On Wednesday, a brawl between Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns led to a two-game suspension for both players. For Philly, this opens up playing time in the frontcourt and there is a massive usage void to fill on the offense. Embiid’s absence also helps out the Portland side of the game. He’s one of the league’s better interior defenders and the Sixers’ defense is considerably weaker without its star center. The 76ers are allowing 9.2 more points per 100 possessions when Embiid isn’t on the court.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
FIVE BETTING TRENDS— The Trail Blazers have won eight of their last nine home games against the 76ers.
— The Trail Blazers have covered the spread in each of their last four games.
— Nineteen of the Trail Blazers’ last 25 home games have gone OVER the total points line.
— Tobias Harris has scored 22+ points in each of the 76ers’ last five road games against Western Conference opponents.
— C.J. McCollum has scored 23+ points in each of the Trail Blazers’ last four home games against the 76ers.
Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
76ersWithout Embiid, most of the value is on the Philly side of this game. We saw Embiid miss a game already this season with an ankle injury and it resulted in a handful of strong games from the Sixers. In that game, Tobias Harris ($14,700 CP) led the team in usage, making him my favorite pick for the captain’s spot. In the game without Embiid, Harris scored a season-high 29 points to go along with 43.8 DKFP. Going back to last season, Harris has played an increased role for Philly whenever Embiid isn’t on the court.
For cheap, Matisse Thybulle ($4,400) makes for a good value. He got the start in the last game missed by Embiid, so I have him pegged to enter the starting lineup again tonight. Thybulle’s offensive game is extremely raw, but there aren’t many rookies I can remember entering the league and picking up defensive stats quite like Thybulle. Through four games, he has 12 steals and six blocks. This includes eight steals in his past two games. Thybulle is constantly in passing lanes and creating havoc with his length.
As more expensive plays, both Ben Simmons ($11,600) and Al Horford ($9,600) figure to play bigger roles without Embiid. Simmons has more playmaking responsibilities and Horford has seen a 4.1% usage increase when Embiid isn’t on the court. For the price, I have a slight lean toward Horford as the better play. Per 36 minutes, he’s scoring 42.51 DKFP per 36 minutes without Embiid on the court and he amassed 44.8 DKFP in the game without Embiid. Horford also played a season-high 34 minutes that night.
Trail BlazersWe have some injury news to monitor from the Portland side of the game. Hassan Whiteside ($9,200) is questionable to play after missing yesterday’s practice. He’s dealing with knee soreness and it looks like there is a decent chance he won’t be ready to play tonight. If he’s out, we could see either Skal Labissiere ($1,800) or Mario Hezonja ($4,200) move into the starting lineup. Without Whiteside, both would make for good values.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Hassan Whiteside has been ruled out for tonight’s game.
Zach Collins has once again been ruled out with a dislocated shoulder, meaning Anthony Tolliver ($2,800) should maintain his starting gig. Considering the role he’s played with Collins out, Tolliver is much too cheap. In his two starts, Tolliver has scored 20.75 DKFP and 24.5 DKFP. He helps Portland space the floor on offense and could potentially see some extra minutes if Whiteside is out or limited.
On the expensive end, it’s hard to ignore the recent production of Damian Lillard ($12,000). There is more than enough value to get a couple of expensive plays into our lineups and Dame is as safe a play as we can find. He’s scored at least 42 DKFP in every game this season and gone over 50 DKFP in four of five games. His 29.2 points per game are near the top of the league.
THE OUTCOMEFor a one-game slate, there is an awful lot of value to consider here. The Embiid suspension looms large and is a massive downgrade to the 76ers. Philly has enough depth to stay competitive without him, although winning in Portland is no easy task. The Blazers (-1.5) are slight favorites and it’s hard to argue. I think they edge out a close game that could likely go the other way if the Sixers had their star center available.
Final Score: Portland 112, Philadelphia 110
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