The Philadelphia 76ers are one win away from sweeping the Washington Wizards and will attempt to advance to the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on Monday. The Eastern Conference’s top seed has secured two straight blowout wins. Will the Sixers dominate again?
Below is a look at a number of predictions ahead of DAY night’s game for the Free $5k DraftKings Pools - Playoff Edition (PHI-WAS).
Which team will cover the spread? 76ers -7.5, Wizards +7.5
The Sixers have won their last two games by an average of 27 points and failed to cover by one point in Game 1 as 8-point favorites. Philly’s offense is firing on all cylinders and its defense has held Russell Westbrook in check for most of the series. Westbrook has been bothered by an ankle injury, so I expect the favorite to win by a hefty margin and cover.
Total points scored? Over/Under 230.5
The over has hit in two of the three games of this series, but the offense tends to tighten up in closeout games. Both sides can fill it up when hot, but Philly’s size creates a bevy of mismatches that Washington has yet to figure out. Banking on the Wizards scoring 110 points against one of the NBA’s best defenses again seems like a reach, but so does counting on the Sixers to score over 130 points again. I expect less of a shootout in Game 4, so the point total should be under 230.5.
Which team will reach 30 points first? 76ers or Wizards
Philly has led eight of the 12 quarters that have been played so far. Two of those have been first quarters. The only time Washington topped the Sixers in the first frame was Game 1, when Embiid struggled with fouls early and hardly played in the first half. That’s not likely to happen again, so I like Philly’s odds to get out to 30 first.
Which team will make more 3-pointers? 76ers or Wizards
The Sixers have made twice as many threes as the Wizard in the first round. Philly has made 36 to double up Washington’s total of 18. The underdogs have had to help off of shooters in an attempt to limit inside baskets and depend on Russell Westbrook on offense. The point guard’s permit shooting is far too limited. Washington will almost certainly be outperformed from deep because of his poor touch. Both he and Bradley Beal shoot worse than 35% from range. Take the Sixers.
Which player will have more Points? Joel Embiid or Bradley Beal
Embiid is averaging 29.3 points per game while Beal is averaging 30.3. While their stats are similar, Beal is averaging nearly seven more minutes per game and is far more important to his team on offense because of the WIzards’ limited options. Washington is likely to keep playing its starters when the game is getting out of reach, especially in a potential closeout game. I’d go with Beal, as the Wizards will likely need desperation buckets from their leading scorer to compete.
Ben Simmons assists? Over/Under 8.5
Simmons’ playmaking hasn’t disappointed in the postseason and he’s averaging nearly 11 dimes per game. He’s only fallen short of nine once but hasn’t managed to match his impressive total of 15 assists from Game 1. The Sixers point guard has been able to pick apart Washington’s porous defense with ease and is averaging a double-double against it. I like it odds to finish things off on a high note with 9 or more assists.
Bradley Beal Points and assists? Over/Under 36.5
This total is very difficult to predict. Beal’s scoring at a high level, but his playmaking is inconsistent. He’s fallen short of this total in seven of his last 10 games and is unlikely to pass up many shots with Washington’s playoff hopes on the line. Beal shot 26 times in Game 3 and I expect more in the closeout game. I think he could reach this total without assists if he’s aggressive, so I’d bank on the over.
Which team will win the 4th quarter? 76ers or Wizards
Philly has been excellent at closing games and was won every fourth quarter in the series despite resting its starters for hefty chunks in two of them. The Sixers are heavily favored ahead of Game 4 and could play its starters until winning is assured to close out the series and advance. Recent history suggests that the Sixers should easily with the fourth quarter for the fourth time in a row.
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