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What Joel Embiid’s injury means for the 76ers’ championship odds

How will the MVP finalist’s injury impact Philadelphia’s title chase?

2021 NBA Playoffs - Philadelphia 76ers v Washington Wizards
Head Coach Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers hi-fives Joel Embiid during the game against the Washington Wizards during Round 1, Game 4 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on May 31, 2021 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC.
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers were dealt a significant blow in their quest for a championship.

Star center and NBA MVP finalist Joel Embiid suffered a lateral meniscus tear in Game 4 vs. the Washington Wizards and is considered day-to-day, according to the team. He is out for Game 5 and given the timeline on meniscus tears and Embiid’s health history, expect the team to be cautious.

According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the 76ers are currently +900 to win the championship. Those are the fifth-best odds in the playoff field but well behind the Sixers’ biggest Eastern conference challengers, the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks. However, Philadelphia remains a good value bet at this number for two reasons.

The 76ers have listed Embiid as day-to-day, meaning his injury is not significant enough to rule him out for the remainder of the season. Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris have been playing well and Philadelphia has enough role players capable of stepping up to handle Embiid’s absence for a few games.

The second reason is Philadelphia will only have to play one of Brooklyn and Milwaukee to make the Finals. With a healthy Embiid, the Sixers will like their chances against either squad despite going 2-1 against the Nets and 0-3 against the Bucks in the regular season. Philly’s odds to win the East are +400.

The 76ers should be able to take care of the Wizards before facing off against the winner of the Hawks-Knicks matchup. Atlanta is ahead in the series 3-1 and should be favored to face Philadelphia, but the Hawks might not have the firepower to stay with the 76ers. If Embiid returns, Atlanta has no answer for him. Even without the big man, the 76ers should be able to take care of business. If Embiid isn’t ready, this additional series bodes well for Philly.

By no means are the 76ers the favorites to win the East or the NBA Finals. However, they offer strong value currently at +400 and +900 respectively due to Embiid’s injury. If you buy the team’s designation and believe Embiid will return soon, this could be a strong bet. However, there’s enough risk and injury history with the Sixers star to wait for more updates before placing a wager.

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