The 4-3 Los Angeles Clippers and 4-4 Philadelphia 76ers have both been very inconsistent this season. Both squads will both look to start building consistency as they meet for a contest in Philadelphia today (7 p.m. ET Thursday).
The inconsistency was expected from the Clippers, a deep team with no real star power. For the Sixers, though, their start has been a bit disappointing. They have a bunch of young, promising players who have not performed up to their potential so far.
Will the Clippers upset the Sixers with one of their patented offensive explosions? Or will Philadelphia find its groove? We’ll break down the contest’s storylines and betting lines and give our Los Angeles Clippers at Philadelphia 76ers predictions.
Can Philadelphia Have a Second Starter Help Out Joel Embiid on Offense?
Philadelphia surprisingly ranks just 22nd in the NBA in offensive efficiency this year after ranking 12th a year ago. If anything, you would expect improvement from the 76ers since many of their big-minute players are on the upswing of their careers.
However, none of the starters outside of the superstar Embiid have really come through. Robert Covington has shot decently well, but Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and Markelle Fultz have been very unimpressive from an efficiency standpoint. None of them have gotten any sort of an outside shot going so far this season.
J.J. Redick has been a nice shot of offense from the bench, but Philly still needs more help in the starting lineup. One or more of Covington, Simmons, Saric or Fultz needs to step up with an efficient 20 to 25 points in this contest to help Embiid carry the load.
Will the Clippers Keep the 76ers Off the Free-Throw Line?
The Clippers are a smaller team in the frontcourt and often resort to fouling players when they enter the paint and look like they might get a good shot opportunity. Opponents are averaging 29.3 free-throw attempts against them, which is the third-highest mark in the league.
Unfortunately for Los Angeles, Sixers center Joel Embiid is an expert at drawing fouls. His combination of prodigious size, skill and quickness have him averaging 8.4 free-throw attempts per game. For his career, he has averaged 9.4 free-throw attempts per 36 minutes.
Other players for the Sixers, like Ben Simmons and Dario Saric, can also get to the line frequently. Do the Clippers have the sufficient rim protection to deter the Sixers’ paint attackers without fouling?
Will Los Angeles’ Lack of Backcourt Size Be a Factor?
The Clippers’ biggest strength on their roster is probably their backcourt defense. Patrick Beverley and Avery Bradley are both hounding on-ball defenders who enjoy pressuring ball-handlers as they bring the ball up the floor.
The only problem? Beverley is 6’1” and Bradley is 6’2”. They will likely be guarding Markelle Fultz (6’4”) and Ben Simmons (6’10”), who do much of the ball-handling for the Sixers’ starting group. Ball pressure is great, but it matters less when the offensive player is much bigger and can use their strength and size to get easier shots and look over their defenders to find nice passes.
Los Angeles may need to switch up its rotation a bit so the Sixers’ guards, especially Simmons, don’t always have such small players guarding them.
Our Preview’s Los Angeles Clippers vs. Philadelphia 76ers Betting Picks & Predictions
Philadelphia is better than its record indicates. The Sixers’ four losses have, coincidentally, come against the East’s top four teams in the standings right now (Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons). Los Angeles isn’t at that level, and Philadelphia should be able to get back to where it should be with this home contest.
I also see the Sixers’ size advantage as a pretty decisive one in this matchup. So our preview’s Los Angeles Clippers at Philadelphia 76ers predictions, in a bid to beat the USA offshore betting firms, look like this:
- Philadelphia is not as big of a favorite in this game as the team should be. The best move is betting on the 76ers -5pts @ -110 with Bookmaker or Intertops.
- I think the Sixers’ size advantage will lead them to pound the ball inside more than just sprint up and down the floor. The pace of this game could be slower than expected. Bet the under 230pts @ -110 with Intertops.