Wells Fargo Center Philadelphia, PA, Friday, February 9, 2024 at 7:10 PM ET

The Philadelphia 76ers face a formidable test on Friday night as they host the Atlanta Hawks without their MVP, Joel Embiid. With the spread favoring the underdog Sixers by 3 points, the stage is set for a thrilling matchup. Will Philadelphia find its footing despite the injury woes, or will Atlanta capitalize on their struggles and soar to victory? Let’s dive into the key factors impacting this game and uncover the best possible pick, considering both models and analysis.

Model Predictions

  • FiveThirtyEight: Hawks win 49% chance | 76ers win 51% chance (close call)
  • ESPN BPI: Hawks win 42.4% chance | 76ers win 57.6% chance (favors 76ers)
  • NumberFire: Hawks win 44% chance | 76ers win 56% chance (similar to ESPN)

Atlanta Hawks Soar In, Seeking Redemption Against Battered Sixers

The Philadelphia 76ers, reeling from the loss of MVP Joel Embiid and a string of recent defeats, host the Atlanta Hawks in a Friday night clash. With the spread favoring the underdog Sixers by 3 points, the question begs: can Philadelphia find its footing or will Atlanta capitalize on their struggles?

Embiid’s Absence Looms Large

The 76ers’ biggest hurdle is undoubtedly the absence of their star center. Embiid’s scoring prowess and defensive presence are irreplaceable, leaving coach Nick Nurse searching for solutions. While Ricky Council IV and Kenyon Martin Jr. showed promise against Golden State, replicating Embiid’s impact collectively will be a demanding task.

Hawks Hungry for Bounce-Back

Atlanta arrives after experiencing their own setbacks, dropping two consecutive games to the Clippers and Celtics. However, their recent four-game winning streak demonstrates their potential. Trae Young, an All-Star replacement, remains a dynamic offensive force, while Saddiq Bey, Jalen Johnson, and Onyeka Okongwu provide valuable scoring and rebounding. Capela’s absence for the Hawks poses a challenge, but their depth and offensive firepower shouldn’t be underestimated.

Why the Spread Favors the 76ers: Don’t Underestimate Philly’s Grit

Even with Embiid sidelined, the 76ers hold some crucial advantages that make the +3 spread worth considering:

Philly’s Home-Court Roar: Remember the passionate Philly fans? Expect Wells Fargo Center to be electric! This energized home crowd can swing close games in the Sixers’ favor, pushing them to dig deeper and play harder. It’s an intangible factor that shouldn’t be underestimated.

Bounce Back Time: Those recent losses? They’ve ignited a fire in the Sixers’ belly. This is their chance to prove they’re not defined by Embiid’s absence. Expect a motivated squad hungry to silence critics and recapture their winning spirit in front of their home supporters.

Depth Beyond the Surface: Sure, they’re missing key players, but the 76ers still have talent lurking beneath the surface. Tobias Harris remains a scoring threat, while Tyrese Maxey is blossoming into a star. The newly acquired Buddy Hield adds valuable shooting prowess. Don’t count out their ability to step up and fill the offensive void.

Taking the Bet

The spread of +3 for the 76ers presents a tempting proposition. While Embiid’s absence is undeniable, Philadelphia’s home court advantage, motivated players, and underrated depth shouldn’t be disregarded. Atlanta’s recent losses also introduce an element of uncertainty.

Pick: Philadelphia 76ers +3 Loss