic and is second in the NBA in steals, but he is questionable to play on Friday. Milton has been able to provide scoring when needed but is making just 30% of his shots from three in December. If Melton can’t go, expect Milton to have a big scoring night. We’ll also be keeping an eye on George Niang (9.5 PPG), who is back from injury and starting to return to form.
Free Pick: 76ers -7.5
Even before Steph’s injury, this Warriors team was struggling. While the Boston win is impressive, they’ve also lost to the Pacers twice this month. Klay’s shot has been better, but we don’t think he can carry this team with PJ Tucker and possibly De’Anthony Melton covering him for most of the game. That means the pressure will be on Poole, and we don’t see him having enough to overcome the red-hot duo of Harden and Embiid. The Warriors may keep this close for a bit, but the Sixers will add to their win streak Friday night.We’re giving up the points to take the Sixers.