Despite playing a crucial part in the 76ers’ success, James Harden was an All-Star snub last week. He’s since gone on a tear and the Cavaliers’ perimeter defense won’t do enough to slow him — our NBA betting picks have more.
The Philadelphia 76ers and Cleveland Cavaliers have been in the shadow of the Eastern Conference leaders for most of the season, but their showdown tonight is another chance to close the gap on the Celtics and Bucks.
The 76ers, 22-8 at home this season, have won their last three games and cruised to a 123-104 victory against the Rockets on Monday behind a throwback James Harden double-double.
The Cavaliers are even hotter, riding a seven-game winning run and cashing in on a soft schedule. They’re just a game behind the 76ers and Donovan Mitchell’s 41-point night was too much for the San Antonio Spurs last time out.
Read more in our Cavaliers vs. 76ers NBA picks for a deep dive on tonight’s marquee showdown.
Cavaliers vs 76ers best odds
Cavaliers vs 76ers picks and predictions
James Harden had a short message after being omitted from the Eastern Conference All-Star Game roster — “The disrespect”. Yes, Harden is at the point in his career where winning an NBA championship is all that should truly matter, but his recent play suggests the perceived snub stung.
Harden picked apart the Rockets on Monday on the way to 28 points and 10 assists, and he’s taken his scoring up a notch for the Sixers this month. With 26 or more points in three of his last four games, including a clinical 29-point outing against the Nets at the weekend, Harden is looking for his own shot more aggressively (he’s averaged 19 field goal attempts over the past two games).
There’s a clear runway for Harden to keep his hot streak going tonight, especially with Joel Embiid listed as questionable. If Embiid sits out, there’s every chance The Beard fires up more than 20 shots here.
Even if Embiid does play, the Cavaliers are well-equipped to throw big bodies at him in the post. In contrast, Cleveland’s perimeter defense is more vulnerable — and I expect Doc Rivers to lean more on Harden as a primary option in this matchup.
Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley are a formidable duo around the rim but Harden has shown a nice mid-range touch when the paint is packed. I like these odds for another strong Harden performance tonight.
My best bet: James Harden Over 20.5 points (+100)
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Cavaliers vs 76ers spread analysis
Across various sportsbooks, you can find both teams listed as narrow favorites, with some oddsmakers seemingly taking a more pessimistic view of Embiid’s chances of playing. If the Philadelphia big man is cleared to play, this line would surely swing further toward the hosts.
Still, there’s no arguing with Cleveland’s impressive recent form. Wins over the Spurs, Pistons, and Wizards are nothing to write home about, but the Cavaliers have also beaten the Grizzlies and Pelicans on this winning run — and Mitchell has been lights out over the past week.
The 76ers are 33-23-0 ATS this season but Embiid’s potential absence would put a major strain on Philadelphia’s defense. The hosts were hit by injuries in the teams’ prior meeting this season too, with Harden and Tyrese Maxey sitting out in a 113-85 Cleveland win in late November. Prior to that, the 76ers had won the last five meetings.
Cavaliers vs 76ers Over/Under analysis
This a tough line to nail as two of the stingiest defenses in the league square off amid question marks over Embiid’s availability, but the Cavaliers have been outstanding at that end of the floor this month and that feels like the biggest factor in driving this line well south of 220.
Cleveland has allowed fewer than 110 points in each of its last six games — and opponents have been held under 100 in three of those. Allen and Mobley continue to erase any perimeter breakdowns, so watch for how quickly the 76ers start settling for 3-pointers.
If Embiid plays, this Philadelphia offense is a few tiers higher than the Cavaliers’ recent opponents. If he sits out, the hosts will need other contributions alongside Harden and Maxey. That’s where things get dicier, as Tobias Harris hasn’t cracked 15 points in any of his last six games and the recently acquired Jalen McDaniels is still settling into the offense.
Even so, the numbers suggest we may still get enough offense to cash in the Over, which has hit in five of the 76ers’ last six games against teams with a winning percentage of over .600. Maxey and Caris LeVert are among the league’s most explosive bench scorers and a big night from either would tilt the total towards the Over.
Cavaliers vs 76ers betting trend to know
The 76ers have been hammering the Over at home lately. It’s 9-2-1 in their last 12 games at Wells Fargo Center. Find more NBA betting trends for Cavaliers vs. 76ers.
Cavaliers vs 76ers game info
|Location:||Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA|
|Date:||Wednesday, February 15, 2023|
|Tip-off:||7:30 p.m. ET|