UPDATE: Feb. 19, 6:23 p.m. — Simmons will miss now his second-straight game due to illness.
UPDATE: Feb. 19, 5:55 p.m. — Simmons didn’t go through shootaround and is now considered a game-time decision Friday vs. the Bulls.
UPDATE: Feb. 18, 5:36 p.m. — Simmons is being listed as probable to play in Friday’s game vs. the Chicago Bulls. He was held out of the Sixers’ win over the Rockets on Wednesday after popping up late on the injury report with an illness. The Sixers went with a no PG lineup featuring Seth Curry, Danny Green and Matisse Thybulle. It didn’t matter much against a shorthanded Rockets squad.
Philadelphia 76ers All-Star PG Ben Simmons is questionable to play in Wednesday’s game vs. the Houston Rockets due to an illness. Simmons was a late addition to the injury report, so we just got the news at 5:30 p.m. ET. The Sixers are also listing All-Star C Joel Embiid as probable to play with a back injury. Shake Milton will remain sidelined.
Update: So this is odd. Matisse Thybulle has been announced as the starter in place of Simmons vs. the Rockets but the All-Star hasn’t been ruled out yet. I guess this would mean Seth Curry and Danny Green will be the starting backcourt for Philly. With more sources coming out that Thybulle’s is starting for Simmons, I think it’s safe to say he isn’t playing.
Right now we have no reason to believe that this is illness is Covid-19 related. If it is, then this game could be in danger of being postponed. I’m not saying to fade the Sixers and Rockets on the main slate or in betting. Just keep an eye out considering the 7:30 p.m. ET tip-off for the game. If we get any more information on Simmons, we can adjust our lineups and pivot to where we need to pivot.
As for those pivots, well, Embiid ($10,800) becomes an excellent GPP play with or without Simmons in the lineup. The Rockets could be without their best interior defender in PJ Tucker, who is undersized and can’t guard Embiid anyway. That would leave DeMarcus Cousins among players on Houston who can’t guard Embiid who will have to guard Embiid. Tobias Harris ($7,600) and Tyrese Maxey ($3,200) would be two players I’d give a hard look if Simmons is ruled out.
The spread on this game has dropped a point since opening at 10.5 and now it’s down to 9.5. Chances are that half point is from the Simmons news. We could see it come down a bit more depending on whether or not Eric Gordon is in the lineup for the Rockets. This shouldn’t move the needle much, really. The Sixers have had trouble in these no-brainer spots. You’d think even without Simmons, Embiid and the rest of the gang can take care of business against the Rockets, who will be without Victor Oladipo, PJ Tucker and Christian Wood.
There aren’t any Maxey props posted for a good reason. Embiid at O29.5 points has been a popular prop around the community today. Harris and Seth Curry get some more usage if Simmons is sidelined, so give them a look as well. The safe route for Harris may be O31.5 Pts + Rebs + Asts at -110. With Simmons out, John Wall at O23.5 points (-107) stands out. That’s a much easier matchup for Wall and Dipo, Gordon and Tucker may all be out.
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