It’s a clash of the titans! The Western Conference leaders meet head on with their Eastern Conference counterparts tonight when the Philadelphia 76ers (12-6) and Los Angeles Lakers (14-4) tip off!
It’s Joel Embiid against LeBron James. It’s the team with the best home record against the team with by far the best on the road. And it is two potential NBA Championship contenders facing off at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
It is certainly one of the biggest, if not THE biggest game of the NBA season so far and it promises to be a fantastic opportunity for punters to enjoy a wager on the outcome!
The question is, who to back and why? So, let’s take a closer look at both the teams competing tonight to find out!
Philadelphia 76ers News & Form
The 76ers come into this game kind of in mixed spirits. Last week, they landed back-to-back wins against their closest rivals in the Eastern Conference the Boston Celtics. A double header against the 3-12 Pistons followed, but after winning the opener, the 76ers lost the second of those games.
They have already experienced a three-game losing stretch when losing to the Nets, Nuggets and Hawks earlier on in January and they will be keen to not end up with back-to-back defeats again here.
On the positive side, they have the best home record in the NBA at the moment having won nine of their ten games played at the Wells Fargo Center.
They should also be able to call upon their star player Joel Embiid once again. The NBA MVP candidate this season missed their last defeat to Detroit with back tightness. It is unlikely he will be on the side-lines for this one if there is any chance he can play.
If Embiid is still unable to play, or can play but is not fully fit, then the 76ers will be hoping that their form and performance doesn’t tail off. This has been the case too often when their star man is absent from the team in the last few years.
Los Angeles Lakers News & Form
The Lakers have listed LeBron James as questionable and Anthony Davis as probable for this game, but it seems extremely likely that both will be fit to play as the team with the perfect road record of 10 wins from 10 games hits the court in Philadelphia.
Jared Dudley and Kostas Antetokounmpo are both still out, but Lakers fans will be reassured that LeBron and Davis are back in tandem.
The former produced a reminder of just how good he can be when scoring 46 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists in the Lakers latest road win in Cleveland against the Cavaliers. Ominously for Philadelphia fans, that is the highest number of points James has scored so far this season.
Some coaches and experts in the NBA are convinced that although a year older, this Los Angeles Lakers team is better than the one that won the Championship last season. A 14-4 record, including being unbeaten on the road in ten games, is testament to that.
This should be an absolutely cracking match up to enjoy. So, what do the sportsbook think in terms who are the favourites to land the win?
What Do The Sportsbooks Think?
A quick look at the odds provided by BetRivers Sportsbook reveals that the 76ers are the +2.0 underdogs to win the game, with the Lakers rated at -129 to win on the moneyline (by way of contast the 76ers are +107).
It is going to be interesting to see which one of these teams can make a big statement with a win here. The question is which one would I back?
What Is Our Tip For The 76ers V Lakers?
Tonight’s game promises to be an absolute cracker and it may well be decided by the slimmest of margins. For me, the 76ers must hope that Embiid is not just fit, but 100% healthy. If he is absent or not at full fitness, that is a massive plus for the Lakers.
In truth, Embiid’s absence in the last game, the Lakes road record and the form of LeBron in the last game do tend to suggest a Lakers win and it is easy to see why the bookmakers have gone that way.
However, I’ve backed the 76ers previously for a big season and I am going to stick with them here.
*Featured Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons – CC.BY.S.A 2.0